Has technology killed talking? - Business Works
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Has technology killed talking?

Ernest Doku of uSwitch I s it the death of conversation as Brits become 'all texts and less chat'? Mobile phones may have given the kiss of death to the art of conversation, according to new research from u0Switch.com.

  • Short shrift: more than half of Brits (56%) rarely or never have long telephone conversations with friends or family 70% say the average length of a call to loved ones is less than 10 minutes;
  • The good old days: almost six in ten (58%) say they had longer telephone conversations before mobile phones;
  • Short and sweet: just 5% of people regularly make calls lasting 30 minutes or more;
  • No personal touch: a quarter of people (24%) find texting or emailing an 'easier' alternative to phone calls;
  • Making the most of dead time: 72% of Brits now make their phone calls when they are on the move.

More than half of Brits (56%) rarely or never find the time to have long telephone conversations with friends or family and, despite the fact that mobiles are supposed to make it easier to communicate, almost six in ten (58%) say that they tended to have longer phone conversations before mobile phones were invented.

Over four in ten (41%) admit that a call on a landline or mobile phone typically lasts less than five minutes - just 5% regularly make calls of 30 minutes or more. And although our busy lifestyles may go some way to explain the lack of time we have to chat, many of us have a long list of excuses for keeping calls short and sweet.

Almost a quarter (24%) say that they find texting or emailing easier than a chat, suggesting that they prefer to communicate on their own terms instead of engaging in conversation. A cash-strapped fifth (19%) say that making calls is too expensive, while a depressing 10% claim to have 'nothing to say' to their loved ones.

Despite the common perception that older people like to have a good natter, the research shows that 55-64 year-olds are the least likely group to chat on the phone for 30 minutes or more. Six in ten (60%) rarely or never make calls that last for more than half an hour compared to 52% of 18 to 24 year-olds.

But perhaps our reticence to chat on the phone for a long time isn't just about being too busy. For many it may be about not wanting to air their dirty laundry in public, considering that nearly three quarters (72%) make their calls while on the move and more than six in ten (62%) admit that they tend to chat for longer on a landline than a mobile phone, suggesting that privacy plays a role.

"Keeping in contact with loved ones is infinitely easier with new communication methods such as texting, e-mailing and instant messaging which help people to keep in touch, wherever they are in the world," says Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com.

"You'd think modern mobiles would mean we'd be chatting more than ever, but it seems that the convenience of these methods is leading to the death of the long conversation. People prefer to either have five minute catch-ups while on the move, or simply stay in touch by a brief text or e-mail."

It would be a shame if the art of conversation died and we became a texting and instant messaging society, but our research seems to illustrate that things are moving in this direction.

"With millions of mobile phone contracts at competitive prices to choose from, it's easy to find a cheap deal with hundreds of free minutes, so there's no reason not to call friends and family to have a proper chat. Speed dialling is acceptable, but speed talking to your granny on the way to the train station isn't!" concludes Ernest.

For more information, please visit: www.uswitch.com or call 0800 093 0607

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