Technology has brought us many things; the inability to ever get honestly lost anymore, dinner parties where mobiles get their own place setting and an encyclopedia of knowledge at our fingertips (thus forbidding us the option of successfully cheating at Scrabble). With all these amazing additions to out lives comes one major downside- the inability to ever be fully turned off- this wired world means we are always connected, and this can be a little bit draining, as no one likes worried phonecalls if you haven’t updated Facebook for two days. It’s hard for people to lie low whilst living in the world 2.0, so in order to cope with the unwanted infringement of private lives a few technology lies have evolved which are hard to disprove but easy to use. Shake your head at that and deny you’re anything less than honest in your dealing with folks? Right, how about when your Mum calls or you’re required to be a plus one for the birthday of someone you hate? I don’t think the following will come as any surprise to you, but it might make you feel better to realize that other people equally embrace escapism from the world by doing the exact same things. Try not to fret too much at these tips as inevitably they’ll all be redundant in 5 years when tech evolves. Here are the five most common technology lies told- as chosen by me (and possibly used on you all at various times).
‘I never got your email’ a.k.a Your email went into my Junk folder
Occasionally really important emails DO go into the spam filter, but in all likelihood MOST of them don’t, so if I haven’t replied to you it’s because I don’t want to. I’d never say that though, so when I get one of those awful pesky follow up ‘did you get my email’ emails, the little white spam filter lie slips easily out and keeps everyone happy. This can be foiled with the sneaky ‘alert when opened’ software many Outlook users enable, but that just means the emailer will be judging you, rather than calling you on your bullshit.
You also have to think what their motivation is- if they know you have opened their email and not replied, surely they should take the hint? On a personal level this would be rude, but in business where a high volume of emails get sent everyday, this generally means that their email was irrelevant or not priority at the moment. Follow ups just serve to demoralize each side, and can only foster feelings of resentment. If it’s a friend you’re lying too, well, I’m not that interested in their baby photos either- that’s what Facebook is for, so go put that gooey first step/first smile/first poop pics up there so I can ignore them at my leisure and not fill up my inbox with them.
‘Sorry I never called you back- I didn’t get your voicemail’
It seems crazy that people don’t get voicemails anymore, as when you leave someone a message, how can it suddenly vanish from the airspace? What’s more likely- and genuinely true for me- is that I DON’T retrieve my voicemails. This seems reasonable to me- if I’m calling you back 5 minutes later why do I need to hear you say, ‘Hey it’s Laura call me back’ when I’m in the act of calling you back. My reluctance to waste 3 minutes doing that gives me 2 more minutes with you and facilitates conversations. The downside of this is that I end up with a backlog of call me back messages so the odd important one gets lost under the maelstrom of whiny ‘where are you’ folk.
The danger to not picking up voicemails is after about 4 days (depending on your provider) they vanish from the airspace and then you genuinely never get to hear someone plaintively trying to suggest you upgrade your home insurance/ get a better cellphone/ join a casino cult for only $9.99 a month (insert relevant gripe here). Occasionally a voicemail really DOES get lost in the ether, in the same way I get a crossed connection call (every 6 months, thank you T-Mobile) so someone might not be completely lying if they say this, but there’s an 88% (just made this number up) chance they are.
‘I lost your number’ a.k.a I have a new phone and lost all my numbers
The old I lost your number/new phone ploy is one that really irritates me, as we are in 2012 folks! We can operate heavy machinery, work out how combining cashback sites and Tesco points will give us free groceries, so why can’t we back up a simple Sim card? In an era when so many people have contacts in the cloud (yes, I used that phrase, judge away) there is little excuse for being so technologically lost. Tragically many MANY people are either too stupid or too lazy to store and copy their contacts properly, so this excuse crops up a lot in real life, thus making it a perfect get out of jail card for that whiny girl you went to university with, who insists on itemizing every restaurant bill (a personal annoyance).
I’m guilty of this, as I rarely edit my Google contacts so when other people get new numbers I’m left with calling Becky1, Becky2, Becky new and Becky old work in an attempt to reach said Becky (who may have changed her number for same reason). People try and get around the lost number issue by doing things such as creating irresponsibly public Facebook groups (just add a birthday app and an address app and scammers are in heaven) so this excuse tends to have a lot of weight. Be prepared to check they DO have a new phone though, as that will help weed out those people who just aren’t that interested in you.
Anyone who has thrown a party knows the fear you suffer when it turns 8.30pm and no one rings at the door. ‘I specifically said it started at 8pm’ you wail, forgetting the universal truth that no one EVER wants to be the first at a party, and that house parties don’t get good till at least 11pm. It explains why it will turn 9pm and the only person sipping your specially made cocktails is the creepy neighbour you had to invite to be polite who ends up staying till 3am and scaring people with his love of toupees and cat embroidery (true story).
This rule can also be applied to all the people who RSVP on Facebook events and then renege come the actual day. ‘What will I do’, you’ll have cried. ’300 of my 1200 friends say they are coming and I have no room’. When only 30 people actually show you’re left feeling flatter than day old coke, all because you trusted people’s digital RSVP without any actual follow through. Frantic messages to the Facebook group you created stating ‘must RSVP will run out of booze!!!’ don’t get replied too, and you’re baffled/hurt at how many OTHER things crop up even when you put up your FB party months in advance. There are a few harsh things I could say to this (delusion etc) but I’m going to focus on people who didn’t show and use ‘not being part of the group’ as their excuse.
This might sound flaky but Facebook privacy settings are notoriously changeable and it’s quite conceivable someone you thought you added to the group simply never joined- or joined and was unable to see any updates as their settings are so high. There is also the possibility that you didn’t add them to the group (a handy excuse if they get miffed) and the option that they missed the party as they are not on Facebook- 6 million people left Facebook in 2011, and I know at least ten friends who don’t use it or have recently dropped out.
I lost reception a.k.a I have a stupid network that never connects
There are some mobile phone networks that are notoriously bad for connections. It used to be 3 Mobile in the UK (though they have dramatically improved) and AT&T gets a bad rep in the USA; so bad in fact that they are accused of inadvertently killing people by poor connection. This makes them easy targets when you’re looking to get out of a frustrating conversation (Yes Mum, I am coming to visit soon) or at a loss for words (no, it really isn’t all your fault) so a dropped or cracked line is a common call. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen for REAL all the bloody time, but just to add that about 50% of the time I think it may have been self inflicted, with the person holding the phone away from their ear whilst shouting ‘I can’t hear youuuuu’. Another key trait is the uber annoying ‘Hello? HELLO? HELLLLOOOOO?’ which ultimately leads to a hangup and a shoulder shrug.
How do you feel after reading these technology lies? Outraged? Ashamed? A little bit of both? No blame attached here, just sharing that I’M ON TO YOU- which suggests a fair whack of others are as well. Consider this next time you’re planning one of these lies- and get more creative.