Temple Quarter Breakfast, Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

The Death of the Telephone Call

By Timothy Noah

'The phone call died, according to Nielsen, in the autumn of 2007.

During the final three months of that year the average monthly number of texts sent on mobile phones (218) exceeded, for the first time in recorded history, the average monthly number of phone calls (213).

A frontier had been crossed.

The primary purpose of most people’s primary telephones was no longer to engage in audible speech.

Today, we’re mere seconds away from a majority of U.S. households possessing no landline at all, and text messages are five times more frequent on mobile phones than phone calls.

You can still call your best friend on the telephone, but he probably won’t pick up. Instead, he’ll text you, or ping you on Facebook, and wonder when the hell it was you became so emotionally needy.

It’s a lonely business, this life without telephone calls.

Calling somebody on the phone used to be a perfectly ordinary thing to do. You called people you knew well, not so well, or not at all, and never gave it a second thought.

But after the Great Texting Shift of 2007, a phone call became a claim of intimacy.

Today if I want to phone someone just to chat, I first have to consider whether the call will be viewed as intrusive. My method is to ask myself, “Have I ever seen this person in the nude?”

The sighting doesn’t have to be (indeed, seldom is) recent. Nor is it necessary that I remember it. I need only deduce that, sometime or other, I must have seen this person naked. That clears phone calls to a wife or girlfriend, to children, to parents, to siblings, to old flames, to former roommates from college, and very few others.

With business calls, prevailing etiquette isn’t all that different.

If you know somebody pretty well in the business sense (the threshold here being not “have I seen this person naked?” but “have I ever seen this person across a lunch table?”) you may phone with some confidence that the party will pick up. If not, you’ll have to leave a message and enter a ghastly limbo that requires a formal appointment.

What sort of future will the telephone call’s death bequeath?'

And that's what we are going to talk about, from a new business perspective.

(Edited from an article by Timothy Noah (on slate.com)   … Timothy is labor policy editor at Politico and author of The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It. From 2000–2011, he was a Slate senior writer.)


Best wishes



Joseph Mevlanna Pritchard


Zetetic Pioneering Strategies


+44 07887 513369

Strategy for a New World

PS Please let Elizabeth know if you are coming by emailing her at elizabeth8@zeteticmind.com text her on 07796 048755 or phone her +44 (0)117 955 8121

City Cafe, Hilton Garden Inn, Temple Way, Bristol BS1 6BF.  Click here for Google directions.  The Temple Quarter Breakfast takes place on the 4th Wednesday of every month and starts with breakfast at 0730hrs.  You will be clear by 0900hrs.  You pay the hotel directly for your breakfast (£13.95) and there are no other charges from the organiser.