30 thoughts on “Why We Never Talk Anymore”

  1. Interesting and the exact opposite of what we are seeing with our NRI customers. As the cost of calling India keeps getting cheaper, we have seen the number of minutes our customers spend calling India increase from 600 to 1000+ minutes a month over the last 3-4 years.

    I am sure there are plenty of demos where the number of minutes used a month keeps dropping, but voice is not dead everywhere. Plenty of people would rather make a phone call especially while on the go. About 80% of international traffic into India goes to mobile phones, and most of that originates from mobiles on the other end.

    Give your mom a call Om, I bet she misses hearing your voice!

    1. That happens there because India is behind the curve. People in countries where mobile calls have been available for more than a decade are starting to find more efficient ways to communicate.

      1. Lucian – India is behind the curve on what? Texting/SMS was more prevalent in India even before it was in US. And India had the advantage of jumping to GSM even before it had wide-spread adoption in US. I think what Chris is reflecting is even more deep-seated. Yes – when you talk back home – especially parents – you call, not text!

        On a broader note … there is an opportunity to organize the text messages on the phones – as messages increases the likely hood of missing them increases significantly

  2. Good points and fair observation. I don’t text message much but I do most of my on-the-go communication through Google Voice (integrated through a Chrome extension and my Nexus One) and through email/google talk mostly.

    I would be curious, though, what your total talk time looks like when you add your cell phone minutes + nights and weekends + Skype (ie. total talk time). I rarely use my cell phone during the day as I talk to people with Skype or in person, so my cell phone is more often used during nights and weekends so I seldom use all of my 500 whenever minutes on T-Mobile.

  3. Your article reminded me of my childhood days growing up in Fiji, I remember in order to call relatives in USA and Canada, we had to place the call with the local run telephone provider who would then call us back anywehre from a few minutes to as long as an hour to connect the other party abroad. Back then Fiji did not have direct dial facilities.
    Wow, we have come a long way and we now have many different ways to communicate, Like you, I also drop text message to friends instead of calling just to see what they are up to and to catch up with them

  4. I find it interesting that even if we wanted to talk on the phone, people with AT&T in San Francisco and New York can’t even do so on their mobile. I agree that voice calls are less important today, but with today’s technology shouldn’t the networks be strong enough to make a call? With video chat being the next big thing, we really need to work on infrastructure to make sure we can handle the many different modes of communication.

    1. Hi jennalanger, when was the last time you used AT&T in New York? I use an iPhone and work in Midtown Manhattan and never drop calls, also data speeds have increased greatly recently, please check your facts before making blanket statements.

      Take care……

  5. now when we no longer need them we finally get widespread availability of unlimited calling plans. so i suppose if we cut back on our data consumption we will get unlimited data as well?

  6. It’s an ever shifting landscape.

    I find myself making more SKYPE calls from my laptop, than voice calls from my mobile (no landline). Now, as my mobile has more VOIP options, I may start using it for voice again (and, reducing text messaging).

    “Video” is really “voice” with a picture. It’s enhanced voice and may signal a return to spoken communication (with an image to accompany it).

    Between VOIP and Video; as well as more Speech Recognition apps, that return us to speaking to our phones, it may be that there is a wild swing back to Voice. That said, the generation coming up (12-24) are so accustomed to Text based communication, they may never experience actual conversational engagement with their mobile. Sadly, they’ll lose a range of social skills in the process.

    1. I use the iPhone (without SIM) and Skype over WiFi (sometimes over Sprint 3G MiFi) for calls. I admit, not as often, but that is a good way to not open the laptop 🙂

  7. Love the article. Mobile trends have always piqued my interest. However, I am not sure text can ever capture the emotions of voice. I find myself in many occasions where a text conversation can turn awry when you think you are describing feelings adequately but the person you are texting does not understand the emotion you are trying to get across… Emoticons and smileys can only go so far in simulating emotion…

  8. I completely agree. Text frees up the time for multi-tasking, and we’re almost always in the midst of doing something. You text, then sit back and continue with what you’re working on knowing you’ll get a reply later on. We rely so much more on text, instant messaging, emails and updates to get our messages across. A phone call these days amounts to something more immediate than texting, say, when you’re picking your friend up for lunch and you call to say, “Hey, I’m downstairs.” And even then, sometimes you’d just text that message, and then surf facebook on your device while you wait.

  9. All this shows is that text messages are popular with kids. Duh! Take out text an everybody talks about as much as everybody else with younger people talking more ran older people. Duh! This all means what?

  10. Om

    Very insightful post and fortelling. That the mortals rely on Facebook, Twitter, texting or on VOIP providers for most voice needs should strike cold steel into traditional carriers and prosumer voice providers.
    Where do you think this trend would leave the traditional voice companies including enterprise voice?

  11. This chart certainly reflects the usage differences between myself, a 44 year old woman, and my 19 year old daughter. She texts a lot…in order to go and spend time with her friends. I don’t have the same freedom to party to all hours so phone time is used to keep up with friends during the week. Another commenter pointed out it would be interesting if night and weekend minutes were reflected, that is the more telling usage indicator I believe, par in this chart particularly if you are interested in my actual cell use once I leave the office and this nice landline on my desk.

  12. I’ve found that email has been the real (gradual) killer of voice calls in the workplace, more so than SMS. When I first started work a decade ago, the phone rang non-stop and email was easily manageable. Nowadays, the office phone barely rings at all and the stream of email never stops. Most of my colleagues and clients use email for pretty much every kind of communication, and only use the phone when a real urgency or emergency arises (and even then, they try IM first if that’s an option).

    One side-effect is that this forces people to consider their words more carefully. You can deny having said something in a private conversation, but email (and SMS) creates a permanent record of every word you say….I’m not sure if this makes us more honest, or less so.

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