If we’re not talking on cell phones then what are we doing?

For the first time ever, the amount of data – text, e-mails, videos, music and other services – has surpassed the amount of voice data.  “Originally, talking was the only cellphone application.  But now it’s less than half of the traffic on mobile networks,” says Dan Hesse, chief executive of Sprint Nextel.  In the past year the number of text messages sent has increased nearly 50% per user and the average local call length has dropped to 1.81 min, compared to 2.27 in 2008 (via nytimes.com).

So, what has caused this change?  In my opinion, there are a couple of reasons that have led to this change:

1) Accessibility. Everyone is now online all the time.  By tweeting, texting, or e-mailing you can talk to multiple people at a time, thus saving you – and the people you’re communicating with – time.

2) Intrusiveness. Calling someone seems much more intrusive then sending an e-mail or a tweet.  It allows people to respond when it is convenient for them, and does not impose of anyone’s schedule.

2) Devices. It can take 2 to 3 steps to make a phone call on a cell phone these days.  Smart phones with qwerty pads and touch-screens make it much easier (and more preferable) to send an email or text.

So next time you reach in your pocket to grab your phone stop and take a minute to think: what are you using your phone for?


    Long Bottom Leaf |

    Thank you for this insightful evolution in communication. I have included this post with my own blog that looks at Facebook, and the implications it and other technologies have for damaging human relationships.