Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Phone calls are dead

At least, according to this New York times article:
"NOBODY calls me anymore — and that’s just fine. With the exception of immediate family members, who mostly phone to discuss medical symptoms and arrange child care, and the Roundabout Theater fund-raising team, which takes a diabolical delight in phoning me every few weeks at precisely the moment I am tucking in my children, people just don’t call....
Whereas people once received and made calls with friends on a regular basis, we now coordinate such events via e-mail or text. When college roommates used to call (at least two reunions ago), I would welcome their vaguely familiar voices. Now, were one of them to call on a Tuesday evening, my first reaction would be alarm. Phone calls from anyone other than immediate family tend to signal bad news."
In some ways more interesting than the article are the comments, which include some agreement:
"I haven't used a phone for casual conversation since the late 90's. Anyone I really want to talk to for more than 5 minutes, I'll spend time with. Texting is efficient and cheap. What's not to love?"
 and some outrage:
"... there is nothing fashionable or stylish about what is a great indication of a society of persons who isolate from one another. This behavior has led to increasing prevalence and incidence of mental health disorders, which cost the country more than we can afford in costs related to treatment and loss of productivity."
The irony of this article for me was that I was monitoring Impact Dialing while reading it and watching as almost half of the dials we made were answered! Apparently more than just a few Luddites still answer their phones. Next post, I'm going to talk about multi-channel fundraising, so I'll leave with this final comment from the New York Times article:
"I think we make a mistake when we presume that our attachment to a particular method of communication is "right" and that others are "wrong" or somehow a dire reflection of societal ill. I work in an industry where I listen to people in person all day and use the phone to make confidential appointments. I text and email family, colleagues and friends. However my cousin works at home exclusively at the computer and in her spare time wants a phone or in person conversation because she has had enough of screens, keyboards and isolation. We have different lives and different needs to balance. That seems okay to me. And great to have the options."