So, I’ve been thinking.
Last night I called my mom. That in itself isn’t out of the ordinary–my mom and I chat on the phone a few times a week. I call her to tell her about my day and catch up on the family news.
After I got off the phone with her, I sat for a minute and realized: my mom is the only person I call “just to talk”. Sometimes we talk for 2 minutes, sometimes it’s closer to an hour. But aside from calling her, and the occasional check-in with the Hubster if we haven’t seen each other all day, I rarely use my phone to, you know, phone people.
I’ve been thinking about this off and on for a while now–and actually a good friend of mine brought it up a couple of weeks ago when we last talked.
So, I got to wondering: do people still talk on the phone?
Flashback 10 (eek!) years ago: I’m 17, and personal cell phones were just becoming popular. It was super cool if you had a cell phone, but it was totally normal if you didn’t. My friends and I went to school during the day, played sports or worked part-time jobs before dinner, then the evening was phone time. Each night I’d spend 1 – 2 hours on the phone chatting with people I had just seen at school a few hours earlier, or I’d be on the phone with my friends from up north that I missed terribly after my big move. Often I was on the phone and on MSN at the same time–how’s that for multi-tasking?
Back then, we weren’t debating politics or work, we simply… talked. We rehashed our day, talked about TV, music, boys, hopes and dreams. It was nothing to be on the phone for an hour or two at a time.
Now? I find it’s sometimes difficult to be on the phone with someone for more than 10 minutes.
So what changed?
I think ICQ and MSN were the start of a major shift in the way we use the phone. Suddenly having a conference call with 3 people was not nearly as exciting as being able to chat with 10 people at the same time on the computer.
Then cell phones blew up in a major way. At first it was even more convenient to call my friends as I could do it any time, from any where. Then as texting became a big thing, I found that I could say what I needed to even if I was in a place where calling wasn’t optimal (like from a lecture hall. Texting in class? Don’t I yell at my students for that? Oops).
Slowly but surely I found that the amount of time I used my phone for actually calling people dwindled until it was just me and my mom.
Sometimes I miss it.I miss curling up on the couch with an enormous portable phone, calling someone just to talk. No agenda, no multi-tasking. Just catching up.
I still have one amazing friend who I can always count on for a fabulous phone conversation. I don’t feel like she is preoccupied by the things she should be doing around her her apartment while we talk–she calls for that purpose. I am bad and don’t call her nearly as often as I should, but when we do catch up it’s always fabulous.
But other than that, I find I primarily use my phone for the data plan, and use far more texts, Facebook messages and emails to connect with people than I do the phone itself.
So I can’t help but wonder… is a good conversation on the phone a dying art?