Blogging and Writing

How Do You Communicate?

How do you communicate? Image of a rotary dial phone

The ways in which we communicate have changed a lot over the years, so let’s do a little meander back before we talk about the present. When I was a kid, we had a rotary dial telephone hanging on the wall. When I was too young to remember, we were on a party line, meaning the whole neighbourhood could listen in on what you had to say. As a teenager, I had an extension in my room, although it would be easy to listen in from the kitchen.

Email was just starting to become a big thing when I started university. I shared a landline phone with my 1st year roommate, and I even remember the phone number for some reason. The university gave us 5 hours of dial-up internet access per month, and when I ran out, I would use NetZero, which surprisingly still exists.

I got my first cell phone in 2002, and my first iPhone in 2010 or so. I was sufficiently skilled at texting on the number pad on my old Nokia that I could text while driving without having to look at my phone.

Fast forward to now. I spend the majority of each day on my laptop. Most of my communication with other people happens in blog comments. I never used emojis before I started blogging, but now I use them regularly because it’s easier than coming up with words. I like comment conversations because they’re focused – again, easier.

Email is my other major means of communication. I have three different email addresses; one for blog-ish things, one for junky things, and my personal, non-bloggish account. I communicate with my family mostly by email, because it’s easier for me that way. Unless I’m emailing someone I don’t know, I usually can’t be bothered with formalities like salutations or sign-offs. I just say what I have to say, and that’s it. I’m unlikely to initiate email contact unless I have something to say. It’s not that I don’t like email contact with people; it just doesn’t spontaneously pop into my mind as something to do. Actually, very little spontaneously pops into my mind in general. I need some sort of cue to get the wheels turning.

I have an iPhone, but don’t use it much, and I’ve got it set so that it doesn’t notify me of anything other than incoming calls or text messages. Sometime last year I stopped answering the phone unless it was someone I knew. With my speech being slow, I really dislike talking on the phone (not that I ever did like it). The only person I talk to sometimes is my one in-person friend; otherwise, we text. It seems like using phones as actual phones seems to be going the way of the dodo bird, which I’m fine with. It annoys me when businesses insist on phone rather than using email.

Social media seems to be a popular way of communicating, but I’m too much of a dinosaur to have much of a clue about that. For some reason, I’m more okay with Google handling my communication than Facebook. The whole Facebook/Messenger/Instagram megalith creeps me out in ways that for whatever reason Google doesn’t.

So yeah, that’s me. What are your main way(s) of communicating with the world?

54 thoughts on “How Do You Communicate?”

  1. I can totally relate to your journey through tech, since we’re the same age. AOL, what a riot!! Did you ever use it? And oh my gosh, the login screech. I remember my bank account becoming overdrawn, and I’d go the bank and say, “This $60 charge from AOL was something that I didn’t authorize. And, um, same with this one.” And they’d say, “Oh,” rather knowingly and make it go away. (Yeah, AOL kept billing me for stuff they claimed I clicked on, but I know I didn’t.)

    And then… chat rooms!! Oh my goodness, those were dreadful. I’m glad social media is more… well, it’s better than chat rooms were. Let’s just put it that way.

    I love email communication, and I also talk to Sonya and a few other people through FB messaging. I talk to my mom on my dad’s landline phone, and I love sending and receiving snail mail, so oftentimes I’ll send birthday cards, etc.

  2. I also hate using the phone, like lots of people with autism and/or social anxiety.

    I didn’t use emojis until I started dating PIMOJ about six months ago. As English isn’t her first language, emojis are useful to clarify messages in a way that isn’t always easy with words.

  3. My first mobile phone in my 20’s. Around that time when I first used internet, which was those pay as you go dongles.

    I first started using smilies in chat hangouts, or Skype, when I used to use that.

    My preferred way, is email, or text and writing letters sometimes.
    I have three emails for the same purpose as how you use yours.
    I don’t answer my mobile phone if it happens to ring out the blue. Its very rarer it happens, but if it does, then they either don’t know me, or they are not observing my communication preferences.

      1. No, I wouldn’t either. My phone is usually very quiet when it comes to someone phoning. It is very rare. It’s mostly by people, like doctors for example, that should know better of my communication preferences.

      1. It’s the worst when you are texting someone and they ring… I just stare at the phone on horror until it stops then text to see what they want 😂😂😂 although my nan has just discovered FaceTime which is quite fun 😂😂 it blows her mind!

        1. I bet! In situations like that I wait a couple of minutes before texting the person so it’s not quite as obvious that I ignored their call. 😉

  4. What are your main way(s) of communicating with the world? Via landline phone (hung on the wall of course, but portable so I can carry the handset around with me). I also email. My cell phone sits un-used and it’s so rare that I text any more that I’m forgetting how (deliberately). Even with the landline, it’s rare I answer the phone. It doesn’t ring that much in the first place and I have been chewed out a little over my failure to answer the phone in the time frame some folks seem to expect. I suppose my communication skills could use a polish, but it’s fine with me just as things stand.

