Ringing Off

Dan James and Steven Garrity and I had lunch last week with one of their clients, and at one point the conversation turned to Blackberries, instant messaging, email, and other novel ways of communicating. I brought up the fact that there’s an interesting split between two groups of people I exchange instant messages with: there are the people who say good-bye, and the people who don’t.

None of the people at silverorange, for example, Steven included, ever sign off with a “bye” or an “oo” (for “over and out”). They just stop typing. My mother, however, and Catherine, and Johnny, and the folks at Yankee all do.

Steven mentioned that men of his father’s generation don’t say good-bye the telephone; I wonder if this is related? Or perhaps in the world of young hep-cats, the conversation never really ends, so there’s no need to say good-bye?

I’m so stuck in the mud that I even use the phrase “ring off” from time to time when talking on the telephone — “sorry, but I’ve got to ring off now and get home for supper.” Ringing off is a holdover from ye olde days:

The “Ring Off” is a signal to indicate that the persons using a line have completed their conversation and consists of two short, distinct rings, to be given by each office, except in cases where the telephones are fitted with automatic “call” and “ring off” signals.

This is Pete. Ending the blog post. Now.

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