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Opening Arguments

What's that funny buzzing sound?

An interesting piece on the death of the phone call:

Most people now communicate by text or other types of messaging. In fact less than half of all Britons surveyed made a single call a day. By comparison young Americans send 88 text messages a day, a trend that if anything, is growing with each passing day.

But if the practice of “ringing people up” is falling prey to the changing habits of the young, it is withering among the politically powerful for a different reason. It is declining because of the increasing difficulty of sealing a deal by achieving agreement within a small circle. The conference call — the successor of the smoke filled room of the 19th century — can’t cut it any more. The accusation that Ted Cruz has killed the dialog between the political parties with his incendiary attack on Obamacare obscures the fact that the telephone deal has been declining for a long time in this age of diminished consensus.

I'm amazed at how much texting has entered my life and how it's changed the way I communicate with people. My sister in Indy and I still talk by phone almost every day, but if one of us has a quick question or observation for the other, we just text it. My brother in Texas and I talk less often, but because of texting we're never really out of touch. A friend and I used to spend loads of time on the phone with each other, but now we mostly text.

I guess the overall effect of texting is that I communicate more often with the people in my circle, but the communication is becoming gradually less personal. A phone conversation requires a give-and-take between the callers that sometims takes the conversation to places neither could have imagined. When I text, it's mostly about me, and it's the same for the texter on the other end. The linked article talks about our "diminished consenssus" fostering an atmosphere conducive to texting, but I think it works the other way, too. Our increasing reliance on texting will contribute more to our diminished consensus.

Oh, and love this from the piece:

Dana Brownlee, a corporate trainer based in Atlanta, says the issue of phone aversion frequently comes up in her project management training sessions. One of her clients, a manager at a large utility company, recently had to teach his young employee what a dial tone was and explain that desktop phones don’t require you to press “Send.”