  5. What’s app is my main means of communicating which is another form of texting. I drive my parents mad because they want phone conversations and I often opt out of that. I prefer to text them. I email mostly with work colleagues. Not so much outside of work. I have an Instagram account but I don’t use it to communicate with others and never post. I don’t use Facebook and gave no interest in Twitter. I interact via comments on blogs. I remember at uni having a shared ‘halls of residence’ phone. People would call, you’d answer if you were passing, out a call out on a speaker system and leave the receiver hanging there! Funny!! And if you arranged to meet someone you went, and you were on time. There was no way to cancel last minute or say you were running late!!!

  6. We are twins: Text is okay. Have 3 email addresses for the different worlds we inhabit. Detest talking on phone. If we can’t see you and we have to talk to you, we are very uncomfortable. Even if we can see you, we would prefer not to talk to you! Video calls are worse than telephone for us. We can take our time in writing. No rush. We make fewer major gaffes that reveal our flaws. We tend not to reach out to anyone. We feel too inadequate

  7. Emails and texts are my go-tos. I like phone calls to be brief unless it’s an interview for my podcast. Social media communication stresses me out even though I’m only on IG.

  8. I grew up very much the same way with the phone. My ways of communicating now is through texting or social media. I do have an iphone but I find it quicker to text someone then phone them

  9. I communicate via phone or text and email. That’s about it these days. The only time I answer an unknown call is if I am doing business with someone in that timeframe. I do not like robocalls or calls from people I don’t know. Hell, I even dislike calls from some people I do know! 🙂

  10. I really hate talking to people on the phone too, which is in a way only to be expected since I have social anxiety and other things which make you hate phone calls, but on the other hand I’m blind, and people say that what creeps them out the most about phone calls is that they can’t see the person they’re talking to, which is obviously not a problem for me and I’m not really sure what makes it a problem, more of a problem than in-person. I don’t like in-person communication either unless I feel reasonably at ease with someone, but it’s very rare that, having a choice of talking to someone face to face vs on the phone, I’d choose the phone. The only way of communication I hate more than phone calls is Zooms & Skypes & co. I love the idea of working from home but I am so thankful that I don’t have to be one of the people using Zoom or any other similar thing during this pandemic. Sometimes me and Sofi will Facetime when we’re away from each other, which is very rarely too.
    For me it’s also true that being a phone is only a secondary role of my phone, something really unusual has to be going on for me to answer a call from someone I don’t know or recognise, and I hardly talk on the phone or text anyone else other than my family. Because my family live with me, this is quite rarely.
    I really love writing though and it’s always my preferred way of communication or expression so it also really irks me when some businesses prioritise phone calls so much over email. I used to be part of a blind online community, where people could message each other, blog, write on forums and such and that was a lot of fun, I was blogging there for years and made some good friends or kept in touch with my school friends at home, until at some point I decided I want outta there because I started feeling like I wanted something different and I didn’t feel entirely comfortable with almost all the people there either knowing me in person, or knowing someone who knows me.
    I also used to do chatrooms and other such real time written communication stuff. I used to do Omegle a lot and have a lot of funny and absolutely bizarre stories from it, but yes, I was able to actually have meaningful conversations on it about something other than sex. Also there’s a Polish instant messaging platform called GG, which was already getting a bit archaic by the time I joined and now people my Sofi’s age don’t even know what it is, but I used it a lot for quick communication with people online.
    But I don’t really like such instant communication, because what I love about writing is that I can think of what I want to say, I can edit it, I can take a break to recharge or go to the loo and go back to what I was writing later on, I can delete everything and remake it from scratch or just decide I actually don’t want to write anything, without having someone on the other end sitting and waiting for me to respond ASAP. So in the end, after writing with someone like that I was always feeling almost the same as if we were talking normally, and I was constantly worried that I wrote something wrong – I always do anyway but having to send it instantly made it a lot more of a problem. – Ohhhh and I hate people knowing when I read their message or when I’m typing, this is invigilation 😀 and I always disable things like this on WhatsApp and the like now. But I guess some years ago I felt a bit pressured to communicate with people this way. Now I can’t be bothered and the only instant messaging apps I use are WHatsApp and Signal, although it’s mostly with family and some friends.
    Now I have pen pals in different countries, or should I say epals since we exchange emails, and I love a good old email, and the longer the better. Usually my pen pals come and go, because penpalling is a commitment and while it appeals to many people, not everyone is actually able to do it as people are usually busy, and sometimes we just aren’t the right fit for each other, but I have a few long-term pen pals who have stood the test of time for years. I totally don’t understand some people like my Mum’s age or older whining about how we’re living in awful times, that everything was better in the past because people wrote traditional letters, which were so personal and full of emotions and authenticity and now people only write those horrible soulless emails which don’t take even five minutes and there’s no human connection or warmth or anything. Yes, traditional letters are absolutely amazing and full of character and I’d love to be able to write them regularly if it was more easily doable for me. But who said that emails must be short and soulless? I do write short emails with some people and that’s okay, but with some, we have really long and detailed correspondence. The way me and my other pen pal write with each other, I don’t think people in the Victorian times were a lot better at it than us. 😀 I also use such an apparently obsolete thing as mailing lists.
    I was never hugely into social media as they are a bit overwhelming and intimidating, and Facebook is downright creepy plus simply not my cup of tea, but I’ve been on Twitter for years, although mostly using it as a sort of extension of my RSS reader or a place to lurk on when something interesting for me is going on rather than a medium of communication.
    I really like emojis for the same reason as you, even though, being blind, sometimes I’m not sure what exactly they mean as sometimes it happens that the way a certain emoji is described by screen readers doesn’t convey all the contexts in which it can be used and people are more flexible with interpreting them, and also I don’t know all that much about body language/facial expressions and such, but Emojipedia comes in handy. I still tend to use plain emoticons from characters more often than proper emojis because that’s what I’m used to more and it’s faster. Also I am more likely to use any emojis on the computer rather than on the phone, as I find searching for emojis on iOS with VoiceOver rather inconvenient.
    I guess the length of this comment really proves I like writing. 😀

