I think I have had a love-hate relationship with my cell phone… well since I first got a cell phone in the year 1999 or thereabouts, but especially since I got my first smartphone – the Handspring (later Palm) Treo 300 – a couple of years later. Once I could start receiving e-mail on a mobile device, I pretty much stopped making or taking phone calls from it.
And generally speaking, I am far more “e-mail compliant’ these days than I am reachable by phone. I mean, the surest way to not hear back from me is to leave a message on my home answering machine – since there’s no way for me to make a record of that message on any other platform I monitor. Leaving a message on my mobile is the second best way to not hear back from me. But sending an e-mail is the absolute most certain way to get a response (eventually).
So I found it pretty interesting when WIRED columnist Clive Thompson recently commented on the demise of the mobile phone call:
We’re moving, in other words, toward a fascinating cultural transition: the death of the telephone call. This shift is particularly stark among the young. Some college students I know go days without talking into their smartphones at all. I was recently hanging out with a twentysomething entrepreneur who fumbled around for 30 seconds trying to find the option that actually let him dial someone.
I guess I just find it comforting when somebody suggests that some behavior pattern that my contemporaries might find “anti-social” is in fact entirely consistent with the way the youngsters are doing things nowadays (although it does make me wonder how much longer I can remain ahead of my time…).