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This I Believe: I Believe In The Telephone

Essayist Jake Haplea.

I believe in the telephone. 

In today's hyper connected world, personal communication is an incredibly easy task with the ubiquity of social media and instant messaging. But, a downside of these new methods of communication is that they can sometimes be overwhelming. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say the swarms of notifications on my phone and computer cause me to waste more time than I'd like to admit. On Instagram, for instance, I've wasted countless hours scrolling through my feed and messaging. Last month, when I checked how much time I spent on that app, I was downright embarrassed. 

So, how can we improve the quality of our social interactions rather than the quantity in 21st centuy life? I believe a way to address this is by taking a step back in time to another piece of technology, the telephone. The telephone remedies the issue of focus that I and many others often deal with online. The voices of thousands are present on social media and the internet, but in a phone conversation, it's you and whoever's on the other end of the line.

But a phone call isn't just a means of restricting our interactions. Instead, it can help us in ways that social media sometimes can't. For instance, the intimacy of calling a friend or family member can help alleviate some of the loneliness that we all tend to feel. Every couple of days, I make sure to call my mother and father. Hearing my parents voice always makes me feel more comfortable, no matter the situation. I recall during some of my most difficult times, calling home and asking for advice lifted my spirits. During my final exams last semester, there were times where I felt completely overwhelmed and inept, both socially and academically. Self-doubt crept into my mind, and the pressure to do my best made me feel like I was going to shatter. But, the reassuring voices of my mother and father helped me push through and restored my confidence, which helped me to achieve and become a better person. 

Now, I know I sound like a technophobe when I criticize modern technology, but it has provided us with many more benefits than drawbacks. For example, social media has connected me with people I would never have been able to find on my own. Even so, I hope people in my generation Don't forget about the phone. It's easy to get caught up in the momentum of the modern world and forget how important it is to hear someone's voice. Instead, let's remember to use technology to stay connected with others through actual conversation. I'd say that apps like FaceTime and Skype, take the quality of a call to the next level with their video component. So, don't be shy. Give someone you care about a call. I guarantee it will be appreciated. The human voice is a powerful thing, and even though modern communication has surpassed it in some respects, it should remain a valuable part of our lives. 

I believe in the telephone.