Meet Mr. Telephone

Technology has brought us devices of amazing capabilities, and yet there is one that’s worse today than it was when I was a kid. The telephone. It used to work even when the power went out. It was crystal clear. Both people could speak at the same time. It was great.

It now fits in your pocket, can go everywhere and costs nothing extra to make a call to anywhere in the country.  But Millennials hate using telephones.

“We called people on phones and we — I don’t know — we faxed people,” Ms. Plank said, sounding exasperated. “And we had to mail things. And no one really took my opinion into consideration.”

Things only dinosaurs do for $1000, Alex.  Why? What is it that makes young people hate talking on the phone? I get convenience of texting emojis, but do you really hate hearing the voices of actual human beings? Does it mean nothing to you to get a full story, rather than snippets that leave everyone clueless as to what they’re talking about, the full story?
This was once an understandable song. Is it incomprehensible today?

Why?  And if you want to offer an answer, please give your age so that nobody agesplains what’s going on in young people’s heads. Let them explain for themselves.

 

39 thoughts on “Meet Mr. Telephone

  1. J.A. Sutherland

    I’m 48 and I don’t like phone calls. Text or email allow me to give a bit of thought to a response if that’s necessary. I’m not much for small talk with most people, so I just want the relevant details. If it is someone I want to talk to, I’d rather do it in person — phone speakers suck these days (or my ears, one).

  2. Keith

    If you want the kids to answer, why don’t you include THEIR version of the song?
    Trigger warning: clicking this link will make you sad: http://youtu.be/E9FhdYLanKc

    And then, there was that time I felt closer in age to the old man than to you kids.

    I’m turning 39 and I loved the telephone. I used to call friends and talk for hours, fall asleep and wake up to someone saying “hello” cause in addition to being free, it never ran out of batteries.

    While I hate voicemail today (email is just a much better mechanism for telling me to call you or delivering some info), I don’t call people neary as much as I used to.

    Some time around the late 90’s, when I got cell phones, it stopped being easy. Was that the reason?

    Curious what others my age have to say.

    1. Angie NK

      You’re right. Phone calls are not as easy as they used to be. Calling someone uses up more minutes than texting them (I haven’t bit the smartphone bullet yet, so I can only judge based on the pre-paid services). Half the time, voicemails don’t go through. Only once have I heard of an email not going through, and I think that person was lying about having sent it.

      1. tim

        A major part of the issue for me is the abuse of the telephone. Nine times out of ten someone who is trying to reach me on my work phone is either a vendor or a recruiter. So I no longer bother.

        1. Marc Whipple

          This. The way the phone is used now is pretty darn effective aversion therapy. I used to be neutral about phones. The ringer at least offered possibility. Now when my phone rings I automatically assume it’s because something bad happened or somebody wants something from me.

      2. David M.

        My iPad’s Gmail app doesn’t like college wifi – or maybe vice versa – and emails I send from there routinely get trapped in the outbox. Usually set up a smartphone hotspot to work around it, but I promise it does happen…

  3. CLS

    We need to define the term first, because there’s no real clear distinction as to what age bracket constitutes “millennial” as of yet. The Pew Research Center says people aged 18-34 in 2015 are millennials in one breath and that the oldest millennial was born in 1981 in the next.

    Being 34 this year, I’m going to embrace the former as the definition because I’m trying to reach a better understanding of why people communicate in certain ways, so here’s my take. I think we use alternate methods of communication because technology implicitly tells us the phone call is “outdated” and “inconvenient,” and we value “convenience” and being “with the times” more than having an effective conversation. When those older than us enable that mindset by shucking the phone call for texting and Snapchat to accommodate us, it just reinforces that belief structure.

    Explanation: You’re a parent who has a child that continually spends his or her time texting rather than calling people. You want to communicate with your child so badly that you decide to text them when they’re not around. Continuing this method of communication with your child shapes a belief that texting, Facebook messaging, or any other form of communication absent a phone call is preferred and acceptable. Conversely, if you kick your kid’s ass and say “Don’t text me. If you want to talk, call me,” you’ll eventually get your kid to start actually talking to you via the phone call.

    Meanwhile, we’re told by those who develop these technologies that they’re “convenient,” “easy,” and “fun.” We like those words, because we’re hedonistic and lazy at heart. As a result, we use those methods of technology to reinforce our own worldview, rather than attempting to reach out and have a real life conversation with someone.

