Saturday, July 2, 2011

June Answering Machine Messages

Years ago, for a short while, I kept a list of people who called me and then broke it down by categories to examine the nature of the communication that went on in my life. I got a couple of coworkers to do it with me, and we were able to compare notes at the end of the month. Interestingly, most of us received calls primarily from a very small set of people (e.g., most calls came from one's boyfriend, etc.).

Then a few years later, I decided to conduct a similar experiment for a full year. Unfortunately, the results of that experiment were lost in a computer crash a year or so later. My experiment eventually came to an end when my friend Al decided to rig the results by called to leave a message every day. By the end of the year, not only was he the number 1 caller, but it was unlikely anyone would ever call me that many times again (indeed, now that I don't keep such a log, he doesn't call as often). As a humorous sidenote on December 31 that year, at a party, each person there called me and left a message, and of course Al called me from the party probably over twenty times. I think I had over thirty messages when I got home. They may be on a recording around here somewhere.

I didn't start a log this month. But I figured I wouldn't erase my answering machine messages, which in turn would allow me to easily document the results at the end of the month without the need for pen and paper. And now the results are in.

Interestingly, friends made up the bulk of the calls. I say interesting because years ago telemarketers likely would have been on an equal par with them. And sometimes I still feel that way. But the do-not-call list has probably doomed most such marketers and so they've given up, even among those of us who never signed up. (For a few years, I received even more robo calls than I ever had before--the result, probably, of a dwindling list of people not on the do-not-call list, which by now is likely so small it's simply not worth dialing the list.)

So here goes, the list by category:

Note: no messages from relatives. These days, I tend to do most of the calling to my parents rather than the other way around. The one business call was from an editor (!); boy, that makes me feel like a real writer. The friends consisted of three people, one of whom made up two-thirds of the calls. Among the telemarketers, I got the same calls twice over, so there were only three messages left at five different times: one was for a dental insurance, two for life insurance, and two for a credit card.

But I'm also intrigued by when these phone calls occur, and so I figured I'd plot them out:

Finally, there's this nifty scatter plot that details the times messages are most likely to arrive:

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