Just as I am getting prepared to do some research for my next blog post, I see my cousin popping up on messenger. His icon is marked green but I know he won’t talk to me. Why? Well, he doesn’t know I am currently connected because my setting says “appear offline”.
This makes me wonder: What is the use of wanting to appear offline while being online? Wouldn’t it just be simpler or more convenient not lo log into messenger, Skype or suchlike at all? Or couldn’t I just set my setting to “busy” if I can’t be bothered with answering any instant messages?
One of my personal reasons for acting that way is that I get easily distracted when talking to people when having other things to do besides. Furthermore, many of them ignore the “busy”- status nowadays since it has become so common. But if I am “offline”, I get to focus on my primary tasks and still do not miss on who is signing in and out. That way, I still have the possibility to talk to the people who are clearly available, if I want to.
This whole issue also makes me reflect on prestige and its link to internet presence. On the one hand, people who are constantly online, available and posting about their dog’s favorite shampoo and the like, easily evoke the impression of having too much time or of not dedicating it to anything “important”. But on the other hand, an increased usage of IT can also contribute to reinforce the image of an influential person, for example in the case of a business person.
An option that caught my attention in this connection is the so-called “Fake Call App” provided for the iPhone.
This application contains a wide range of personalization possibilities for preprogrammed calls that may be helpful to get you out of a boring business bunch or a dodgy date.
Just imagine you are stuck in an unpleasant situation and you would like to leave as politely as possible. That is when this device comes in handy. You discretely press a button and wait for the phone to ring shortly afterwards. There is even a way to select the fake caller’s ringtone, voice, name, picture etc. – all of this beforehand, of course. For more details on how it works, see here.
In Paolo Coelho’s novel “The Winner Stands Alone”, the author describes how this application is deliberately used by business men, film directors and so on in order to make themselves seem important, if judging by the amount of calls they receive. Another method they apply is pushing the fake calls away during negotiations in order to put pressure on the other party and force them to take fast and rash decisions. This seems to be quite an elaborated strategy, doesn’t it?
It amazes and scares me at the same time to see the kind of inventions that are currently out there. But in the end, IT just tries to keep track with the development of humanity, including both its good as well as its evil sides.