Feature

Alexander Graham Bell did good

It occurred to me a moment ago that I'm actually a big fan of the telephone. With the Internet and all the e-mail, chat rooms, message boards, and instant messaging, one might be worried that communication would become easier and more frequent, or if you're a nay-sayer maybe our social connections would become diluted through the too-easiness or impersonal anonymity of it all. But I say that, just because we have all this new convenient messaging, we're not continuing to give the good ol' telephone its proper credit.

If "the phone people" were ever worried about the telephone losing its niche, I say they needn't fear. It still carries its own weight with socialization, and not just because of the audio-factor. No, with the ease of chatting with friends and strangers that Internet messaging allows, the phone retains its higher status by always being the communication tool one uses for "events."

You might IM a 5-word phrase to a buddy and not even be concerned if the reply came 3 hours later, or if it never came at all. Maybe we put that sort of thing at the same level as calling out a random no-need-to-reply thought blurb to the person in the next room. It's just no big deal. Few people will pick up the phone to deliver the same sort of message.

The phone is for an event, for significant interaction that either the Internet won't allow or would diminish in significance due to the ease of access. Maybe you're having a baby, and you want your parents to know but they live across the country. Do you e-mail them? I doubt it. Postal "snail" mail? Pfft, not likely. You call them, so they can hear the pride and joy in your voice even before you burst out with news. You call them on the telephone so you can hear their reaction, and so you can chuckle as they fight over the phone, trying to congratulate you. Because some conversations actually are a big deal. Because the phone allows us to be far more personal than just text. And because the telephone was and continues to be the next best thing to being there in person.

Even with the glories of the Internet, the telephone has value all it's own as a communication device, and it will be a long time before our friend the phone will be tossed to the wayside.

Until we all get videophones, of course. Those would be awesome.

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Amy commented at 8:58 PM on March 31, 2003:

"You might IM a 5-word phrase to a buddy and not even be concerned if the reply came 3 hours later, or if it never came at all."

lol - you've been IMing me too much. :)

Nobody commented at 10:07 PM on March 31, 2003:

Are you suggesting I should call you more often...into your office office which is next door to mine? ;P

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