    Attempts to try and “figure us out” so you can appease us in the workplace, as you’ve written about before, are things we will exploit, because we’ve been raised on a diet of entitlement and “have it your way.” If you kick our ass long enough and hard enough, we might have our feelings hurt, but if we really want to get better at communication we will take those ass kickings and get better at talking in effective, meaningful ways.

    The majority of us have no desire to get better at communicating with others, though. We may realize that’s a scary place to be, but we don’t care.

    1. Kyle W

      “We need to define the term first, because there’s no real clear distinction as to what age bracket constitutes “millennial” as of yet. The Pew Research Center says people aged 18-34 in 2015 are millennials in one breath and that the oldest millennial was born in 1981 in the next.”
      Well, people who were born in 1981 turn 34 in 2015, so I’m going to have to say that’s pretty consistent.

  4. Angie NK

    I’m 27 and I have always hated talking on the phone. It’s awkward. I prefer email for important things, social media or text for casual conversation, and, when possible, talking to people face-to-face. I would probably like Skype if I knew anyone else who used it. The main thing I hate about telephone conversation is the lack of visual cues. It’s all auditory. I don’t like podcasts for the same reason. On the phone, you can’t really stop to think about what to say. In written communication, you can re-word something if the way it first came out of your head wasn’t quite right. In face-to-face conversation, your body language communicates so much about your intention that you don’t have to worry so much about the words not coming out right the first time.
    Like most Millennials, I’m a bad conversationalist, I avoid using the phone whenever possible, and I blame my parents for it, of course.

  5. Anonymous

    I’m 39, so on the younger side of Gen X. I think that places me in the middle of this debate. There are certainly things for which I use phones, like chatting with my family, or extended discussions with my remotely-located colleagues. But I prefer to use e-mail, texts, or face-to-face discussions for a lot of things. In my mind, all these forms of communication (including phones) have a place.

    A phone call requires that the recipient respond immediately, or ignore the call and let it go to voicemail. They don’t know when the phone rings how urgent it is, or how long it will take. So, especially when I’m calling someone I don’t know well, a phone call feels like an intrusion. If I e-mail or text that same person, they can decide how important it is, and address it at their leisure. Same if they are calling me. I have do decide whether to stop what I am doing and take the call, or let it go to voicemail, without having any idea what it is about (and in some cases, who it is). If I do let it go to voicemail, then I have to listen to my voicemail later to find out anything about the call, and not just glance at a message header.

    I view calls as something you use when you need an immediate response, or you want to have an extended, back-and-forth discussion with someone not physically present. Also, if the situation isn’t urgent, but there’s a need for a call, I feel that its more polite to schedule the call–“Can I call you at 4?”–rather than just pick up the phone.

    Five years ago, I didn’t have much use for texts (I used e-mail), but I’m using them more and more for short conversations that are simply to convey basic information. Less formal than e-mail (and less dependent having a good signal), they can be very useful: “I’m leaving work.” “Any problems with the filing?” “ETA?”

    Another good use for texts is extended informal conversations that don’t need immediate attention: “Do you want to see a movie?” “How about X?” “X got bad reviews” “How about Y? Showing tonight at 7” “Lets do the 9” This conversation might take all day, but it doesn’t need to be resolved any sooner, and neither party has to stop what they are doing to pick up the phone (which isn’t always possible or appropriate.)

    So, I can’t tell you about how Millennials feel about phones vs. texts, but that’s how I view it. Phones are fine, but other forms of communication can be better for a lot of situations.

  6. PaulaMarie Susi

    I’m 52, and I hate the telephone. But, to be fair, it’s because I’m on it all day at court. Same reason I hate the computer (I do not own one, the laptop is from the job) – I’m on it all damn day long. If you wish to speak with me by telephone, call between 8am and 8pm at work. At the end of the day, all I want is a cocktail, Bach, and a tree-book. (Happy Birthday 331st, Herr Kapellmeister)

  7. tim

    This is not a “millennial” thing. Being part of the generation before (43) it really just comes down to efficiency and convenience. I can keep multiple dialogs going through out the day no matter what I’m doing (meeting, walking the dog, lunch, etc). The last time I called my husband of 16 years neither of us really knew what to do. Our entire dialog since we’ve met when we are apart has been conducted through ‘instant’ or ‘text’ messaging (yes they had instant messaging in the 90s – heck – we had it in the 80s).

    The same goes for work. Slack and IM are used to work through issues throughout the day. For formal status updates or serious issues we will meet face to face. Conference calls are still held but tend to be avoided in favor of other tools. Even e-mail as a tool is slowly dying out as its not as efficient (I have 66k+ unread e-mails in my work account).

