Re: Phone calls

1

I remember occasionally just watching TV with a friend on the other end of the line.

Back when I was a kid, local calls were still billed by the minute.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 7:22 AM
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2

My kid hangs out for epic amounts of time on Skype with her online friends. It's kind of the same thing, I think, except her friends are in Scotland and Australia and she's only ever known them via the net.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 7:24 AM
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3

Caroline just spent a half hour on the phone with her BFF last night. This is somewhat problematic, because we got rid of our landline, and now are back in the days of Moby's childhood, where this sort of call is billed by the minute. we might just wind up getting a landline again.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 7:29 AM
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4

My cell phone has unlimited minutes. I don't think I've used more than 100 minutes in any month, but you can't get a data plan without unlimited minutes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 7:32 AM
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5

In my experience (which is admittedly now a bit dated), almost never on the phone--but 1 of the 3 had the extended Skype sessions. Overall, much more likely to text or use some manner of online IM/chat.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 7:49 AM
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6

I've only recently taken up texting. It's like Twitter, but with three fewer people reading it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 7:51 AM
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7

I can recall my oldest kids hogging the phone for hours...that was 10 years ago. My youngest are now midteens and I doubt they've used the phone for more than 3 minutes at a time.


Posted by: Mike Adamson | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 7:52 AM
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I'm not sure exactly how this factors into the issue, but I have yet to talk on a cell phone that isn't terrible for long conversations. For some reason it just requires more... energy?... to listen on a cell phone than on a landline.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 7:57 AM
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9

That's probably true. My cell phone is, as a phone, completely inferior to whatever Ma Bell bolted into our wall.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 7:59 AM
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10

My girls do it all by messaging of one type of another. Which means you can talk to a few people at once. Kid A and her internet friends use tinychat when they all want to do a group thing. She's about to get a laptop so she might Skype more in the future, but Skype is a bit ott for the watching tv together scenario, which they both definitely do lots of. They will both only use the phone as an absolute last resort.

You can buy a nice old-fashioned receiver to plug into your mobile or computer - I haven't got one (am quite happy to chat to my mum for an hour on my mobile, don't chat much to anyone else, I do it all online too!) but my friend says it's very comfortable to use.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:11 AM
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11

Yeesh, when I think that I used to spend an hour a night on the phone with a friend of mine in high school. As one for whom all phone conversation is a penance now...the mind reels.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:17 AM
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12

Skype is great, though, because they can do all kinds of other things on the computer (my kid does her homework and art) while they talk. It's all multi-tasky.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:17 AM
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13

10. Bear in mind that your kids' experience isn't quite comparable to the USians cos they still charge for local calls here. Anything that avoids the embarrassing confrontation when the phone bill turns up recommends itself.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:22 AM
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14

For some reason it just requires more... energy?... to listen on a cell phone than on a landline.

You can't hold a mobile between your shoulder and ear (subject to 10.2). I never did the long calls thing as a kid. Possibly because for half the year I lived in the same building as most of my friends. Though I did do the racking up enormous phone bills dialling BBSes on a 2.4k baud modem thing.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:22 AM
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15

This was a (minor) plot point in the very excellent 21 Jump Street film.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:25 AM
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16

Though I did do the racking up enormous phone bills dialling BBSes on a 2.4k baud modem thing.

See, that's why you need outdials.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:25 AM
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17

Skype is great, though, because they can do all kinds of other things on the computer (my kid does her homework and art) while they talk.

A mixed blessing - I skype with my son (who's in NZ for the semester) and the first time or two he seemed to be looking at his desk, not at me - turns out he was texting with someone else while we talked.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:29 AM
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18

"kids" s/b "girls"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:31 AM
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19

I can't Skype because I need the computer to play Solitaire while I'm talking on the phone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:32 AM
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20

Anyhow, I hate using the telephone so much, almost to the point of a phobia. Usually my main goal in a phone conversation is for it to end quickly. This has actually hurt me quite significantly professionally -- clients, etc, seem to want you to check in occasionally by telephone and I'm always like "I hate that thing so goddamn much and I just sent you an email -- can't we just communicate in person or in some kind of text-based format? " But no, it doesn't work that way.


