Call Me Maybe

With the same precious nostalgia forming lines at the record store and causing skyrocketed typewriter sales, let’s turn our attention to the telephone. We do absolutely everything with our iPhones; search, type, text, listen, research. But dialing an actual phone number to speak to an actual voice? Rare.

Lady Gaga – Telephone

When I started my magazine editorial internship a couple of months ago, the thought of calling every single source for fact-checking confirmation was utterly absurd. With all of the answers supposedly at our fingertips online, we rarely feel the need to pick up the phone and maybe it’s caused this telephone terror among Millennials today.

In a way, growing up with the Internet has allowed us the introvert’s dream; posting things on Facebook and Twitter allows for thoughtful meditation upon word choice and possible reception pre-publication. It allows for users to respond or ignore, to re-share, re-tweet, or delete. Unlike telephone calls, it’s almost impossible to rush responses, which brings this comfortable web world that us journalists can thrive in without leaving our office chairs.

The truth is, every time I pick up the phone I still feel this tiny, sneaking fear inside. But after making tens of phone calls every day, it’s starting to feel more natural as I re-learn the art of phone conversation I abandoned long ago. Although phone calling is not necessarily affective for business building, company branding, and mass social networking, I take pride in proving Baby Boomers wrong in their denial of our calling capabilities.

In calling sources, I’ve also found this freedom from frustrating web searches that seem to cycle deeper and deeper into an online black hole. Although we’ve grown to glorify the incomparable quickness and ease of communication using our computers, don’t forget the lonely cordless perched on your desk. Take a deep breath, dial ten numbers, and greet someone whose voice could save you hours of maddening Google time.

Tamara Feingold

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10 Responses to Call Me Maybe

  1. First of all, let’s give Tamara a round of applause for the best title this fall. You make a great point, our generation is scared to pick up the phone. We would rather yell at our phones/computer screens in anger over a confusing text or email chain then actually pick up the phone and call that person. This post is spot on about our generation and I hope others learn like you have that picking up the phone is a great answer when you’re in need of clarification.

  2. chelseafung says:

    Tamara I think you make a good point when you said “In a way, growing up with the Internet has allowed us the introvert’s dream”. I too think that we have all become some what of introverts because of the Internet. It’s funny to think about what IS considered being social and anti-social. Social is connecting with people however, have we become a little anti-social because the connection is not in person or one-on-one?

  3. katshannon says:

    Tamara, I LOVE this post!
    I completely understand where you are coming from and talking on the phone daily in a professional setting definitely has an intimidation factor. In my internship, I am also in charge of the general phone and take calls for the office while I am in.
    I am different than most individuals though because I LOVE talking on the phone and would prefer talking to people over the phone than texting in most situations. I’m definitely still learning proper phone etiquette and process, but it’s kind of nice to learn those skills and get to speak “in person” to people is kind of exciting; especially with what you’re doing.

    Fun post!

  4. lizazevedo says:

    Tamara, I agree that many Millennials are terrified of having to call people they do not know on the phone (I was one of those frightened people). My last internship asked me to call television station after television station across the country and soon after I began working for my dad doing cold calls on the phone. Every time I make a call I still get nervous butterflies in my belly but I am so glad that my previous internship and job forced me to overcome my fear. I guarantee you will be thankful too, once your internship is over and you move on to your next job. Being able to communicate effectively with people over the phone is an invaluable skill.

  5. sarahbrown90 says:

    Such a good post! I can’t agree more. You are completely right about our generation, we are no longer used to using our phones to make actual calls. I personally hate having to make calls for some reason. It’s almost like I fear I am going to stumble on my words and say something wrong and seem like a complete idiot. Being able to talk comfortably on the phone is definitely a necessity for our career choice so it’s great that you are having the opportunity to build that skill now. With my internship I don’t have to be on the phone as much, but with each call I have made it has definitely helped me gain more confidence with talking to people on the phone. One thing that has definitely helped me has been writing down the points I need to talk about with the person, almost like a script, so that I make for sure I hit everything and have a clear outline of what needs to be discussed.

  6. cmckee2 says:

    Excellent post, I think you nailed our generation’s attitude towards calling people. As I’ve written about before, I’ve found at my internship that calling people beforehand makes them more receptive to my message. Yet it also took me weeks to get used to the idea. It’s weird how it seems that a simple phone call has become a lost art. Technology and communications have come a long way from even a decade ago.

  7. anabouls says:

    Great post, I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. I know that I have had to make more calls then I ever thought I would have to at my internship and the funny thing is I am starting to like it. I feel like it’s much easier to get a straight answer and I have no doubt that I am leaving with the correct information.

  8. PDXSX says:

    Well done, Tamara! You would not believe the amount of supervisor feedback that I have heard about GenY and Millenial inability to communicate via phone. It sounds like you are putting this misconception to bed as you continue to kick butt at your internship!

  9. eilíseward says:

    Great post Tamara! It’s seriously something that should seem obvious, but talking to people on the phone can be an interesting experience to say the least. I’ve had to call so many sources for my internship and sometimes hang up and begin to wonder if I even said my name or left the proper phone number. We’re so spoiled by texts and emails because you can check and double check if you said everything you needed to. Sounds like you’re mastering the art of the phone call and the not to be forgotten voicemail, kudos to you!

  10. hailayn says:

    I just want to echo everyone else’s comments in saying that you did a great job of capturing our generation’s marriage to technology. While I have no problem picking up the phone and making a phone call, it’s usually a last resort after I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time searching through the black hole that is Google. Picking up the phone is definitely a time saver; one I hope more people start using, including myself.

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