  8. Nathan Popham

    24. My family was a bit behind the times – I didn’t get a text-capable phone until I was in college. Now I find it much more convenient to arrange face-to-face meetings or games with friends by text or IM. I don’t hate using the phone to talk to people; I use it often to talk to my parents and my grandmother. For my friends I’d rather use video chat, or just go visit them physically. Is it really surprising that phone usage has declined now that you can choose a more suitable option for the occasion?

    I do hate using a phone for calling businesses with the “press 1 and then 2 and then 5 and then 4 to get the answering machine of the person you want to talk to”, and for unsolicited marketing calls. Those evils don’t come from my generation, though. If Ms Plank was complaining about having to make those marketing calls in her last job, I could understand.

    I find the tone of your article pretty funny, though. I wonder if the birth of the telephone was greeted with such hyperbole?

  9. Raccoon Strait

    I am 62. I don’t mind the phone, I mind the other people who use it. So I got rid of it, them, all of them, though I do use Skype now and again. Don’t get me started on the phone companies and how they go about screwing their customers in every fashion imaginable and hire folks to imagine new ways. I am disabled so work is not longer a driving factor in this decision.

    The thing I minded was the interruption. When someone calls they rarely take into account that I might be busy doing something else and that their call stops me from doing whatever I was doing. With the advent of the cell phone the interruptions weren’t just at home any longer, and the ire displayed when one does not answer was insensible, to me. Also it is great fun when some Internet site REQUIRES a phone number. I wonder how many have tried to reach me at 1-800-555-1212?

    In reference to actually using phones, I think they are great tools, and should be used as such. Make an appointment and get together for real communication. If long distance between parties is an issue, understand the limitations of not benefiting from non verbal cue’s such as micro expressions, body language, lack of eye contact, etc. For true communication to take place, there is nothing like face to face, nose to nose, and toes to toes. Skype like visuals help with this, but do not answer totally.

    The one thing that is great about telephones though is exercising your walkaway power. Sometimes hanging up in the middle of some diatribe feels so good. Much harder to do in person. Text messages are prohibitively expensive, or looked at another way, way too profitable for the phone companies. Do a comparison of bandwidth used to send a message by text vs the same message in phone minutes, and then compare the costs and you will see how badly you are getting ripped off. The phone companies know it, I called them on it once, after a lot of palaver, they admitted it. Email is fine and if one party gets abusive there is a wonderful invention called the Spam Folder.

  10. Patrick Maupin

    I’m almost 55.

    I think much of the change can be traced to a combination of the Carterfone decision and the breakup of that slow-moving dinosaur, AT&T.

    It used to be that the phone was a scarce resource, shared among all the family members. This made it valuable. It connected the small community of the family with the larger outside community. Even the “metadata” learned by relaying or hearing “Mommmm!!!! It’s Mrs. Jones, for you!” helped in community cohesiveness. Well over 90% of the calls received were either social or had real utility, and most of the rest were the sort of mis-dials you could forgive, because you made them sometimes, too.

    Today, there are more cellphones than people on the planet, so scarcity adds nothing to phone’s perceived value. And while the do-not-call list has, in most cases, reduced the volume of spam calls from 90% back down to something a bit more acceptable, it’s still way too high — probably around 50% on my desk phone at home. This leads to a vicious feedback loop, e.g. I’m not going to use the phone because I hate it when the phone rings because it’s usually not someone I want to talk to and I’m not going to inflict that on someone else.

    So the phone gets relegated to the areas where it’s most efficient: where immediate interrupts are required (“did you forget the meeting? we’re all in the conference room.”) and where a 1 minute conversation can forestall a flurry of a dozen texts or emails.

    And, of course, where you don’t want a record of the discussion on the email servers.

    My best work is done in a flow state that usually lasts somewhere between half an hour and two hours, so I’m happy with the decline of phone conversations caused by the availability of alternatives.

    What I don’t understand and am not happy with is the way some people (OK, millenials, usually) seem to feel that each of their 200 daily incoming text messages demands immediate attention. I’ve had to explain more than once in no uncertain terms that no, it is not acceptable to come and interrupt me, and then pause mid-question to check your phone because it beeped with an incoming text.

