Clive Thompson, a foremost psychoanalyst of our technological hivemind, has a new piece arguing for the end of the phone call as a primary means of day-to-day communication. In fact, the call is already dying.
Because phones don't indicate our status, we have to engage in "a conversation to figure out whether it's OK to have a conversation," and we hate that. So, as soon as we were presented other options -- text and social network messages -- we simply stopped making as many calls as we used to.
As call volumes continue to drop, Thompson predicts, call quality and depth will actually go up. It's a nice spin on what others might have written as a tired lament.
According to Nielsen, the average number of mobile phone calls we make is dropping every year, after hitting a peak in 2007. And our calls are getting shorter: In 2005 they averaged three minutes in length; now they're almost half that.
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.
This generation doesn't make phone calls, because everyone is in constant, lightweight contact in so many other ways: texting, chatting, and social-network messaging. And we don't just have more options than we used to. We have better ones: These new forms of communication have exposed the fact that the voice call is badly designed. It deserves to die.
Read the full story at Wired.