FACTBOX-Commandments of "beeping"
(Reuters) - "Beeping" -- calling a contact on their cellphone then quickly hanging up to prompt them to call you back and spare you the charge -- is one of the fastest-growing phenomena in Africa's booming mobile telephone markets.
The following rules for the practice are extracted by Reuters from a forthcoming paper on the subject by researcher Jonathan Donner:
1. "The richer guy pays." It is acceptable to beep someone if you are short of cash and they are flush with credit. Never beep someone poorer than you.
2. Do not beep too often. Two beeps in a row is just about acceptable if you want to request an urgent call back. Any more and you risk becoming a pest.
3. Maximise the efficiency of your beeping by prearranging shorthand codes with friends, family and contacts -- for example, two beeps to be picked up by a taxi driver, one to say you are coming home.
4. Never beep someone if you are trying to get in touch to ask a favor. You don't want to risk annoying the person you are trying to win over.
5. Never flash your girlfriend, unless you want to look cheap. One Rwandan interviewed for the paper said "No self-respecting man would dream of merely flashing his wife or girlfriend ... Never mind the fact that it was Sugar Daddy himself who bought the phone and regularly buys her units."
(Source: "The rules of beeping: Exchanging messages via intentional "missed calls" on mobile phones")
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