An adventurous woman noticed the social void caused by texting and instant messaging and started a company that teaches phone skills to young people. But can it help solve the moral problems of an age of superficial, self-centered relationships?
Smartphones are supposed to have made the unprecedented era of communications possible. Everyone, especially the youth, uses these devices to connect with anyone, anytime, anywhere. With the touch of a screen, a whole world of instant information and contacts is at your fingertips. Excellent relationships should be thriving.
However, many young people need help to talk directly to others using their smartphones. Everything happens through impersonal tweets or text messages. As a result, many feel cold and distant from devices that should transmit the opposite.
One adventurous woman noticed the social void and started a company that teaches phone skills to the hyper-communicative crowd.
Mary Jane Cobbs was called phone lady. She says that younger generations no longer possess the telephone skills that facilitated human relationships in the past. These same skills are still needed in the real world of human and business relationships.
Thus, business leaders and social leaders find that many experience anxiety when talking directly to people, even their mothers, on the line. Nobody bothered to teach Gen Z phone skills.
This is more than just a technical issue. It implies a problem rooted in iPhone culture. Texting and instant messaging are designed to make contacts easy and instant. A young man, for example, does not need to know or know personally who is receiving his message. Feels free to interrupt whatever the other person is doing and expects a quick response. Confrontation is distant, brutal and detached from the social context.
Even worse, the instant messaging culture lacks nuance. Primitive texts cannot convey context and tone. At most, the emotion is limited to exclamation marks, hats, and the occasional emoji. Often the recipient of a message has no real way of knowing whether the text is intended to convey anger, neutrality, or warmth. The wide range of human feelings, emotions and feelings cannot find adequate expression in the short text.
The richness of the human voice
On the one hand, the human voice is unusually expressive and rich. The sound can indicate doubt, enthusiasm, joy, sadness, and anxiety in just a few words. By its intensity, the voice can whisper and scream. The speed of sound conveys deliberation or indifference.
However, what causes Gen Z anxiety about a voice call is conversation, not nuance or context. A phone call forces a person to engage in real time with another person. A person has to improvise and absorb another person. Conversation forces a person to think about the other person, and not about themselves. It takes effort, kindness, and benevolence.
The conversation introduces an element of the unknown that must be addressed immediately. This causes anxiety among the new generations.
Training sessions $480
The phone lady addresses these concerns, seemingly without fear of imposing too much. Her one-on-one coaching sessions cost $480 an hour. Thirty-minute webinars cost $365. Companies can get a workshop for non-phone Gen Zers for $3,500 a day.
Text messaging removal therapy typically begins with customers abstaining from all instant messaging. To overcome fear of the unknown, clients are encouraged to call family and friends to chat or when they want something.
“If they weren’t used to talking on the phone with their mother, the process would be very intimidating,” explains Ms. Cobb. “So I can’t say I’m going to have them contact potential clients because they’re going to fall apart — we start with their family or someone they know.”
At random times of the day, the telephone lady will call customers to practice conversations and build improvisation skills. From there, she teaches reaching out to unknown clients and developing business relationships that go beyond just email and text messaging. Companies willingly pay for these services because real life requires these skills, which many lack.
The smartphone took basic communication skills from users. In fact, it seems almost surreal that someone like the phone lady should exist. Basic personal contact with others is so natural that it should not be taught to adults.
Ironically, those who lack these skills hold a tool in their hands that can help them overcome their embarrassing problem. They can overcome loneliness and anxiety by mustering up the courage to call someone and talk to them for help and comfort.
The smartphone contributes to the era of superficial and self-centered relationships. Everything is centered on the device, which becomes a medium through which a lot can be seen. People deny themselves the immense satisfaction of developing direct human interactions by refusing personal interaction. The cute screen also replaces those basic character-building conflicts and arguments and adds spice to life.
The phone lady may help a person overcome a tangible handicap. However, it cannot solve the ethical problems of a culture based on personal gratification and comfort. God created humans as social beings who find their fulfillment and sanctification in relationships with others. The preferred smartphone option for texting understandably leads to frustration and anxiety.
Unfortunately, the smartphone is not very smart.
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Featured image is courtesy pixabay. Image courtesy of Mrs. Cobbs Facebook page.