fickle people. Especially where technology is concerned. Fashion is no
longer the object of the term that was so last year.
In the ’70s it was the 8-track
tape until we held our first cassette. Rolling into the ’80s, we loved
our Tandy until Bill Gates showed us what a computer could be with his
Windows operating system.
We loved e-mail until texting
became the trend. MySpace bowed a bit to Facebook. Twitter, well, it’s
the new hottie in town.
Remember your first answering
machine? Your first portable phone? How about when you broke down and
bought a cellular device?
In this column I’ve talked about
the power of social media on the Web. But there’s really one social
“media” tool that remains powerful a hundred and forty years after its
In October 1874, Alexander
Graham Bell worked on a multiple telegraph. His future father-in-law, a
Boston attorney, backed Bell’s work with the intent of breaking up the
power and control of Western Union. (Some things never change.) At the
same time, Bell secretly worked on a device that would transmit speech.
It’s amazing to consider where
his vision to electronically transmit voice and sounds has brought us
When I was a girl, we lived in a
small Oklahoma town and the rotary dial house phone was a party line.
Back in my corporate life, I’d traveled to Kansas with a colleague and
as we passed the local hotel, the sign out front advertised its best
feature: Dial Phones. We had a good laugh.
come a long way from operator-connected calls, rotary dialing, and
party lines, but it’s mind blowing that a nineteenth-century device is
still a powerful social media tool today.
communication has a few
advantages over text, e-mail and Twitter.
1. Voice communicates more
emotion and intent than words. Issues can be misunderstood or left
unresolved through e-mail or text.
Voice communication can be more efficient. I recently had a text
conversation with a good friend. If he had called me, our conversation
would’ve been said and done in five minutes. Instead, my work was
constantly interrupted by dozens of short text bursts. Each reply took
me five to thirty seconds to read and answer.
A phone call adds the personal touch. Hearing someone’s voice, the
emotion in their words, deepens any relationship.
4. A voice-to-voice call eliminates the possibility of messages being
lost in cyber space. I once spent two months fretting over an absent
response to an e-mail I’d sent. It was a sensitive subject, so I was
nervous to call, but I was more twisted into knots by not
knowing if my e-mail had been delivered. If so, why hadn’t the
recipient responded? I finally called. It wasn’t an easy conversation,
but a necessary and good one.
5. Cheaper! Depending on your cell phone plan, text messages can jack
up your bill.
6. Instant! If you are away from your computer, a quick phone call can
easily communicate a need or message instead of waiting to e-mail or
text and then waiting for a response.
7. If you talk to someone, they can never come back and tell you they
didn’t get your message. You know what you told them. You know their
We have many ways to communicate
in today’s world. But don’t forget the telephone—where all of social