Posted by John Stokdyk, Technology editor
It's been a little while since anyone around here let off a bit of steam about the irritants of modern technology, so we have Rob Nance, the publisher of our US sister site AccountingWEB.com to thank for airing his pet technology peeve recently.
What really gets Rob's goat are people who ring back immediately after you've left a long and detailed message. As he describes it, two seconds after you've finished the voice mail the phone rings and the same person is on the line saying, "I see that you called." You're thinking, "No kidding! I just left you a message! Listen to it!"
Rob asked members to suggest their technology bug bears, and even offered an AccountingWEB.com coffee mug to those that were published. One suggestion from Linda Cavanaugh of Dayton, Ohio rang true with me: "I hate the BlackBerry and such devices," she wrote. "People feel the need to keep checking them in the middle of a meeting and some of my co-workers even respond to emails instead of paying attention."
The mobile fixation has infected the very fabric of our culture. I was strolling home one evening last week (when the weather was still nice) and passed two young lads sitting together at a table outside our local pub. They were both busy texting other people. In my day, we used to pay attention to each other and have something called a conversation.
This MAD (mobile attention deficit) disorder can be crippling in a business context. CODA's group marketing director Dave Turner shares my view and described a recent meeting that was constantly interrupted by the buzzing of BlackBerrys that colleagues felt compelled to check.
Linda suggests telling all the participants to turn off their phones and BlackBerrys at the start of meetings: "I know they need to stay in contact with their department, but I wouldn’t have invited them to the meeting if I didn’t need their input."
Laura L. Canales, from Boise, Idaho hates automated service telephone messages where none of the "press 1 for..." options applies to her situation. "If I needed simple information like sales, etc, most any company worth its salt has a pretty well developed website where I can find it. If it wasn’t complicated, I wouldn’t call - let me speak with a person directly, please!" she ranted.
So, that's the view from across the Atlantic. As Rob puts it, what irritating technology practices drive you nuts? We'll get him to send us a few mugs to reward entertaining contributions.