29 March 2011

Death of the phone call

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

When I got my iPhone a few months ago, I picked a plan with the lowest number of minutes but highest data package. Someone I’m related to asked why and I answered without thinking, “because I never make phone calls, the minutes will never be fully used.”

I thought I was crazy but according to a New York Times article, I’m not. The act of picking up the phone to call someone is becoming quickly extinct. The only people that really call me anymore are family and even then, it’s a quick call. We default to text. Same with friends. I call if I’m running late or am lost, but text, tweet or Facebook message is the preferred way we talk to each other when we’re not in person.

As a teen, I dreamed about having my own phone line in my room but now, I don’t even have a main line in my apartment! I don’t hate talking on the phone, but I find that when it’s not about business, I’m very awkward. If I had a nickel for every time I had an uncomfortable, dramatic pause-filled conversation with a guy from Match, I would be rich.

At work, using the phone is the last method I go to to reach someone. It’s always IM, email or even walking by his/her desk first. I guess that I just think that no one answers the phone anymore so I don’t reach for it right away. In an age where just about everyone has a smartphone, I think that they would respond faster to text or email than a call. And let’s be honest, conference calls on speaker phone are insanely annoying and I don’t want to be that girl so if an email will get me my answer, I’d rather do that.

Chicago even has a take out ordering service called Grubhub where you can order and pay for your food online without talking on the phone, you only have to meet the deliveryman to get it. Yes, it’s amazing.

What about you? Do you still talk on the phone or have you moved more to text or email?


  1. Kez says:

    My hubby and I both have iPhone 4s and it’s funny how sometimes we can forget that the original use of a phone is to CALL someone!!
    We don’t have a landline phone at our place because our iPhones do everything we need and we have a fairly good package deal. Last time we had a landline all we ever got were calls from telemarketers and people who we were doing business with.
    I tend not to call my friends as the first option if it can be summed up in an easy sms. It’s easier and you don’t have to worry that you’re intruding on someone’s personal time. Also, landline phones are unpredictable – you might get 5 different people answering a phone when you know that calling a mobile/cell means you’ll get the right person right away!

    I actually love using a phone when I’m working (exercising those old phone manner skills) but I hate it in my personal life if it’s not with family!

  2. I hate phone calls. Making them, especially. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t go into journalism (which is what I went to college for)–I get literally ill when I have to make a call. I don’t even like calling to order food. That said, we do still have a landline phone. Not even my mom has that anymore! She still won’t get texting on her phone, though.

  3. Marjolein says:

    I call so much more than text or IM or anything like that. Calling each other on the phone is our main way of reaching each other across locations at work, and usually when I want to ask someone something I’ll call them so you can have a whole conversation in one go without having to text back and forth.

  4. Paula says:

    I never talk on the phone unless I have to. I never have. When I was a teenager I forced myself to be a girly girl and talk to my friends on the phone but I didn’t LIKE it.

    It’s lucky that my boyfriend feels exactly the same way as me – if we contact each other it’s always by email or text and never phone. I far prefer it that way!

  5. i’m a big texter, and i totally blame living in ireland for 2 years as over there on the pay as you go it was cheaper to text than talk, and then once i moved back to the us texting/smartphones were super popular. i still call friends all the time, especially since we all live a few hours from each other and i’d rather talk to you than text or gchat. but i’m still a prolific texter and it is great for keeping in touch with friends.

  6. I’ve always hated talking on the phone, even when I was a teenager. I very rarely make phone calls and do almost all of my communicating through text or internet. I actually get really annoyed with companies that don’t provide online communication capabilities because I DON’T WANT TO CALL THEM!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I had the same package when I had the iPhone–most of the people I know had ATT anyway, so I could talk to them all I wanted (which, other than my mom and grandmother was almost never!) without worrying about minutes.

  8. steph anne says:

    It’s different for me because I obviously can’t talk on the phone. It’s impossible to read lips through the phone. :) But yeah, I love texting! It frustrates me sometimes because most of my deaf friends abuse texting by using it to catch up with me which could be done through email since it’s easier to type out a long message than to read it as a text and not know how to reply and answer all of their questions so I basically forget to reply back to them. Soon enough I won’t have anymore friends. :)

  9. katelin says:

    i sort of love talking on the phone but i just don’t do it all that often any more. i find myself emailing more than anything else. and then i guess texting and phone calls come next.

  10. Kate says:

    I hate the phone! There was a time, many moons ago in the age of rotary dial, that I loved to talk like it was going out of style. Now it’s the complete opposite. I actually met up on MySpace (now I feel retro again!) several years ago with a friend from high school. We talk all the time through text and online, but I haven’t heard her voice since I was 17 years old. Weird, right?

  11. mandy says:

    I have mixed feelings about this subject. I do think that people generally do talk less on the phone but I also think that sometimes a good ol’fashioned phone converstaion is exactly what I need. I do text and email a lot but sometimes I need to hear someone’s voice. I also don’t have a smart phone.

  12. Mega says:

    I feel like it depends what social circles you run in. With my ‘blogger friends’, I definitely communicate more through email, texting, facebook, whatever. But with my friends that I have known for 4-5 years or more, we call each other. I don’t know why that is. Duder doesn’t even have a Facebook, and he literally just got texting on his phone within the last year. But with some people, I prefer to hear their voices instead of getting a text or email. Like you!

  13. Lil' Woman says:

    I still talk on the phone occasionally, but I’m still not a big texter or emailer…I usually just wait till I see people in person.

  14. Maggie says:

    About three years ago, I needed a new phone and someone suggested I get one with text. “Oh, texts are stupid,” I said. “I’ll never use that.”

