Goodbye to the telephone?


I remember the day the mimeo machine gave way to the Xerox copier.  And now disappearing with that blue ink comes another relic of the baby boomers;  the telephone.

I knew it was coming.  Honestly though, I read this recent NY Times piece , Don’t Call Me, I Will Call You with mixed emotion. The basic premise is that the telephone is dead.  Pamela Paul writes,

“It’s at the point where when the phone does ring — and it’s not my mom, dad, husband or baby sitter — my first thought is: “What’s happened? What’s wrong?” My second thought is: “Isn’t it weird to just call like that? Out of the blue? With no e-mailed warning?”

Her point is well taken.  We do communicate through email, text and social networking.  When we do choose to talk on the phone, it may be to clear up a misunderstood email or to handle a more complex matter. It is common for us to make appointments for phone calls so we avoid the inevitable telephone tag. I learned this technique from introverted pros who are well prepared for those phone calls when they do occur.

The smart phone now bridges our voices so not all hope is lost for this type of connection. In a world where we are  literally tethered to our machines, it is important to be able to read each other behind the lines. How else might I find out that we are both totally confused about the latest company directive? How can I hear your perceptions about our newest customer and learn about what makes you tick?

So before we say good-bye, let’s look at how we can still use the telephone as one tool among many. It is not ready for the dump just yet, is it?


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