A company called MobilSphere has pounced on the fact that people often don’t actually want to talk to each other. Matt Richtel of the NYT explains:
When Alexis Gorman, 26, wanted to tell a man she had been dating that the courtship was over, she felt sending a Dear John text message was too impersonal. But she worried that if she called the man, she would face an awkward conversation or a confrontation.
So she found a middle ground. She broke it off in a voice mail message, using new technology that allowed her to jump directly to the suitor’s voice mail, without ever having to talk to the man — or risk his actually answering the phone.
The technology, called Slydial, lets callers dial a mobile phone but avoid an unwanted conversation — or unwanted intimacy — on the other end. The incoming call goes undetected by the recipient, who simply receives the traditional blinking light or ping that indicates that a voice mail message has been received.
How does MobilSphere, the company behind Slydial, do it? The CEO won’t say (patent pending). You have to listen to a few seconds of ads before you leave the message, of course, but other than that it’s free. Other uses for this technology:
- Telling your wife you gambled away the kids’ college fund in Vegas without getting henpecked
- Calling in sick
- Not talking to people who exhaust or annoy you but have to deal with because they’re family
- 97,000 other situations in which chit-chat or interactivity is unwanted.
Just ask Alexis Gorman (above right, courtesy Jodi Hilton and the NYT):
Ms. Gorman, who works in marketing in Manhattan, said that using Slydial to break off her relationship allowed her to communicate effectively without the potential anxiety.
“If it’s some jerk I went out on a couple of dates with, I can do without that drama,” she said.
“Text messaging someone ‘I would prefer not to see you again’ is really not my style,” she added. “But at the same time, I wanted to avoid an awkward conversation.”
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