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Why so many of us hold a phone but don’t like to call

digital health. amsterdam talks tech, the health tech edition

Having a phone in your hand is supernormal nowadays, as it is our device for navigation, communication and visualisation (eg the camera). However, there’s a large group of people who actually hardly use it to make phone calls. Their means of communication is mainly via text, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and email.

So where does this reluctance to actually speak to people on the phone come from?

Of course, there is not one single reason that is applicable to everyone who hardly makes phone calls, but one of the most common reasons is that these non-callers find it more efficient to ask a question via a text. You send a message and can get a immediate response, without the usual chit-chat. Also asking questions via Twitter can be super efficient as well. Organisations, experts, locals; so many people are on Twitter to answer your question, so why would you take the effort into looking up a company, its phone number and the contactperson when a simple tweet can suffice.

Communicating in writing can also help you with checking off your mental checklist. And not using the phone is also a generational thing. Many millennials feel that they should be as efficient as possible and embrace the advantages of digital communication. Most large webshops, insurance companies or food delivery companies are available to chat, tweet, Whatsapp and email with, so you can order food with a simple tap on a button.

Not using the phone can also be seen as confrontation avoidance tactic; as you get your message out and ask your question, there is only room for a response from the other end.

Does this mean the end of the phone?

No of course not, however it is telling that the phone companies now sell smartphone subscriptions with bytes instead of minutes. Nonetheless, not all conversations can be held via email, not all contact can be in writing only and not all questions can be answered with a single tweet. And of course, there will always be mothers who want to hear their kid’s voice.


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