Young People stop just Texting Me and Give me a Call once in a while! PLZ

Published: 27 September 2011

Younger people let me be clear,  I really, truly need to talk to you sometimes, at least on the phone, stop just texting me! I work with young people at McGill University, they are very bright people, in the same league as my students at Oxford.  Many text me, but seem to be rather reluctant to actually talk to me on the phone. 

Contrast this to an actual Skype text conversation I had this week with someone my age: KM: "What's new with you?"  AV:  "Hard to answer IM. Skype always startles me."  What a contrast.   So, Postmodern Generation, in this article let me explain to you why you need to break down and give me an old fashioned call or even office drop by. What got me started was that in this week's Sunday New York Times, Eilene Zimmerman the New York Times Career Coach, wrote, "Compounding that, young employees who have grown up connected to the Internet use social media sites, cell phones and texting more than other generations, who may prefer face-to-face interactions."   I don't know how old Eilene is, but boy did she get it right.  Why do middle aged people like phone and face-to-face?  It's really pretty simple and actually makes sense.

On the phone I can hear nuances in a voice that a text message totally lacks like (I lived in LA in the late 70s so can speak some Valley Girl). On the phone I hear whether you are upset or not, that you are delighted with the news or otherwise, I can hear a long pause and read something into it, and generally get it right.  The bandwidth of a voice is much broader and richer than a text.  Which allows me to back pedal if you are upset, or push forward if you are less upset than I thought you would be. I can be sensitive to your reaction and respond appropriately.

I asked Joseph Iannicelli, CEO of Standard Life Canada, his comment:  "I have seen countless examples of miscommunications, misinterpreting tone, misreading messages or reading into messages that were not there."  If this applies to e-mails, how much more so to texts?  OgilvyOne CEO Brian Fetherstonhaugh, says, " I talk to several thousand people in their 20′s every year.  I often make a point about Texting and e-mail, 'How many people have solved a difficult emotional topic via e-mail or text ?', So far, I haven't found a single one."

Read full article: Forbes, September 27, 2011


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