Beeping
Nokia researcher Jan Chipchase reports on just published research from Microsoft Research India‘s Jonathan Donner that explores the practice of beeping – making intentional missed calls.

The paper draws on field research from Rwanda in 2004, categorising three different types of beeping: call back beeps; pre-negotiated instrumental beeps; and relational beeps, and discusses the rules that define the what, why and how.

Chipchase continues:

“Reacting to prevelance of this informal practice carrier’s such as MTN [in Ghana] have introduced the Call Me service – where the user can send one of four pre-defined text message for free – Please Call me, Can’t talk now. Please text me, I’ve missed you. Please call me! and It’s important. Please call me!. Given the myriad of ways that a beep can be interpreted which is a better, for whom and in what contexts

It’s probably more efficient for the carrier to send a pre-defined text message (small bits of asynchronous data) than to tie up an exchange trying to connect a call in real time (a synchronous connection), so this new service could be a win/win.”