Tonawanda News


March 14, 2013

Leave a message at the beep

Tonawanda News — I’m baffled.

This isn’t new. And I’m pretty sure that it’s not a feeling that’s going anywhere, either. I’ll probably be baffled at least once every day of my life, and I don’t suppose that’s necessary a bad thing. 

But sometimes you realize that what you consider, well, the right way to do things — the polite way, the proper way, the way you were raised and the way you just accepted things were — is considered by others to be silly, rude and downright wrong.

Like I said. Baffled.

I recently read an article on, something that sprung from another article in the New York Times, about how leaving a voicemail is rude. Really.

The Times’ article author, Nick Bilton, asserted that “many social norms just don’t make sense to people drowning in digital communication.” Voicemail, he wrote, is impolite, forcing people to waste their time and actually access said voicemail and listen through “long-winded” messages like “Hi, this is so-and-so ...” Don’t people know they should just text you?

I read the Times article. Then I actually tried to ascertain if this was satire, if Bilton was joking. Apparently, he’s not.

Caity Weaver, who wrote about the original Times article on, didn’t agree with all Bilton’s points, but she did on the voicemail one. She even goes so far as to include “a little guide ... to help you[r parents] decide when it’s appropriate to leave a voicemail message on someone else’s phone.”

It includes such voicemail sins as leaving a message if something is time-sensitve (sic), urgent or if “You’re calling to tell me to call you back.” This last because “A voicemail tells me our information transaction is complete; you’ve delivered your message. A missed call tells me our information transaction is beginning.”

Text Only
  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg DUVALL: In defense of the Common Core

    They've become the two dirtiest words in education, but the Common Core is very much worth defending.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Bits and pieces from out and about Ever since it was restored and opened, the Hotel @ Lafayette in downtown Buffalo has fascinated me. Last Monday, the Preservation Buffalo Niagara offered a tour of the hotel led by developer Rocco Termini.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg ADAMCZYK: Kenmore is a village made of bricks Buffalo and surrounding environs have brick buildings galore, often in the process of repurpose. Whole neighborhoods made of brick await development, redevelopment, gentrification, whatever wand will be waved at them to make them function again. Structures here tend not to be razed; they fall down occasionally but typically simply stand and wait.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • leffler, scott.jpg LEFFLER: Justice is blind -- and deaf and dumb I've always been intrigued by the concept of justice. I say concept because it really seems more theoretical to me than practical. One man's justice is another man's nightmare.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg For Sabres, more suffering is on tap

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Taking down trees 'disheartening' Several readers have questioned the City of Tonawanda's tree removal program. An email to Jenna Koch, who represents the third ward and checks into any query on the city, explained the program.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg [Duplicate] ADAMCZYK: Letterman was on my side The announcement that Mr. Letterman is retiring from his groundbreaking television program, sometime in 2015, is already old news, but it gives opportunity to ponder a few truisms about history and modern life.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Leffler Mug 041114 [Duplicate] LEFFLER: 'Need to know' a double-edged sword Inquisitive doesn't begin to describe me. I must know everything. About everything. I hate being in the dark. I guess that's what makes my career choice so very obvious. I think "must know everything" is at the top of most journalists' trait lists.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wallace, Amy BW mug WALLACE: Airplane coverage has gone awry I don't know about you, but I am so sick of the cable news stations' constant coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo