What has Happened to the Telephone?

person on phone by Robert the Noid/flikr

Person talking on phone

“You talking to me” a caption from the NY Times says

I feel when the phone rings it’s something bad. Now that my parents have passed on it rarely rings except with bad news or telemarketing. Even hotels and conferences want registrations to happen on-line. I long for days gone by when one would pick up the phone to plan a get-to-getter rather than email. It’s so much easier to get all the info at once rather than through scattered emails hours or days apart. It’s so nice that while the person is on the line questions would come up that could be answered at the time and not be neglected or avoided altogether. But I know many don’t agree with me. They want the ability to discuss plans at their leisure and when it suits them. Is this the reason for their aversion to using the phone?

There were four letters in this past Sunday’s edition to the New York Times editor about communication by phone. Three of the four were disappointed in how the quality of communication has deteriorated to exclude all phone messages. That phone calls have disappeared and been substituted by emailing or texting, even to the extent that people in one’s work environment and one office cube over will email and not talk. All three were passionate about real communication, real communication including nuance, tenor and tone. They questioned the people who insisted on communicating behind a ‘digital privacy screen’. They said email and texting seemed a tad cowardly: a fear of direct one on one communication where the caller has to actually say something and take part in a dialogue.

Seventies Phone/pipnstuff/flickr

1970's Phone

The one odd ball out said he was starting to feel somewhat strange at his own reluctance to talk on the phone, to call people or pick up calls. “He would wonder why the person is calling and not texting if it’s not an emergency.”He wasn’t up to talking on the phone when it rang.

These letters were a commentary on Pamela Paul’s article in the New York Times last week that apparently ranted on telephone calls. I only get the Sunday edition so missed the actual article but got the gist from the letters to the editor.

I do pick up the phone to talk to my family and sons. I wish that more other people would like to talk to me on the phone. I love a good phone conversation with real nuance, tenor and tone. My BF thinks that when enough people get Skype, there may be a revival of phone conversations

What about you? Do you prefer email over talking on the phone? Why or why not?

Would you rather text than talk?

You are the light of the  world.

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
This entry was posted in blogging, Clara Bowman-Jahn, personal growth, social networking, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to What has Happened to the Telephone?

  1. SuziCate says:

    I am not a big telephone conversationalist…I prefer face to face. given the option of phone convo or text or email, I do prefer phone. Ido have plenty of phone conversations, but I am not one who spends a lot of time there…too many other things to do!

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Thank you for your comment. People do seem busier these days than days gone by. I remember cleaning my whole kitchen while having a phone conversation. I loved multitasking. 🙂

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  2. I have never liked talking on the phone. There is something about it that makes me very uncomfortable.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Thank you for your comment, Bobbi. You are not alone in your discomfort. I wonder why that is? Do you know? I am trying to figure out what happened to the phone. Like someone said “was there a funeral and I missed it?”

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  3. simplytrece says:

    I miss my red rotary-style desk phone. Like you, I happily multi-tasked while chatting, thanks to a 25′ cord. I don’t really like talking on my cell, but it’s my only phone, so. . . My kids text of FB me rather than calling, and they don’t come to visit. Well, my youngest calls me, but her calls are so long they wear me out (chuckle).
    And of course, nobody writes letters or cards anymore. Sigh.
    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my blog. Just in case there was confusion, he’s my daughter’s child. Please pray that God’s will would be done in this situation.
    Yes, you are the light of the world.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Thank you for commenting on this post. I often wonder if it’s generational and then meet someone my age who hates the phone. 🙂 One good thing we can spend the whole day uninterrupted working on our projects. Not knowing the whole story behind your new grand child, I’ll pray he is a blessing.

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  4. nrhatch says:

    It depends. If I need an immediate answer, the phone is nice. If I need to share information with a group of people, I prefer e-mail.

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  5. widdershins says:

    I’ve never been a fan of phones… it seems that there always was this imperative to ANSWER when it rings, no matter what else is happening. A bit like cell phones and texting today really…

    …Before the advent of the internet I loved letter writing… now there were some nuances! … long rambling epistles from friends and family… I use emails to the same effect. I can write them when and as I wish, and the recipient can read them at leisure….

    … for emergencies I will of course use the phone, but I shudder at the thought of ‘tweeting’ even though Ishall probably have to engage with the monster in the near future …

    … something to ponder .. if one sends a tweet via Twitter, is one then deemed a twit?

    P.S. I got my final cover art today. its on my blog… pop on over and have a squiz (Aussie slang for ‘look’)

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    • clarbojahn says:

      First and most important….saw your cover art. Fabulous!!!! And so many congrats on publishing your book and getting a contract! Some how I’ve got my own illustrator and no contract for my book. And I wait weeks inbetween emails. Oh how I long for a phone call!

      About twitter. No you don’t have to answer everytime you tweet. I have automated tweets to go out on schedule and don’t do anything the rest of the week.

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  6. pattyabr says:

    my husband likes to talk to me on the phone. I give him my undivided attention. In person we get distracted with life and the responsibilities of the house that we really don’t fully pay attention to each other. I email because it is a form of multi-tasking we are “communicating” but doing about 5 other things at the same time. Texting, to me, is like passing notes in class. I get to communicate with someone but not disturb them.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      My son taught me how to text but I don’t do it. I see what you mean about passing notes in class. We talk on the phone when he gets off work or on the weekend when he’s in the car. I’m glad you found a way to give your husband your undivided attention. It’s important. I have a lap top so when I email it’s all I do. I can’t multitask and email. You must have a druid phone or something.

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  7. A.M. Kuska says:

    I dread phone calls because if it isn’t a text it’s always bad news.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      It is now. These new brave new days. I still do have nice conversations with members of my family including my sister and sons. I love the personal touch. I’ve come to think of it as a generational thing.

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  8. Pseu says:

    Texting and emailing are less intrusive as the person you are contacting doesn’t have to immediately reply. A phone call can be ignored, but it is a strong person who resists the demand for the receiver to be picked up!

    I feel each has its own place in different circumstances.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      So true. Those are good reasons to email and text. Caller ID has helped me in waiting to answer the phone while eating dinner or when they call too late. I just call them back when I can. 🙂

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