On The Beat 12/15/15

Does anyone talk on the telephone anymore?

By Jim Bucher

While chatting on the phone with my boss, confidant, soothsayer, guidance counselor, psychologist and all around great guy Dayton City Paper publisher Paul Noah, the subject came up of actually talking on the telephone.
“No one does, but I prefer it,” says Noah.
I’ll admit I’m not a big telephone talker, especially when a text can sum up everything in a sentence or two. But he’s right. There’s nothing like hearing a voice on the other end of Alexander Graham Bell’s invention.
Back in the day I can recall taking a car trip to outside of Detroit to visit a buddy’s older brother. My mom insisted that I check in with her and dad at every rest area pay phone along the way. “I want to hear your voice,” she’d say.
Boy, have things changed. Today, phones are used for everything but talking.
Wait, hear that sound? It’s Mr. Bell rolling in his grave.
Statistics bear this out. It seems the older you are the more you prefer actually talking. Younger folks, not so much. It’s all about sharing pictures, videos and posts.
So what are we missing by not talking? Plenty, say most experts.
A friend of mine who is a child psychologist says that interaction with a live voice is crucial for interpersonal skills. Kids nowadays won’t have that. It is bad enough we don’t meet in person for a conversation, even worse if you’re not talking on the telephone, but rather texting.
New information has been released about how we used our cell phones, smartphones and mobile devices in 2013. Some of the stats show a clear move among the average cell user towards it being their primary gaming, internet and communication device.
Ya think?
According to the Pew Research folks from surveys done in 2013 (most of which has probably since changed dramatically), 97 percent of adults have a cell phone. Of these, 56 percent of those phones are considered smartphones. The cellular phone is the most quickly adopted technology in history. Cell phones are seen as key to actively participating in your community. God forbid you’d attend a neighborhood meeting. Twenty-nine percent of users describe their phone as something they “can’t live without.” Nine percent used their phone to contribute to charity. Thirty-four percent of all users are “mobile only,” meaning they use only their mobile devices and have no other computer or telephone.
As technology continues to improve, the use and saturation of cell phones and their users continues to change drastically. The increase over the last 10 years has been incredible, and the way we use our phones to stay connected and informed continues to change, but the bottom line is talking on the phone is down.

The survey continues to say that Americans average 13 talking hours a month—with the 18-24 age group averaging a mere nine hours. I find that high.
Thirteen percent of users surveyed pretended to be using their phone in order to avoid social interaction. Forty-two percent of people have used their phone for entertainment when they are bored. Fifty-one percent of users used their cell phone at least once to get information. Bet it’s not calling 411 though. Gosh those folks have got to be lonely. Twenty-seven percent said they had trouble doing something because they did not have their phone. Twenty-nine percent turn off their phones to take a break from their digital life at night. That I’ve done many times.
Onward with the statistics.
Cell phone usage in the U.S. has increased from 34 million to 203 million in the last 10 years.
There is an estimated two billion cell phones worldwide, which means about 4.5 billion people go without.
Cell phones are ranked as the one invention that people hate the most, but can’t live without. It beat out the alarm clock and the television!
Another study said 83 percent said using a cell phone made life easier (choosing it over the internet). And 38 percent of people thought it was ok to use a cell phone in the bathroom. Now that’s sorta’ gross.
But back to talking, just check your recent cell phone bill and examine how much talking you do as opposed to texting. As one of my dear friends said, “I hate my cell phone, but love it too.” Can we have it both ways?
So, Paul if you need to get a hold of me, give me a call, leave a message and I’ll text you back.


For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com

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Jim Bucher
For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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