Smartphones killed the art of conversations


Ever wondered how many calls you receive or you make in a day, week, month or a year. You are likely to find out that you have made very few calls and vice versa.

The question then would be, why the decrease in incoming as well as outgoing calls. The patterns of communication have changed over the years. The way we interact and conduct our conversations has changed mainly due to the internet and smartphones use.

Research has shown that we have become a generation addicted to smartphones but are repelled by the idea of making or taking voice calls.

The question then would be, Is this the death of conversation? Not quite, but it’s certainly more than a blip in the cultural history of communication. Analysing the annual reports by POTRAZ from 2017, the trend shows a tremendous decrease in the number of voice calls on all the mobile operators in the country.

Meanwhile, internet addiction keeps growing, presumably because we haven’t quite worked out what to do with all those hours we’re saving on talking.

Due to massive developments in technologies, many adults especially in towns own a smartphone, and we check them on average every 12 minutes. That adds up to 24 hours a week online via our phones much of that time swallowed up by modern-style chat on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, with some left over for texting. It has taken a toll on talking, sure, but few smartphone users might claim to feel less connected as a result.

 Conversation is delightful, but unsaid rules for how and when it happens have been established collectively over the past decade or so. It’s like No one except your mum or someone asking about an accident you were never in just calls these days.

Some people will text to warn of a call, others will hold a conversation by swapping voice notes back and forth. Mostly youth nowadays use the voice memo function on WhatsApp as a sort of Dictaphone to “talk in turns” rather than hold “a live conversation”.

Many of us can agree that voicemail, as a concept, is dead literally, anyone listening to or leaving one has arguably too much time and too little regard for the recipient. Who likes listening to voicemails anyways? The menu, the navigation, the unnecessary news that an energy service provider has been in touch to offer you a different electricity package.

In this generation and time real talk is now at a minimum thus conversations had migrated to Messenger. Typing your talk officially has taken over.

Now, the idea of ringing someone for “a chat” has a quaint, retro quality. The scenario these days is like I can, and will, talk you under the table, but phone calls are a luxury usually reserved for about five people: maybe your mum, sister, two best friends and your boss, obviously.

Much is made about smartphones leading to dumber conversation   amid claims that the art of chatter has been lost. Arguably, however, conversation has simply been rebooted and reconfigured. Take the myriad ways in which we can and do communicate now. It’s  given that we will spend an embarrassing portion of my day glued to a screen (it’s work!) and much of that will be chatting (again, it’s work!).

However most people use WhatsApp for one-on-one conversations but we think the best way is to conduct group chats, the family thread, your best friends, the meme crew, and the splinter cells set up around someone’s birthday drinks. It’s here that modern comms can be richer, and smooth out awkward conversational lags and silences, the speed of a group chat, the ability to send pictures, links, songs, videos and emojis.


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