Posted by: Robert HalfordI | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:34 AM
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21

Oh, Moby. You just minimize the Skype screen. Please.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:34 AM
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22

But if they show me something and I'm clearly not looking at it, then I become the bad son, like in 17.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:36 AM
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23

As much as I loathe voicemail - a lot, as I've previously ranted - my new phone has dramatically improved the process. It's all visual: who/when/etc. Then I can just click to hear the actual person's message, in any order. Nevermind the fact that it took them until 2013 to address this horrible waste of my time that was the phone-in system.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:38 AM
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24

Oh Moby. Just make both windows small enough to fit side-by-side. Please.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:39 AM
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25

Good idea. I'm going to buy a bigger/2nd monitor for home.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:41 AM
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17, 19: Skype doesn't have to be used for video calls, you know. It does voice calls just fine.

(I kind of hate video calls.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:44 AM
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27

Plus, it wouldn't be so hard for me to see the path when I need to move my forces across the world in Civ.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:44 AM
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18 "kids" s/b "girls"

You never did the "spend hours on the phone with a significant other" thing as a kid? (I guess we're getting to the old end of what counts as "kid", but still.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:45 AM
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The telephone has the advantage of providing attention cues-- emails might not get opened, or be totally misunderstood. "oh" or "what?" are valuable parts of a telephone conversation.

I hate calling also, though, but I understand that voice contact is more effective in dealing with new people, harried people, disorganized people....


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:46 AM
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30

Also, jesus fucking christ it's the first day of the semester and I'm already flooded with emails from people who want to have meetings.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:47 AM
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31

There are some people with whom I love to speak on the phone, and others with whom it is always a tedious experience. I don't think it's the medium.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:47 AM
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32

Oh Moby. Just make both windows small enough to fit side-by-side. Please.

Windows key + left arrow, Windows key + right arrow. Done. This shortcut is your friend in many, many circumstances.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:53 AM
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33

and others with whom it is always a tedious experience

I think I'm the one others find it tedious to talk to.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:53 AM
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34

I'm looking through the American Time Use Survey to see if it has any detailed enough tables to determine the answer. I know they ask how many minutes per day are spent in telephone conversations with friends and acquaintances, but I need it by age and year.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:54 AM
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35

I'm looking through the American Time Use Survey

Best way to procrastinate ever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 8:56 AM
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36

32: I've always been afraid of the Windows key.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 9:02 AM
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37

33: You should never worry.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 9:06 AM
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38

35 - Does the American Time Use Survey have data on how much time people spent procrastinating by looking through the American Time Use Survey?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 9:12 AM
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39

For Rob and others... I would like to endorse Ooma as an alternative to the landline cell phone dichotomy. It's very, very inexpensive, works like a regular phone (not through one of your computers), and has been the perfect solution for us.

(This is not a paid endorsement.) (Though, Ooma people who are looking to pay for endorsements, I am available. Call me.)


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 9:12 AM
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40

My kids (but not all that much younger than a few of you kids) tend to not answer the phone, and view phone calls in general as something of a social faux pas.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 9:16 AM
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41

I was thinking of getting Ooma, but somebody on Facebook told me that Oomacare was going to destroy America.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 9:19 AM
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42

I hate the phone too, but have clients, and opponents, who won't otherwise respond.

"Kids" are anyone younger than half plus seven. I thought that was canonical.

I was pretty proud of myself when I discovered several years ago that it was way better to communicate with kids -- as so defined -- by text rather than by email. And never to call them -- let them call you.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 9:26 AM
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So I can't find age breakdowns, but the percentage of people who made telephone calls on an average day (not as part of work) went from 13% in 2003 to 12.7% in 2012, with the percentages much higher in the intervening years, maxing at 16% in 2006.

