The Steady Decline of Phone Talk

Maybe you’ve noticed it. On a planet of ever- increasing emails, texts and tweets, voice-to-voice communication via landline, cell and smart phones is in steep decline and perhaps on death watch.

“Nobody calls me anymore,” writes Pamela Paul in the September issue of Reader’s Digest, “and that’s just fine.”

Of course, Paul phone talks with her husband, mom, dad and the babysitter. But that’s about it. She doesn’t think she’s alone and cites Nielsen Media to make her point. People are spending considerably less on cell plans and more on texting.

Some numbers:

  • 27% of adults don’t have a landline
  • 23% are likely to give up their landline soon
  • 40% of smart-phone users would pay to have voice mails transcribed into emails

As Paul writes, Judith Martin (Miss Manners) is now happier. “I’ve been hammering away at this for decades,” Martin said. “The telephone has a very rude propensity to interrupt people.”

Maybe a new saying is on the horizon: “Don’t call me. I won’t call you.”


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