Has Talking On A Cell Phone Become A Taboo?

When was the last time you had a lengthy chat with someone on the phone? A few weeks? Months? Years, even? Well, if it’s been a while, you can rest assured that you are not the only one. But it should make us wonder if the the future of one-on-one communication will rest solely on our thumbs.

You’ve probably seen teens and adults alike texting away on their phones. It’s seemingly an infectious, zombie-like trend. They text while in school (unproductive, I know). They text while in the movie theaters (annoying, I know). They text while driving (dangerous, I know).

They are taking over!


It’s amazing how when looking at purchasing a cell phone nowadays, the call quality and the ability to easily place a call has taken a back seat (or it might no longer even be a consideration) to features like texting, social networking, and Internet browsing on a phone.

The statistics back this up too. In 2008, the average talk time on a phone was a paltry 2.27 minutes, yet it was further shortened in 2009 with an average 1.81 minutes of talk time, according to CTIA. (It makes me wonder if anyone, with the exception of business accounts, ever actually come close to using all those voice minutes they purchase.)

This has essentially resulted in people using their phones for data more than voice communication.

But what about talking? The expression and spontaneity that a phone call offers just isn’t matched with a text message. In a phone call, you are forced to think on your feet, with the subtle pressure of expressing yourself on the spot always lingering.

You don’t get that with texting. You get all the time in the world to craft the perfect response, and there is no deadline on when it must be delivered. You can take all the time in the world. To many, though, this is a big appeal for texting. But to others, it can feel like a road to a more anti-social culture.

So in the future, when someone wants to talk to a stranger, is that person going to look the other person up on FourSquare, see if he or she checked in, message that person on there, and then, after all that, start talking face-to-face? (Actually, it wouldn’t shock me if this has already been done.)

It’s an extreme example, but it is something worth thinking about.

Why Text?

The thought of us all increasingly suffering from ADHD could point towards the popularity of texting. It’s simple. It’s convenient. It’s on our own time. And we have control of the flow of information.

But it could also be the case of people having nothing to say. People have had a tendency to dismiss talking, preferring to keep quiet. Instead of chatting it up, some would prefer to text it up.

VentureBeat also brought up the idea that bad call quality could be to blame. Ironically enough, I have noticed that the voice quality on cell phones has increasingly diminished. I can’t go through a phone conversation without having to ask someone to repeat something several times per phone call, even in relatively short conversations as well.

But regardless of the reasoning, it is obvious that the world wants things in smaller, easily digestible chunks. This is exactly why Twitter is such a hit with people in general. And considering that Twitter was created to utilize SMS and texting protocols on cell phones, it makes sense that texting is as popular as ever too.

Let’s Talk

Now some will argue that this whole texting thing isn’t an issue at all. After all, people are more connected than ever, especially with social networks like Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, and others. This increased texting trend has also been argued to improve literacy and writing skills as well.

And, in truth, texting isn’t a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it is great. There are certain times when texting is the perfect form of communication.

But it’s nice to hear a voice once in awhile, right?

I don’t think the world needs to stop everything, pick up the phone, and call everyone on their contact list to make it right. But I do think would be a good idea to try and talk to people on the phone more often, instead of sending them a text. It certainly couldn’t hurt. Also, what else are you going to do with all those voice minutes you pay for? Waste them?

It just feels as if everyone wants to text, tweet, e-mail, or even Facebook, instead of talking on a cell phone. Can’t we just… you know… talk?

So tell us, do you text more than you talk on the phone? Or is talking doomed in the future? Leave a comment and let us know!

By James Mowery

James Mowery is a passionate technology journalist and entrepreneur who has written for various top-tier publications like Mashable and CMSWire. Follow him on Twitter: @JMowery.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *