Phones are Dead! Long Live the Phones!

I’ve written about the death of email for personal communication, while business email has been unaffected. I’ve discussed how we’ve shifted personal email into something more functional through spam that we opt into willingly as consumers. Still thought something is amiss. There are now more ways to communicate than ever before, but for both personal and business communication, there can be only one king and, believe it or not, that king is the phone.

The phone has had an interesting near death experience lately for two reasons. First, some still hold onto classic landline telephones, but others literally cut the cord and just keep to their cell phones. The second death comes in the form of texting and the multitude of other messaging apps out there.

The biggest problem with messaging apps is that there is little to no standardization, so your circle of friends need to all use the same app or you are stuck using multiple apps. Nothing like the standard platform is email, however, we’ve already determined that email for personal communication is dead. Texting is good for instant communication and it is fairly standard, but it still has more in common with email than the phone. It relies on a sender and a receiver, back and forth. Texts could go unanswered for days. The other problem is that inflections and intentions are lost, just like with email.

With the phone, you have instant communication, period. The phone also allows you to catch inflections in the voice, leading to intention. There’s also a convenience factor to the phone that is lost when something like video is added. The phone is truly the real-time communication you crave because it hits that sweet spot between real-time communication, ease of use and contextual audio cues.

So, why don’t we use it more?

To some extent, the phone also has the same problem as personal email. It became the source of a lot of spam. Things got so bad, the government stepped in with the Do Not Call list, which is almost like a nationwide spam filter. If only telephone companies had the foresight to predict and design spam filtering on phones, they could’ve made a fortune.

Another problem similar to email is something that is self-inflicted. With the advent of Caller ID, it became easy to ignore spammers, but also people you know. You could just ignore them unless it is convenient. Oddly enough, technology has enabled us to be introverts through our fear of what’s on the other side of that communication. When someone calls, we know that person wants something. We assign a value to the caller’s potential ‘ask’ against all the other stuff we have going on. If the value is low, we simply avoid the call.

What a sad state we’re in!

We shouldn’t be afraid of what’s on the other end of that call or assigning these arbitrary values. Instead, shift your mind into opportunity mode – maybe whatever is on the other end of that phone call is something amazing that can help your career or your life. Even better, maybe the person’s ‘ask’ of you will be advice that will help them grow or make their life better.

Here’s my challenge: Think before you have to communicate and try using the phone instead of your normal method. Do this for one month to see what happens.

I’d love to hear what happens in that month, so feel free to post it in the comments below!