Fandango’s Provocative Question (30 October 2019)

We’re at Wednesday again, and Fandango has posted another Provocative Question, where he asks us to ponder an issue each week. This week, he’s asking whether the phone call has become obsolete.

At the outset, I have to say that I don’t have a clear-cut answer. I read about Fandango’s own use of phones and it is quite similar to my own. Hardly makes any, hardly receives any, and very judicious about the calls he does and doesn’t take. All those things apply to me too, with the added twist that for 90% of my online activity, I use a traditional Windows laptop. No phone was even remotely involved in the creation of this post.

So, just considering my own scenario, I can agree that yes, phones calls are way past their prime. But I can think of two examples to the contrary.

Last night, I picked up the phone to wish my aunt a Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday, Auntie Margaret. She has a mobile phone, but has never even used a computer. So whilst I guess a text message is an option, the internet certainly isn’t. As it happens, neither of us are big users of text messages.

Also, I did my telephone volunteering session yesterday afternoon. By definition, that is using the phone to speak to people. Some of the clients view the telephone as just another method of communication, but some of them only have the phone. It’s quite scary, when I myself use computers so much. But nevertheless, true. I think nothing of looking up the movies at the cinema, or what time the next bus goes, but for them, it isn’t an option.

The one thing my auntie and my clients have in common is age. My auntie is almost eighty and my clients typically range from seventies to nineties. So, perhaps it is a generational thing?

Probably. A lot of people think that the computer is going to meltdown when they hit the wrong button. When I hit the wrong button, I tend to blame the program, for not making it obvious which button I was meant to press. So, a whole different perspective. But I can think of an example which even shoots down my age-related argument.

My daughter is twenty. She’s quite close to my wife, but not to me. They both have Apple tech. They use Facetime video quite a bit to speak to each other. As you might guess, my daughter is remote. Thank goodness!

But there are also a surprisingly large amount of voice calls mixed in. (My daughter will usually want to speak to my wife two or three times per day. It seems weird that somebody should be that dependent, but there we go. I’m a cold fish.)

I mean, my daughter is different to me. I have a landline, used mostly now for internet, and regard my cellphone as something I must remember to take out with me. She, on the other hand, does everything though her cellphone. So, there might well be a discussion to be had on whether the landline has become obsolete. But fundamentally, she still relies on that voice communication, and at least fifty years younger than my other example.


  1. “So, there might well be a discussion to be had on whether the landline has become obsolete.” We haven’t had a landline since 2012. And neither do either of my adult kids. We all rely on our smartphones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, that’s mainly why I carry mine, too, just in case I need to call someone. I don’t like taking calls while I’m out because the odds are I’d need my computer to help anyway – so it’s probably better they leave a message and I can deal with it when I get home.


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