Monday, January 26, 2009

changing phone times

I've been thinking about the whole phone thing and how it has changed in my lifetime.I think as technology has progressed so has our levels of rudeness when it comes to the phone.

As a teenager we didn't have cordless phones--so if I wanted to have a private conversation I usually ended up in the bathroom around the corner from the kitchen with the cord stretched just as far as it could go. I also couldn't just hang out on the phone all night--especially if someone else was out--because they might need to call for a ride....then came call waiting.

Call waiting seemed like a good idea at the time--but it was the start of the slippery slope into selective rudeness that currently exists with phone usage. It was good in that you didn't have to stay off the phone--but if you were in the middle of a conversation you now had to interrupt the person you were talking to and answer--because you never knew if the person on the other end was more important--and if they were you dropped the person you were talking to first.

Then came answering machines--again a good idea to begin with. It used to be that if someone called and your phone was busy or you were not home the person who was trying to get a hold of you would call until they actually reached a human being, and if the correct person was not home a message would be taken, a number would be given. We can't even it kids to write down who it was let alone a number since we have caller id, Now days--we call at times when we know that someone will not be present just so we can leave a message--put the ball in their court so to speak. Now we have the responsibility of checking our messages and returning calls--even if we don't have the time.

And then came caller ID--sometimes known as selective pick-up . We can all look at who is calling and decide if we want to talk to that person--or perhaps have them leave a message. No more playing Russian roulette with the phone--taking your chances that it is someone that you have no desire to speak with.

Now people don't even have home phones anymore. I am a hold out. As long as i can afford it I will have a phone in my home. We all know my history of phone problems and my ability to lose phones--so i figure as long as it is attached to the wall i will always know where one phone is...

I also find it interesting that with all the phones that kids have, they actually don't talk anymore. It is all about the texting. I guess i am old fashioned because i would rather call someone and talk to them to actually communicate. That is not the case with the younger generation. They think texting IS communicating. It drives me crazy. So many things can and are misconstrued with written communication. You can not tell the attitude or intent of the person--are they trying to be funny, or perhaps sarcastic or just plain rude? The kids argue by text--everything is immediate. When we would get in arguments in school we would have to wait till the next class period to pass a note along...and if your paths did not immediately cross it might actually be an hour or two for the response--none of this instant gratification. Plus we included in depth opinions and punctuation--emotions drawn in pictures.I understand the draw but i think we are doing a real dis-service to the way we communicate.

Do you think Alexander Graham Bell had any clue how far our ability to communicate would change from his first phone. And really with all of the "improvements" are we really communicating that much better or are we just more lazy at it....

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