  11. Josh

    I’m 32, so on the older end of the millennial range. With myself, there are four major reasons why calling people on the phone is often not the best form of communication.
    1) Cell phones are ubiquitous and many people, including myself, don’t have land lines. Call quality on a cell, and especially cell-to-cell, can’t hold a candle to a landline. It’s further degraded because calls can and often are made from the street, busy public areas, or the car. Often times the blend of call compression, iffy reception, and ambient noise make it *harder* to quickly communicate important information.
    2) It’s not archival. If someone calls to let me know the time and place of meeting, or a phone number I need to call, or really any piece of information, and I don’t have a pen & paper right there, I might forget it. Or even if I write it down, I might lose the note. Text messages and email are on my phone and readily searchable.
    3) Even without reasons one and two, It’s often faster to shoot off a quick text or email when you are conveying information, as opposed to calling someone for social reasons. For example, If I need to get a phone number from someone and I call, perhaps they are busy, need to get back to their desk, or what have you. And when they give me the number, I have to confirm I heard them correctly. If I send a text, they can answer when convenient, I don’t have to wait on the phone while they hunt down the number, and I’m less likely to misunderstand the number.
    4) Checking my voicemail is slower than checking a text/email. I have to call my voicemail, wait for the connection, wait for the prompt, enter my pin, wait for another prompt, wait for the message to start, wait for the standard pleasantries (“Hi, Josh, sorry it took so long to get back to you. I’m calling today about…”), etc. Text or email are often most faster.
    I would point out, these can all be ameliorated by being more organized. I could not take calls on the street, and I could always keep a small notepad and pen with me, etc. But I have my phone, and texting/email works great. Calling is important for some things, for example if there needs to be discussion, but other modes of communication work well for me. You use the tool that works best for you in the given situation, just like everything else.

    1. solaric

      31 here and I agree with all this, but in addition I think there is the more fundamental issue of the type of interactivity realtime voice requires vs text/email/IRC/whatever. I’ve worked long enough as a programmer that I tend to think of this sort of thing through the lens of computer user interface design, and voice essentially is the original modal dialog [1]. In other words, it’s *blocking*: while doing it, you must be actively involved, it takes constant attention and you’re limited in the actions you can take beyond the dialog until it’s over. Yes, you may be able to put the other person on hold for a brief time or promise to call them back at a set time, but both of these are much more limited in scope and flexibility then the push-model of sending a packet of information to someone and then allowing them to respond on their schedule. Voice also is less flexible in terms of communicating with significant numbers of people in a short period of time.

      There are certainly times when that’s the most appropriate way to handle an information/decision exchange, but I’ve long found that for the majority of discussions, every day communications and so forth it’s actually pretty inefficient. Even ignoring the limitations it has in terms of tools and its infrastructure requirements, it still often means taking someone out of whatever they’re doing at that moment and requiring two or more people to sync up for a while. That can be worth it in the same way that any other meeting might be worth it, but there has always been recognition that too many meetings can ultimately become a drag on actually getting stuff done.

      1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modal_window

  12. David M.

    I’m 22, and I used to like using the phone. Back in ’03, I remember I’d talk to friends for hours on end on the old 90s corded phone that hung in our kitchen.

    Mom had a Motorola Pebl back when they were trendy and my sister and I got kid cell phones. Didn’t like mine much, and when my dad brought an iPhone home one day, I decided to act unimpressed. Teens gonna teen.

    I was actually phoneless for much of high school and my first year of college, because I thought they were a) superficial and b) annoying as balls. But when my girlfriend and I moved in together, I kept borrowing her phone and iPad, to the point that even I thought it was a little ridiculous. So I sucked it up, went to a store and got a Galaxy smartphone. Upgraded to an iPhone two years later. So here I am, posting this comment from my iPad with my phone charging downstairs.

    If I need to persuade someone, usually my boss, a professor or a TA, to do something for me, I prefer to call. If you’ve got a good voice, use it, right? But I rarely call my friends, and my apartment hasn’t got a landline. I think it’s probably a convenience thing – that, and you can interrupt/resume conversations whenever you like and not appear rude. I keep fairly busy, so that’s definitely a boon.

  13. Mason

    41. I cut the land line about 15 years ago. I’ve never enjoyed talking on the phone. I spend half my day at work on one call or another, and I’m highly unlikely to use it outside of work except for the rare emergency or in a situation where a one minute call will be more efficient than texting/email.

    I’d much rather have a face to face conversation in meatspace.

  14. david woycechowsky

    Probably has to do with increasing number of (mostly undiagnosed) people on the autism spectrum. Relieves one of the responsibility of picking up emotional cues in inflection, tone of voice, etc.

