Should we teach diplomats how to ping?

People are coming up with ways to wink and sigh electronically
Stephen Baker

Think of how we send messages to each other in the flesh-and-blood world. We smile, we hold onto eye contact for split second longer, we barely stifle a yawn. These signals are subtle, but important (and they provoke lots of cross-border misunderstandings).

The question these days is how to send subtle signals electronically. (And no, I'm not talking about emoticoms, though I guess they count :)) Jason Kottke proposes quick keys on a cell phone to "ping" people--just to get on their radar. A more subtle method, as discussed last week, is simply to stop by someone's profile at Friendster. Any other tricks out there?

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.