Why phones aren’t phones

by | Feb 16, 2021

Today, we’re all glued to our phones. They can do almost anything, and replace a long list of things that we might have carried around: address book, calendar, map, books, encyclopaedia, torch, some board games, and all the photos we’ve ever taken (h/t Michael McIntyre).

But we don’t use them as phones that much. Young people, in particular, seem a bit confused if the phone rings, or someone expects them to actually make a voice call rather than messaging. Ofcom’s recent figures show that 22% of people didn’t make or receive a single call on their mobile in the first quarter of 2020 (although calls are getting longer during lockdown).

Why aren’t we calling? As a writer, I’m just a little bit pleased to know that Ofcom sees this as being due to people using written communication services instead (at least partly). This is a long-term trend that’s been well-researched and covered in the media – basically, writing is becoming more common for communicating, although it’s usually in a less formal style than our teachers might have trained us to use. There are new etiquettes, jargon and rules, and if you want to communicate clearly, you need to understand them.

Put simply: writing isn’t going anywhere. So, it’s worth doing it well.