In all the lore of online business life, the stories of what your colleagues actually do when they’re on conference calls (instead of participating) are legion, lusty, and legend. Put on the mute button, and those virtual people go to real-life town. Partly it’s because conference calls are ubiquitous—the low-hanging, rotten fruit of the digital world. And partly it’s because they are so boring.

Of course, there are tales of embarrassing rants and even more embarrassing noises. And I read recently of a man who was fired for making an obscene gesture at the phone, not realizing that the video camera was on as he walked in to ...

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