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26/05/2020 The Communication Science magazine

Call Me Maybe

Do you remember what it is like to make a phone call? Do you even remember how to make one? Margarete refreshes your memory and gives some practical advice to keep in touch the primal way.


This time provides a good opportunity to reconnect and get familiar with the original purpose of our phones: the phone call. Dialing a number, waiting for the other person to answer, and talking to them on the other side of the phone. Socializing in a different way. Some might even say the old fashioned way.

The Past

The phone was invented in 1876 and has proved its importance ever since. It brought the world closer together, by making it much easier for people to communicate with each other. In contrast to sending a letter, which could take up to several weeks to get delivered, it was possible to talk to a person within minutes.

Today

Even 144 years later, the phone is still widely used. Not in its original form and shape, but still with the purpose of directly communicating with someone who is not at the same place as you are. The perfect tool to stay in touch.

These days, we only need an Internet connection to be able to talk to people. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and several other applications make it easy for us to talk to friends and family. The only requirement: a smartphone.

But what about the people that grew up without a computer, without the Internet, let alone without a smartphone? They might have adapted and own a smartphone by now, but what if they have not? 

Then, they would still have only a basic phone. A phone with the only purpose of calling. There is no other function to this device than the essence of being able to communicate with people from afar.

As it seems, they might be more familiar with the true purpose of a phone. It is not just a device to call people, but so much more. It is a device to connect and socialize with them.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? It might have been us saying these words while we are using all these applications to stay connected to our friends. It is our way of socializing. However, while we are scrolling through the latest social media feed, texting to friends, or sharing the latest news, we should not forget the original purpose of the smartPHONE: the phone call.

Then, you press the nice green button and put the phone on your ear waiting for the soothing and sometimes agonizing sound of the beep.

How To Call

In case your memory needs refreshing on how to use this simple and easy to handle application on your phone, here is a little reminder to all of us:

First of all, you need the phone number of the person you want to call. Once you have the phone number, you can dial away.

Then, you press the nice green button and put the phone on your ear waiting for the soothing and sometimes agonizing sound of the beep.

The beeps with a long pause indicate that a connection is made, and the quick beeps, one right after the other, let you know that the person you wanted to talk to is in another phone call.

Once the person picks up, you are free to talk. If the person does not pick up, you might encounter the voicemail. A friendly voice will greet you and lets you know that you have to speak after the ‘Beep’. Then, you can leave a message on the voicemail (not the same as a voice message).

Practical Advice

If you get a phone call or if you call someone, do not start with a simple ‘Hello’, but with a ‘Hello, this is (your name)’, so the person knows who they are talking to.

Ending a phone call is often tricky, but do it in a respectful manner. Here are some tips.

Do you feel like calling someone? Just go ahead and call them. If they have time and can answer, they will. And if they  do not, they can call you back or you can try to reach them at a different time.

And don’t forget, some people need a bit of a ‘heads-up’: they need to schedule a call. Consequently, you will not be interrupting the other person’s day. And at the same time, they can dedicate more time to speak to you. It’s a win-win for both of you.

Is someone calling you, but do you not have the time to answer? Make a note to call them back or quickly answer to let them know that you will call them back as soon as you can. And if you are spending time with someone in real life, put your phone away and do not answer your phone. Dedicate time to the person you are spending time with.

Cover: Pexels/NEOSiAM 2020

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