It's the season of togetherness, but this year keeping friends and family safe means staying home. According to Travelocity’s 2020 Holiday Outlook survey, some 60 percent of Americans reported they wouldn’t be traveling this holiday season. Across the country and around the world, calendars that would normally be full of travel plans, festive gatherings and lavish gift exchanges are oddly empty.
As this year winds down, it’s hard not to notice the weariness that’s come from shifting almost every area of our lives — from work to school, workouts to happy hours — to some form of video call.
Yes, we also have a screengrab of that Turkey Day video call with our New Normally distant relatives. After nine months of staring at a screen, we all look … tired. Which really shouldn’t come as a surprise, given we now live in a world where “Zoom fatigue” is a thing. (There’s well documented science behind that energy drain!)
This year’s “mass migration to video,” the Wall Street Journal recently wrote, “revealed virtual meeting rooms to be places for unexpected guests, exasperating muting, frozen screens and the open invitation for strangers to judge your virtual backdrops.” And in a recent study highlighted by LinkedIn News, over a quarter of the thousand respondents surveyed said that since the shift to video back in March, “the practicality and novelty of video calls have worn off.” Another quarter called video calls "inefficient and exhausting.”
You know what else they said? That they'd prefer to use … the phone!
That’s right, the phone!
You might have forgotten, but your mobile phone can actually make voice-only calls — no video required.
Not too long ago, terms like "phone date" and "dial in" were part of our everyday vernacular. But 2020 has fundamentally upended the communication status quo. In this physically distanced era, we've traded phone dates for FaceTime and conference calls for WebEx meetings, and video calls have increasingly dominated our day-to-day.
T-Mobile has found that, while voice calls fell off sharply at the beginning of the pandemic, as so many of us shifted to new work, school and play realities, they’ve rebounded to pre-pandemic volumes. If you look a little closer, there's another bit of data that speaks to our desire for that old fashioned communication: The average time spent on a voice call has jumped more than 30 percent in the same time period. When we find ourselves on a phone call, we're finding it much harder to hang up.
So consider giving yourself and others a gift this holiday season — mute the endless video gatherings and reconnect with your mobile ... by using it as a phone.
Another Old School Option? Send a Handwritten Holiday Card from Your Mobile!
Want to send a handwritten note or holiday card to loved ones you’re missing this year, but want to avoid the post office thrush or haven’t had a pen handy for years? There’s an app for that! Services like Handwrytten and Postable allow you to send handwritten notes to family and friends just by tapping away at your device. Simply type in your message and the receiver’s address, and the apps will generate a handwritten letter or holiday card and take care of the mailing for you. Sending holiday cheer has never been easier in a socially distant world!