I’m not typically one to reminisce about the good ’ol days, but something is happening that I’ve predicted for some time and may cause some to get nostalgic. Land line telephone communications are on the verge of being obsolete.
They may still have some business being used specifically for businesses, but as far as personal land lines go, they are a thing of the past.
Stats Canada numbers show that 50 per cent of those between 18 and 34 years old use cellphones exclusively, with no land line in the house. That number is only going to rise. I had my first cellphone when I left for college. Now, it’s unheard of for someone to go through high school without a mobile, and surely there are five-year-olds texting each other emoticons right now.
It’s not like there is a large gap between these years of the start of college and now. I’m not talking about different generations here. I still have a sister in high school.
That 50 per cent is certain to climb and in 20 years, when those people are 40 to 60, I don’t imagine they’ll just jump back on the land line bandwagon.
I’ve noted before that I don’t really know anybody with a land line. Nobody I grew up with has one. It’s not something we need.
Land lines for businesses are different. For news agencies, it’s important to have a localized number to call like most businesses. Nobody wants to advertise multiple phone numbers for their business. There will be a place for these phone lines for companies, but not in our personal lives.
One reason they may stick around is for nostalgia’s sake, as people are hesitant to make the change fully.
I have no fond memories of something so bland as a land line phone, but I remember some awesome stories my grandfather has about the old-school telephone system.
These are from the really old days, back when he said someone would make a phone call, and everybody’s phone on the block would ring. Each home would have a certain number of rings I believe, so when it did your ring, you would pick it up. Of course, anybody could pick up their phones and listen in. Apparently my great grandmother was quite the gossip and just loved listening in on other people’s conversations.
That would be reason enough to keep a system around, but our land lines have no possibilities as exciting as simple eavesdropping.
Are land lines part of our communication future?
While I feel like land lines are rapidly becoming less and less important, I don’t see them going anywhere.
I spend all day, every day, calling land lines. Because I’m always calling businesses or communications departments, and they all have land lines. I call them from my own personal landline too. My landline is heavy and grey, and has a spirally cord and a spot to hook my recorder to. It’s very awesome.
With current cellphone technology, it would be impractical to call a business on a cellphone. This is how I see it going:
Tonaya: Hi, I’m calling for the manager?
Employee: Oh hi, well this is the cellphone for the front desk. You can call our manager on his work cellphone at 555-5555. Or I can run this phone up four floors to deliver the call to him.
Tonaya: … Yes, run up the stairs.
I guess this could be beneficial to the health of administrative assistants. They’d be getting in a lot of jogging. But calls sometimes get dropped in elevators, and I know I’d feel guilty if the employee I asked to run up four floors fainted or had a heart attack on his travels.
Land lines are just better for business. They don’t need to be charged. They’re harder to lose. They don’t get scratched up in your purse. They’re all interconnected.
The only advantage I can see in ditching land lines is that I’d have an excuse for failing to transfer calls. I’m frequently required to answer the phone at work, and I constantly lose callers in the maze that is inter-office land lines. If my cellphone “accidentally” dropped a call, that would be SaskTel’s fault, not due to my incompetence.