  11. I could use my cybersecurity chops to scare you off of Google too but I’m not that mean, lmao

    I’ve been thinking about communication today as well. How we’ve gotten accustomed to mainly sharing our shower thoughts with anyone who happens across them instead of having pointed discussions with specific people. I read an essay a while ago about how written communication uses a completely different circuit than verbal communication and if people say the things they write out loud, often we find them to be quite stupid. Lol

    Apart from my general laziness, that continues to give me pause when it comes to writing. Even in more informal situations like Discord chat rooms, I find myself drifting into that weirdly narcissistic area of sharing things nobody asked about or cares about. Everyone there does it. It’s like a room full of people all having separate conversations with someone who never responds, and they don’t even notice.

    1. i guess my thinking with Google is that they know more about me than I do, and there’s really no way I’m getting around that, so why not put a lot of my eggs in Google’s basket.

      A friend of mine used to try dictating his papers for school. It was a disaster because spoken language looked ridiculous written down.

      It surprises me for some reason that chat rooms still exist. Perhaps it’s that appeal of the separate conservations with no one responding.

      1. They (chat rooms) are coming back in a major way, partly due to the quarantine we all went through but also because people are tired of the social media format of having their conversations visible to the entire world in which the casual alcoholic uncle of your friend’s neighbor can interject his toxic logic. Lol

        1. But who knows, you might just end up chatting with a different neighbour who just happens to have dead bodies in the basement. Although I guess Tor is probably more his style.

  12. Long gone are the days of a handwritten letter. My ways of communicating is, my landline phone(cell phone is too expensive) and email.
    I do have an app on my Fire 7 tablet that I use only for my daughter that for under six dollars they give me a phone number. With that I can text and receive text from her.
    The other only way for me to communicate is here on WordPress.

    1. I’m not sure if you have Freedom Mobile there. It’s owned by Shaw and it’s a lot cheaper than the major players, so my cell phone with them costs pretty much the same as a landline.

  13. I was so fast at dialing a rotary phone as a child. And we never had to put in the area code.
    I don’t know about party lines but it would probably annoy me to have the clicking, thinking someone would be listening in…

  14. It’s definitely interesting to see how things have changed, and pretty quickly, too. When I was a teenager it was dial up internet, like you had. I remember getting annoyed because I wanted to get on MSN Messenger for chats with people as a teenager but I had to wait for my dad to get off the computer (he could use nothing except a single game, which he got addicted to at the start of his retirement!) or when my mum wasn’t using the landline. Then once I got online… the connection would continually drop out. Good times 😆 I quite like Emojis now as well. Never used to. I was good with the phone when at work but I don’t much like talking on phones in my private life so I prefer emails as well, and I’m still a laptop girl. I can’t do everything on my phone or a tablet like the ‘young ones do these days’, which makes me feel suddenly very old… xx

    1. Yes, competition was an issue in my household too. One computer, one phone line, and a curious brother who always wanted to know what chat room I was on… I’m actually glad, though, that we grew up before everyone was glued to heir devices all day long.

  15. I use whatsapp more than phone calls just to keep in touch with peoples. I think phone calls are better to actually communicate with people. And social medias are just time killers but yes sometimes you can get news from social media however you can’t trust all of them.

  16. I suck at communicating unless I’m playfully yelling at our kids in the backyard over my husband’s music. Ha ha!

    At first, I used to be a social media junkie. However, I am mostly either on WordPress, Weebly, Crunchyroll, Google Docs, or texting my husband about the random quirks our kids are doing. Oh yeah, can’t forget about Yahoo! email either!!!

      1. Oh goodness!
        My husband and I watch anime a lot, and I got him hooked on a few of my favorite shows. So, we use Crunchyroll to watch everything 😂

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