From the very beginning, cell phones redefined how we communicate with others. No longer are we tied to a land line if we want to talk to our family without actually paying a visit. With a cell phone, you can talk to almost anyone from anywhere at any time.
But it didn't stop there. More recent changes have turned cell phones into mobile offices, giving us the ability to text message, email, browse the Web and virtually anything you can do from a standard computer from anywhere that has decent data coverage. The downside is that it has turned us into screen-staring zombies who are attached to our devices, constantly checking them throughout the day, even when there's no reason to.
With today's cell phones, there are literally hundreds of different ways to communicate. And in recent years, some methods have clearly taken precedence over others. Voice calling, for instance, has largely been replaced by text messaging and other data-powered services. And with over 800 million users (likely including most of your friends), Facebook has become a viable communication service as well. Instant messaging has also made a resurgence with the rise of the smartphone.
Point being, with so many different options and routes to take to get in touch with someone through a smartphone, people are going to grow preferences. Some may prefer dialing a friend up and chatting for a more personal conversation, or to get more information across a bit quicker. Others may favor instant messaging so they can carry on a conversation throughout the day or as they are able to reply. Some will use both evenly while the rest might be a little more radical about it.
I, for one, primarily use instant and text messaging. Well, and Twitter. And quite honestly, there is nothing I hate more than having to drop everything to take a phone call. Period. At least 90 percent of the time or more, text messaging is more efficient – for me at least. I only call someone or tell someone to call me if it's a last resort and SMS simply won't cut it. There are, however, times when making a call is simply more appropriate – like when I need to call and discuss a few things with the boss or when there is a time-sensitive matter that can't stand to be miscommunicated through a few, short back and forth messages.
But I have friends who literally will not answer the phone ... for anyone. Ever. You can call them and they will either ignore it or just let it ring until their voicemail kicks in. Almost immediately after you hang up (I never leave voicemails), you'll get a text message from them reading, "What's up?" To be perfectly honest, I'm guilty of this at times, too. If someone calls me too often (and continually interrupts me while I'm writing) or is notorious for calling for a quick question and easily gets derailed and drifts off into a long rant about why their day has been amazing, I will just ignore the call and text them right away.
My mother, on the other hand, will call nine times out of 10, even for a simple, quick question. When I tell her, "Text me when you find out," I will almost always get a call back from her within five or 10 minutes. It's not that I don't like talking to her on the phone. I don't like talking to anyone on the phone. It takes too long and there is usually pointless pre-conversation banter that always has to happen because it's "the way it's supposed to be," the way we've been taught to talk on the phone.
The only problem I ever run into with text and instant messaging is how impatient it makes me (and everyone else). While on a phone call, you will almost always get a response right away – which is about the only plus. It can take several minutes, days or even weeks to get a response to a text message. (Yet it always seems as if someone is there to fuss if you do drop everything and reply immediately.)
Nonetheless, I would still prefer to text or instant message over anything else. It's not nearly as disruptive as having to drop everything I am doing to answer a phone call, which will only wait for four rings. For a text message, though, I can wait for a good stopping point to take a few seconds and reply; thus, they don't break my concentration and we get along much better.
How do you prefer to communicate, readers? Do you prefer calling people? Text messaging? Or something else? Do you find voice calls to be disruptive and drawn out? Give us your thoughts below!