    1. SHG Post author

      Notice how everyone else offered their own reasons, while you decided to “explain” it for others, and not only that, diagnosed a generation with autism.

      1. david woycechowsky

        Others think it is “all about them.” I don’t. As far as autism increasing, that is not controversial. Finally, I didn’t say that everyone who doesn’t like the telephone is on the autism spectrum. Even if I had (which I didn’t), that is not an insult (which your comment implies).

  15. Chris Ryan

    I am 39 and I find myself in an odd spot. I love talking on the phone to friends and family but I HATE voicemail (and routinely wont leave one except on business related calls), and smartphones are my bane. I dont mind texting/emailing if you have a simple question that only requires a simple answer, but if it takes more then 1 or 2 texts, just call me.

    If I am calling you to just chat, I wont leave a message if you dont pick up. If you call me and dont leave a message, I will simply take it that you called to say hi, and I wasnt available. If it was critical, you should have left a message or called back.

    There is nothing quite like the sound of a human voice when having a conversation. While I prefer face-to-face, a phone call will suffice for my long-distance friends.

  16. bookmoth

    I’m 35, just barely young enough to qualify as a millennial.

    Calling someone on the phone is intrusive – you’re demanding they stop what they’re doing to talk to you and so it feels like you’re implying that whatever you have to say is more important than whatever they’re doing.

    Talking on the phone makes me anxious because it all depends on how well you can put your thoughts into words quickly, then listen and understand what the other person is saying, then form my next thought and put it into words… It’s common for me to hang up the phone and then realize what I should’ve said or that I misheard something important. Often I find myself “already listening – I anticipate what the other person will say, so instead of listening to what they actually say, I are formulating what I’ll say when they stop talking.

    I can’t read someone’s body language when on the phone. I can’t read body language in an email or letter, either, but with those text messages, I assume that they have chosen their words more deliberately than they would be able to when having a phone conversation.

    There are a few technical factors affecting why I am not comfortable on the phone.

    I don’t have a land line now. Speaking on a cell phone is harder than one of the solid, ergonomic land line phones because the reception is worse and the phone isn’t as comfortable to hold.

    Cell phones don’t carry voice as well as land lines. Hearing and understanding is more of a strain.

    The Atlantic Monthly published an article suggesting that the design of the phone and the telephony infrastructure may be as much of a factor in the “decline of the phone call” as a change in culture and habit. I can provide a link if you want.

  17. Vel Pendell

    27. I never used phones for social calls in pre-cellphone days, I’d just arrange to meet people in person if I wanted to socialize. Arrangements used to be made over the phone, but I’ve had some form of internet available since I was 17 and find email immensely preferable for that purpose. When I do find a reason to use the phone, it’s usually because some company demands that I call and wade through their menu of button-presses in an effort to reach a human being, who usually is on the other side of the planet, got at best a ‘C’ in English, and isn’t authorized to be in any way useful. Incoming calls are about 60% telemarketers, 35% outright scams. So, I would certainly say that I don’t associate the phone with a good time.
    I do prefer a full story to the random snippets of social media, but prefer conversation in person. Since graduating college, I’ve had friends who were far away, and social calls are useful there- but we always use Skype for that. It has video, if we’re free to make social calls we’re usually in reach of a computer to use it, and it’s easy to send “hey, got time for a call?” beforehand, which I find much preferable to calling (or being called) out of the blue.

    1. John Barleycorn

      Who knew? Here I thought the FCC imposed a tax for anyone under 50 leaving comments in the back pages of SJ.

  18. Osama bin Pimpin

    I’m 42 and my 60 something secretary were complaining last week about those kids glued to their smartphone bluescreens. It was my Grandpa Simpson moment.

    In my defense, I dislike smartphones because I came of age in the BlackBerry era so I view any features beyond a phone as a ball and chain. If I was in a cool industry I would think such things are awesome.

    Another sad consequence of the smartphone is that is all anyone looks at on the Snowbird tram now. It used to be the place to make new acquaintances.

    Home phones are a waste of time. I

  19. John Neff

    I am 81 and when I started to use the phone the person I wanted to talk to usually answered the phone. The next stage was the phone was answered by someone that screened the call for the person I wanted to talk to. Then a machine replaced the screening person and now I am being called by machines so I have to have a machine to screen the calls from other machines. I have learned how to filter out most of the email trash so that is not as bad.

