Hello, Who Is This?

Fascinating to consider:

In the moment when a phone rang, there was an imperative. One had to pick up the phone. This thinking permeated the culture from adults to children. In a Hello Kitty segment designed to teach kids how the phone worked, Hello Kitty is playing when the phone starts to ring. “It’s the phone. Yay!” she says. “Mama! Mama! The telephone is ringing. Hurry! They are gonna hang up.”

I personally hate the phone part of my smartphone. I’d rather not have it at all, most days. 9 out of 10 calls that I can are robocalls, spam, people who accidentally dialed me or folks who have the number from a previous owner. Maybe 99 out of 100… what a waste.

And when I get a call I freeze and become anxious, which is the exact opposite emotion that we used to get. Instead of surprise and excitement it’s dread.

I wonder if the same thing will happen to text messages… wait, that’s already happened as well. The same thing happened to Twitter and most of the other social media “updates” that we used to get.

Remember the feeling the first time you got your first unaffiliated reply or mention or retweet on Twitter? It was glorious… until, it wasn’t. And then you hated it.

No one picks up the phone anymore. Even many businesses do everything they can to avoid picking up the phone. Of the 50 or so calls I received in the last month, I might have picked up four or five times. The reflex of answering—built so deeply into people who grew up in 20th-century telephonic culture—is gone.

It is gone… and what else will be “gone” is an interesting thing to think about. The only constant is truly change.

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