    Three years and two smartphones later… I average about 75 minutes (65 of which are talking to my mom who does nothing techy) and a bigillion texts, emails, and tweets.

    I do believe this is another strike against common courtesy though. Ex. I never pick up my husband’s phone, so I never have that short conversation with his parents, sisters, or friends.

  15. A Super Girl says:

    I’m SO not a phone talker. However, I do think it’s hurt my relationships. I had a friend that used to call me every morning on the way to work (she’s a major phone talker). There would be times I’d be running late or wouldn’t answer for various reasons so she stopped calling and frankly, we don’t talk all that much now!

    But on the other hand, neither DD or I are phone talkers. So while the friend I mention above talks to her husband multiple times a day, I may only get a text or e-mail from DD. But that works for us. I can’t imagine talking to him several times a day!

    As long as your friends/family have the same phone habits as you, I think it works great.

  16. April says:

    It’s funny, when I work jobs where I have to use the phone, I use it a lot less personally. But when I worked a data entry job that made me feel isolated from society, I was calling everyone, desperate for human contact.

    You’re so right though, it’s all about the big data plans and QWERTY keyboards these days.

  17. Nora says:

    There are a handful of friends of mine that I talk with on a regular basis (and family, well, we are big on the phone still). And the whole being in a long distance relationship thing, we talk a lot. I actually had to increase my minutes! I suspect that will change when I move since I get free mobile-to-mobile with my family which will be lovely since it’s so darn expensive. My cell phone bill is out of control. I haven’t had a main line in my residence since 2007? But I can definitely see that people don’t make as many phone calls as they used to. I sometimes favor a quick text or check in email instead of a call… maybe I’m just lazy :)

  18. Erin says:

    So true! I rarely talk on the phone. I have one friend that I have actual phone conversations with…and that’s once a month. Other than that, I almost never make or receive a phone call!

  19. Erin says:

    It’s funny; when I was in middle school and high school I would be on the phone ALLLLL night with my friends and boyfriend(s). Now? I hate talking on the phone. I only do it when A. I want to talk to my mom or B. one of my friends is having a rough time and needs to vent.

    But, sometimes it is just easier to call if I have a quick question or need to tell someone something really fast. I’m not the fastest texter :-)

  20. Rebekah says:

    If I see my boyfriend’s name on the caller ID, I almost always assume it’s an emergency. That’s how little we actually TALK on the phone – though we blow it up with texts every day. My plan has unlimited data and only 450 minutes per month, which I hardly ever dent. If I do it’s with my mom, who (gasp!) doesn’t have texting on her plan.

    But wow, I was desperate for my own phone in high school too!

  21. Lacey Bean says:

    I used to talk on the phone a ton. Mainly because of Dave, I’m a text girl, only picking up the phone if the convo is just stretching on and on, and would be easier to just hash out with voices, and not texts. :) But yeah, when Dave and I first started dating, he barely called and I had to get a qwerty keyboard phone to keep up with his texts. Now we have matching androids haha.

  22. The only reason I have a phone in my home is because it is for work otherwise I would go without as I have since college. I spend a lot of time on the phone for work (as I am in sales) and I think that makes me shy away from being on the phone even more. The only person I have had any in-depth long phone calls with in the last year and a half have been B. Then it was as if we were resorting to being teens; talking on the phone for 3 and 4 hours at a time after we had had bbm’d or text throughout the whole day.

  23. Caroline says:

    I talk to my mom for hours, and email doesn’t really “count” as real communication with her in my mind. I wouldn’t mind catching up with friends that way, because I feel like more comes out when you’re trying to fill that space than on Facebook, but I know most of my friends hate it, and probably won’t even answer.

    I’ve taken to forcing myself to use the phone more for business/job hunting, communicating with my apt building manager, or for ordering food or whatever, just because I feel like it’s a skill I should practice. Though I might be the only one with that skill, so…

  24. Jenn says:

    I rarely talk on the phone anymore – unless I’m talking to my mom! But most communication happens over email or in-person these days.

  25. phampants says:

    I have unlimited voice but I use like 100 minutes a month. Though speaking of phone, I don’t have your number. (That sounded more creepy than I intended.) Perhaps w/ your number, we can actually hang out. (Yeah, I’m just making myself sound like a creeper.)

  26. I’m the same way. Last month I used 14 out of the 1000 minutes on my plan… and I have an additional 1000 bonus minutes that keep rolling over each month. On the other hand, I used 726 text messages. :-)

  27. eemusings says:

    Oh, me too. Isn’t it funny? I used to want nothing more than my own phone line.

    I only ever text, really, because mobile usage is so expensive here. But occasionally there are deals in which I get free calling credit, which is great – because these days I’m far too lazy to text. It’s so slow! I would rather pick up the phone, or email or FB (typing beats texting any day).

  28. Maggie says:

    Same here. The only people I talk to on the phone are my mom & husband. Everyone else is pretty much text or email. I actually dread making phone calls now. It’s so weird, because like you I loved to talk on the phone in high school.

  29. Renee says:

    I hate talking on the phone, so my plan is the same – minimum minutes, maximum data.

  30. I get sad when I see my dialed/accepted/missed calls have occasionally weeks since it’s last entry. I never talk on the phone either. The only time I’ll call someone is if my mom has emailed me about something and I know calling is actually faster than replying. Then when she picks up, I don’t bother saying hi, I just launch into whatever I want to talk about. This of course just makes her laugh but… lol. Yeah… phone mins are wasted. I kinda think that’s how phone companies are now scamming us for more money. You can’t have a phone without minutes. :-/