Have smartphones killed the art of conversation? | Technology | The Guardian

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News of the un-newsy kind this week, fresh from an Ofcom study designed to confirm a belief in our worst selves: we are a nation addicted to smartphones but are repelled by the idea of making or taking voice calls. Is this the death of conversation? Not quite, but it’s certainly more than a blip in the cultural history of communication: in 2017, for the first time, the number of voice calls – remember, those things you did with your actual voice on your actual phone – fell in the UK. Meanwhile, internet addiction keeps growing, presumably because we haven’t quite worked out what to do with all those hours we’re saving on talking. More than three-quarters (78%) of British adults own a smartphone, and we check them on average every 12 minutes. That adds up to 24 hours a week online via our phones – much of that time swallowed up by modern-style chat on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, with some left over for texting. It has taken a toll on talking, sure, but few smartphone users might claim to feel less connected as a result. Conversation is delightful, but unsaid rules for how and when it happens have been established collectively over the past decade or so. No one – except your mum or someone asking about an accident you were never in – just calls these days. Some people will text to warn of a call; others will hold a conversation by swapping voice notes back and forth. (A youth truth: using the voice memo function on WhatsApp as a sort of dictaphone to “talk in turns” rather than hold “a live conversation” is now a thing.) Read All Comments: http://www.comentarismo.com/news/theguardianhave-smartphones-killed-the-art-of-conversation-technology-the-guardian


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