An Xiao Studio
the virtual studio of an xiao mina

Skype, aka, The Future of Phone Calls

The future of the phone call?  Who makes calls anymore?  Clive Thompson recently argued:

Consider: If I suddenly decide I want to dial you up, I have no way of knowing whether you’re busy, and you have no idea why I’m calling. We have to open Schrödinger’s box every time, having a conversation to figure out whether it’s OK to have a conversation. Plus, voice calls are emotionally high-bandwidth, which is why it’s so weirdly exhausting to be interrupted by one. (We apparently find voicemail even more excruciating: Studies show that more than a fifth of all voice messages are never listened to.)

I love talking, but I’m not a big phone person.  Before moving to Los Angeles, I spent most of my phone time texting and emailing.  I’m known for having a voicemail that specifically requests that folks send me a text message if they need to reach me sooner; an odd request, but I believe screen-based messages are quicker and less disruptive to everyone’s day.  Recently, though, thanks to a drive that is, at minimum, half an hour, and thanks to my car’s built-in Bluetooth feature, I’ve been on the phone a good deal with friends around the country and around the world.  Since my Blackberry now has Skype built in, I also use that to engage in chats.

Conclusion: the future of the phone is in Skype, or at least something that looks like it.  Not only are the calls free, as they are routed via my data plan (unlimited) rather than my minutes (limited), but they’re also managed much more easily.  I can see who’s online and who’s available.  I can see what time it is in their region.  They can see me and my availability.  And if I’m still not sure, I can easily ping them with a text message before making a call.

Image via.

3 Responses to Skype, aka, The Future of Phone Calls

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by André Holthe / 侯安, an xiao 4.0.2. an xiao 4.0.2 said: New post: Skype, the future of phone calls (or, why I almost never make regular calls anymore): [...]

  2. Kianga Ellis says:

    I have requested in my voicemail announcement at WORK that people send me a message by email. Who has the time it takes retrieve and manually transcribe voice messages anymore? It is so inefficient, you don’t know the spelling of names, and the list goes on… I want to disable voicemail from my cell phone entirely.

  3. An Xiao says:

    I totally agree – not only are the messages themselves difficult to transcribe and listen to, but the interfaces are also challenging. Which button do I press to replay? What button to save? Why can’t I forward messages?

my name is
an xiao mina

i am a

contact - image by komodo media twitter feed - image by komodo media tumblr feed - image by komodo media vimeo - image by komodo media

the civic beat (co-founder)
art center/unicef uganda
(grad researcher)
meedan (designer)
(consulting editor)

all opinions here are my own

my tumblr (links, notes)
88 bar (china)
core77 (design)
creators project (film)
hyperallergic (art)
ethnomatters (research)

the atlantic
al jazeera
design observer

what's new
city life
social media art

you might also like
brendan mcgetrick
david sherwin
design china
emily chang
evert ypma
jan chipchase
matthew manos
nick seaver
pico cool
tina roth eisenberg
zara arshad
ai weiwei
brent burket
carolina miranda
hrag vartanian
james wagner
kianga ellis
kyle chayka
museum nerd
rebecca taylor
clive thompson
danah boyd
emily nussbaum
erik hersman
ethan zuckerman
evan osnos
gillian reagan
global voices
howard s. friedman
jenna wortham
joanne mcneil
julia kaganskiy
maria popova
nicholas carr
tricia wang
thomas crampton
tom standage