Mobile phones just keep getting smarter and smarter, but the more features they offer, it seems the less likely we are to use our mobiles for their core function – actually making phone calls.
According to a report published by Ofcom, Brits are more likely to send a text message than make a mobile phone call on any given day.
As we keep tapping away on our touchscreens and keypads, are we losing the art of the catch-up call?
The young tap but don’t yak
Ofcom’s findings suggest that those aged 16-24 were far more likely to send a text than make a phone call. While 96% of younger respondents to the survey used some form of text-based communication every day (an SMS, email, social networking message or mobile communication app), just 67% made a phone call every day.
And it’s not just the young – the Ofcom report shows that not only has there been a 10% drop in landline phone use, but for the first time ever, there’s been a fall in the overall volume of mobile phone calls made across the UK in 2011.
The volume’s only down by 1% from the previous year, but this has traditionally been a figure that has always grown from one year to the next, and has never dropped before.
The future of communication?
To be honest, these findings pretty accurately reflect my own experience of using my mobile. It’s midway through the morning as I type this, and so far today I’ve sent about half a dozen text messages, but haven’t made a single phone call.
Across an entire month, that trend stays pretty constant for me. I’m on a mobile plan that allows me a very generous 600 minutes of phone calls a month, and I can’t think of a single time I’ve come anywhere close to using this allowance.
However, the last time we ‘talked’ about this, commenter Chris wasn’t a fan of texting:
‘Hate the fiddly keys on mobiles, being a bloke with size eight hands, I hate the multiple keypress nature of texting. I hate predicative text because its always wrong and when if texted, there’s always a “to and fro” of multiple questions and answers, it’s quicker and easier just to use voice and get the message done in a fraction of the time.’
As for me, I’ll text, I’ll email or use Facebook on my phone, or send messages to friends abroad with WhatsApp. All of these methods of communication are quick, instant, silent, and either cheap or free.
I’m a social person, and I’m always keen to talk at length in person. But it’s been a long time since I’ve thought of my mobile phone as being there for lengthy catch-up calls.