Of the people who made any phone calls, minutes per day started at 0.65 in 2003, maxed at 0.83 in 2008, and is now 0.81.

Oddly, percent engaged in "household and personal e-mail and messages" (distinguished from mail) also was the same in the fist and last year, 5.3% and 5.4%. Not sure why so low - maximum was 8.4% in 2008 and 2009. Maybe something to do with only reporting it on some days of the week.

The study looks at people age 15 and up; maybe not enough teens are in the sample to affect the total much.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 9:36 AM
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44

Sorry, that should be hours per day in the second paragraph.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 9:37 AM
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45

And the ATUS coding instructions say to count text messages as phone calls.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 9:42 AM
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46

39: Trumwill, thanks for the recommendation. I'm looking into it.


Posted by: Molly | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 9:45 AM
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39: Thanks, Trumwill. This just might be the solution to my dilemma.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 10:18 AM
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48

My 14 year old has one friend who sometimes calls on the landline to make plans, and she finds that supremely weird.

She seems to hang out a lot with friends via Google chat, even friends who live only a few blocks away. They watch movies together, too--it involves everyone agreeing on a time to stream the same movie on Netflix, and set up a google chat. Of course, this sucks up the household bandwidth, which I guess is the 21st century version of using too many minutes or hogging the phone.


Posted by: good enough cook | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 10:36 AM
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Are they all pressing play at the exact same moment? Or is one person streaming it and mirroring it to everyone else? I assume the former, because it seems so canonically 14 years old to count down dramatically, and then dissolve into giggles when you hear the sound coming from everyone's computer, offset by microseconds.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 10:40 AM
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Yup--the former. Or at least, that's what I assume from the sounds coming from her room.


Posted by: good enough cook | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 10:47 AM
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it's the first day of the semester and I'm already flooded with emails from people who want to have meetings.

Just tell them that you'll text and/or Skype with them without looking at them. Problem solved.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 10:56 AM
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My girls are obviously too young for real phone use (which is why it's a little bit of a relief that I'm no longer supervising Nia's calls with her mom, which required a lot of patience from all of us) but have enjoyed video chats with cousins on Lee's side and my grandmother, who never learned to type and is thus a sad emailer and also doesn't like to wear the hearing aids that let her use the phone comfortably, but she and the girls can wave and smile to each other and no one really cares if they're not catching the conversation on the other side. (I also worry about the ubiquity of texting for people like one of Nia's relatives I interact with a lot who doesn't have a high enough literacy level to really keep up with it. Mostly we just talk on the phone, but texting would be a lot easier and more comfortable.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 11:38 AM
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13 - I think we're free after 7 pm? I dunno, I just use my mobile because of the unlimited minutes. Only use the landline for 0800 numbers. Think my ten year old uses the landline the most.

And I pay my 16 year old's phone contract - if I wanted to embarrass her, I have it all itemised there!

When I was 16, my parents separated for a couple of years, and my mum, in a moment of thrift, installed a pay phone, and gave us a certain amount of 10p's a week. I think I got £2's worth, and if I talked for longer I'd have to pay for it myself. (Or beg from my brother, most likely.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 1:30 PM
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54

Did your mom watch The Brady Bunch?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 1:43 PM
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My mom loves to Skype the Calabat but does not quite believe me that he doesn't really see her or know what's going on.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 1:48 PM
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My parents were pretty tolerant of the per minute costs of local calls since the extra ten or thirty a month wasn't a big deal, international calls on the other hand were a different story. Talk for an hour, blow a hundred bucks.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 3:00 PM
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Voice revenue is tanking, but minutes counts keep going up, mostly through Skyprosoft and similar. There's anecdotal evidence of IM-voice substitution but it's not showing up in macro data.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 4:17 PM
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Seems like coding text messages as phone calls makes it impossible to measure the change, if any. Individual texts might be short, but a bunch of daily text exchanges probably rival long phone calls in time spent.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 3-13 6:23 PM
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