    I had a flip phone that was OK but have recently replaced it with a low end smart phone so I can manage text messages from my children and grandchildren and am in the process of removing most of the annoying features. Some of the annoying features came installed on the phone and why a company would annoy their customers is hard to fathom.

  20. Weebs

    I’m 47 and have spent the last 24 years in sales so making phone calls is second nature for work. I don’t mind it all that much but because I spend so much time on the phone for work purposes, I do not like spending time on the phone after working hours.

    And I have been a sales manager in several organizations over the years and the hardest part of my job has been getting younger sales people to pick up the damn phone and call someone. They are perfectly fine emailing someone but the thought of actually calling someone and speaking to them makes them uneasy. Unfortunately, you HAVE to do it to be successful in this field.

    I really can’t blame them though. They spend their entire lives texting and emailing and basically using every form of communication other than the phone, so changing their method isn’t easy.

    As an aside, my daughter is 25. I paid for her cell phone through HS, undergrad and grad school and while she had unlimited minutes and unlimited texts, her monthly bill would show maybe a couple hours of talk time but thousands upon thousands of texts. It’s just their thing.

  21. Jim Ryan

    Age 65. The majority of phone calls to my number are SPAM. Thank goodness for a service like nomorob.com, which learns and blocks much of this spam. I do not miss those calls from “Rachel at Cardholder Services”. And if I do miss a phone call, google graciously translates it into a text message and/or I can listen to it directly on my android phone. I no longer stress about missing phone calls.
    The process of a phone call causes an asynchronous interruption which can occur at an inconvenient time or when I’m in an inconvenient place (or without a pen and paper to take notes). Text messages and email don’t provide the same level of interruption and can save time. When I’m shopping, I can receive a message to pick up something that I may have omitted from my shopping list. On the NYC Subway, thanks to transit wifi, I can communicate my location (and delays)

    1. Jim Ryan

      Additional thought:
      In NYC, every doctor office thinks it is OKAY to phone and confirm your upcoming appointment. I have pointed this out to my doctors and they see nothing wrong with this, until I tell them that I need their cell number and I will take on the onus and call to let them know I will be there. Feedback works, and Mt. Sinai (opthamologist 17 East 102nd street) now texts me. When I get around to it and at my convenience, I text a confirmation.

  22. Billy Bob

    We miss the good ol’ days. (I’m of the age of maturity; a gentleman never reveals his age.)
    Nowadays, you call someone, or some office or gov’t agency, and you get either the Voice Mail or the automated answering system. Occasionally, the voice mailbox is full and cannot,…. nor will it, accept new messages. In common parlance, the phone rings, but no one answers. Half the time, voice messages are not/never/ever
    returned. If returned, you’re either driving in heavy traffic or on the Throne. So now you call your senator/representative back at a convenient moment, and you get the VM and/or automatic answering system again. Puhleeeze! We give up.

    Emails and texts are not always answered either, for reasons unknown? We have made communication easier than ever before, but as perverse as it may sound, our recipients are more recalcitrant than ever and unwilling to answer or return calls. This is crazy. We fully sympathize with Weebs above. Finally, CDLs are the worst: “You have five minutes to tell me what your case is all about. I have to pick up my daughter at 4 o’clock.” It’s f-i-v-e minutes before F-o-u-r. Bye! Thanx for calling Jacqueline the Jackal, Attorneys at law, specializing in extradition, exonerations and ex parte proceedings, at your service.
    We aim to please!

  23. Christopher Best

    I think I’m 34? Ran out of fingers…

    I don’t like the phone because it’s an immediate, synchronous form of communication. I have a sorting algorithm for how important what I’m communicating with you is about that decides what method I use. Rarely is my need for an answer so pressing that I interrupt someone by calling them. I’d rather give them the option to respond on their own time, if possible.

  24. Random Passerby

    31 here, and I’d agree with my fellow millenials Josh and solaric on their reasons. I’d add that I’ve never known voice calls to be of any use other than “official business”, either from your official place of business, or from official business trying to solicit you. I have a landline installed in my current place, and all of the calls I receive are various forms of spam.

    And now to make you feel really old: not only is Blondie’s “Call Me” incomprehensible, for most of the younger part of the millenial cohort, No Doubt’s “Spider Webs” is equally incomprehensible, and it’s from 1995.

    1. Keith

      You never had to get through to someone without the ability to text them did you?

      I can still remember trying to call over and over to get through to a friend. Call waiting stopped those pesky emergency breakthroughs, which I’m sure made the operators happy not to have to deal with so many teenagers in crisis.

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