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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Peak Telephony - why voice has to be about more than phone calls

This thread is from my Facebook page. The original poster is a 23yo friend, others range up to about 40-45yo. I thought it was worth a post as it highlights the reason why re-organising a trillion-dollar industry about something as near-obsolete as the 100-year old "phone call" is so dangerous.

[Note: I don't know "Samuel" who defends the phone call, but by an interesting coincidence there's someone on LinkedIn who's a "technology analyst" with the same age & academic background].

Ruth: Am I alone in really not liking talking on the phone? Or am I a bit weird? It's just that someone phoning you on a mobile is a bit like someone leaping into the middle of your room yelling "Talk to me! Drop everything you are doing and talk to me RIGHT NOW! Talk to me!"

Samuel:  No different to a Facebook update

Scott: I like voicemail. My phone is for me to talk to people when i want to. Not for them to bug me at their leisure.

Ruth: Totally is, and to a text message. Those I can ignore and deal with at my leisure.

Matt: ‎*nods* Asynchronous communication FTW!

Samuel:  You can ignore the phone call too. No-one is making you answer it, it's just that the alert is a little longer. You obtain and deal with the information at a later date, just like with a text, except that rather than opening, reading and replying to a text, you're calling, listening and replying to a contact. Or opening, listening to a voicemail, and then calling back.

Dan: I totally agree with your aversion to phone calls. I used to think it was all talking to someone and not being able to see their expression but now I realise it's the inherent guilt that I'm busy doing something else at the same time as talking. Somehow it's fine to chat to someone face to face but it's impossible to talk on the phone without needing something else to do. Which is why Skype is evil - they can see what you are doing!!

Ruth: Sam, on a day when I am clearly very irritable anyway, do you have to make everything an argument? I was clearly just asking for a little light moral support for my stance, not a serious debate.

Fleur: Totally agree. People should ask for permission by text or email before calling.

Alex: I HATE talking to people on the phone. I can't see their expressions, and my own voice sounds so droning, and my gesticulations are wasted, and I get distracted so easily and my eye wanders to a book or something and then I lose track of the conversation and get flustered, and the horrible nagging ring just breaks in on life demanding to be heard, usually when I'm busy. Aaargh. I can talk to close family (who I can read even without expressions) while walking at night when there's not a lot to see or in Camden where there's a lot I don't want to see, but beyond that, ugh. I usually leave my phone off, or 'forget' to charge it, or 'mislay' it. Currently, I'm not entirely sure where it is, and suspect that it may be out of charge.

Ruth: I wish I could do that with my phone but it's also my texting device and I'm a very happy and regular texter. Is there a way to just "accidentally" turn off the phone part of an iphone? But not leave it permanently unserviceable in case I need to phone utilities to yell at them or etcetera (which rules out just smashing the microphone unfortunately)



Sami said...

I would have to agree that phone calls are increasingly irrelevant, which is a small part of why Nokia lost its way some years ago - they were disparaging the iPhone etc because they were "poor phones"; and they were right, they're not particularly great _phones_. But they completely missed that that's not what people use them for.

Me, I've never really liked phone calls. Not 20 years ago, when communication was handled by IRC, not 10 years ago when it was SMS, not today when it's iMessage/Skype/FB/etc.

But maybe I'm just a weird outlier ;)

Anonymous said...

Ruth -- Unconditional call forwarding (*21*voicemail_messaging_number#) has been my best friend in the past 14 years. The conditional Cfwd was even better but my Canadian GSM carrier removed the function a couple of years ago... Very useful when you are roaming, too. And when my wife wants to call me, she just sends me a SMS to call back or uses Viber for iPhone.