Students & Communication: Is Email the New Phone Call?

Think about the last time you actually called somebody (aside from your parents or significant other).

I’m willing to bet you’ve probably made less than 10 phone calls this week. Excluding your personal life, I’m willing to bet you’ve probably made less than five work-related calls this week.

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As a journalist, I’m constantly having to call people and try to track them down, but consistently am forced to leave voicemails or try to find them through email instead.

I’ve even found that people feel intruded upon if I randomly call when they aren’t expecting it. They would prefer it if I set up a time to interview them via email so I had an arranged time to call.

After reading this article in the New York Times, I started thinking about our generation’s opinions toward phone calls and communication in general.

Although I try my best to pick up the phone, it’s so much easier to just type a couple lines at my leisure and then send off my message into cyberspace.

In fact, it’s a heck of a lot easier to communicate with professors via email. I’ve had several professors tell my classes that we shouldn’t even bother calling them because they honestly don’t check voicemail.

If you can’t get ahold of your professor, try for all your tutoring, homework and exam needs!

Email is definitely a more effective mode of communication, there’s no doubt about that. You don’t question whether or not you heard a name or number wrong and you can easily glance back at it in case you forgot something.

However, does relying on email make all of us more anti-social as a whole? Are we soon going to forget what it’s like to carry on an actual conversation with someone?

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Relying on email is a shortcut and makes someone able to bypass verbal communication. However, I think that since so few people actually call, you are a lot more likely to impress future employers and your peers by taking the extra two minutes to dial their numbers.

And, don’t forget, there’s a chance that your words could be misinterpreted because the written word comes off a lot more harshly than the spoken word does.

Without the context of the tone of your voice, it sometimes can be hard to tell the tone of someone’s written message.
This means when you’re sending off an email, you’d better make sure you don’t come off in a rude tone.

Don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love email. But it makes me wonder how lonely the future might be.

Do society a favor and try your best to pick up the phone this week and actually call someone. It could be your friend, your grandma or even your professor; whoever it is, let them hear the sound of your own voice!

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