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Donkin's World: It's Good To Talk

Richard Donkin deplores the demise of the phone call.

Time was, when you wanted to speak with someone you picked up the phone and if they were busy they either rang you back or said: "no comment." Now you get some assistant asking to schedule a call. It never works.

I have 20 web-pages open, I've been researching all afternoon, sent emails here, put calls there and I see an email saying that the man I'm scheduled to speak with in five minutes can't make that call but he could speak right now. The email was sent an hour ago. I'm not one of those email junkies checking every minute. Why the hell didn't she, or he for that matter, just pick up the phone and call me?

The answer is that people have stopped using phones for chat. They much prefer long winded emails and messages. I heard of one company - Ferrari I think it is - where people have been rationed to a handful of emails a day. About time.

I'm up on emails, twitter, Facebook, all that stuff. I'm linked-in, plugged-in, wired and wireless. In fact I'm sure the last time I looked I saw a TV dish growing out of the back of my head. We have all this stuff and you know what? None of it beats a quick phone call, saying what you have to say. But people don't do that any more, even when you get them on the phone. You ask a detail and they tell you to look at the website. People used to know their stuff. Not any more. Only the internet knows stuff now except you start reading a web page and something you want - some really obvious fundamental thing - is missing.

So here we are in the networked 2010s picking around, pulling the peas and carrots from an information stew. No point looking for meat. It's all gristle.

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