The meaning of a missed call

The beep could be a callback request, a relational “stroke” to tell a loved one you’re thinking about them, or an instrumental nudge – “it’s time to fetch me”. Just remember that the poorer one “beeps” the richer one and the hopeful suitor never “beeps” the beloved.

This is a great academic paper about the meaning and etiquette of giving someone a “missed call”, also known as “beeping”, “flashing”, “missed calling” or “pranking”. It’s a very familiar practice here in South Africa, and it seems it’s also a global phenomenon, to be found all around the world, wherever airtime is a scarce resource.

The Rules of Beeping: Exchanging Messages Via Intentional “Missed Calls” on Mobile Phones by Jonathan Donner.

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