Today, April 25th is National Telephone Day so now is the perfect time to reflect on how far the telephone has come. Since its invention in 1876, the telephone has seen some major changes. Now, it is estimated that roughly 270 million American adults own a smartphone as of this year. That is 81.6% of the country! In addition, Americans check their phones nearly 100 times a day and spend almost 6 hours on their phones. In other words, people check their phones once every 10 to 12 minutes and even simply touch their phone about 2,617 times per day, averaging roughly 5.5 hours total of phone use!
However, phones aren’t really being used to make calls very much anymore. Most people prefer to text or send messages rather than call a person. In addition, a majority of modern day web traffic also comes from people using the internet on mobile devices. For some reason people get on their phones more for using apps and browsing the internet than using them for what phones were initially intended. In fact, regular voice calls were actually going out of style up until the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic when calls surged as a result of people wanting to hear the voice of loved ones at a time when people were separated during lockdown. Other than that, many a joke has been made about why it is apparently weird to call people on the phone nowadays. As comic Gary Gulman put it when referring to the differences in his and his mom’s relationship with the phone:
“We have a completely different relationship with the phone. She….talks to people on it… (confused). To me, the phone is just the seldom used app on my phone and if you use it on me, I am FURIOUS! How dare you? You call me unprovoked out of the blue? You text me first to even see if I am accepting phone calls today!”
Not only are phones and other mobile devices being used more than traditional computers to access the internet, they are also used more for video content than TVs. In fact, 70% of digital media time in the U.S. is from smartphones. 92% of that digital media time is spent on social media.
While it may not be as popular today to make calls on your phone, you can celebrate National Telephone Day by calling a loved one and asking about their day. If you’re not sure they will take the call or you know they aren’t a big fan of phone calls, maybe send a text first….