I think I could live quite happily without the "phone" part of my mobile phone. Other than taking press briefings and calling my parents, I rarely use my iPhone for actual calls. I'd rather text or IM. But according to survey results released today, it looks like my preferred methods of communication don't match most Americans'.
A survey of 2300 adults, conducted by Harris Interactive and sponsored by the VOIP service Rebtel, found that Americans still overwhelmingly prefer to communicate by voice. 74% of respondents said that the phone was how they keep in touch with friends and 81% said it's their preferred method of communicating with family members.
Although text-messaging and social networking have no doubt changed some of the ways we communicate, they have yet to unseat voice and the phone as the primary communication tool. "Today's results are a tell-tale sign that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and nothing comes close to replacing the familiar sound of a loved one's voice at the other end of the line," says Andreas Bernstrom, Rebtel's CEO.
The survey does lump "voice" into one category, which is a pity as it would be interesting to see the breakdown between traditional phone calls and VOIP services, like Rebtel and Skype - in terms of both usage and preference. Regarding the video calling that some VOIP services offer, however, the numbers still look quite low: 13% use video chat to talk to family, 9% use it to talk to friends and just 6% use it to talk to their significant other.
The survey looks at the preferences for communicating with friends, family, significant others and co-workers. In three of those four categories, voice is the number one choice. When it comes to our work colleagues, however, we prefer to send email: 43% of respondents said they would choose email, 33% would choose voice/phone, 12% would text, and just 6% would use social networking sites to communicate with co-workers.
It's interesting, despite pronouncements about the death of email, to see that method continue to rank so highly. In fact, there was very little difference in the usage of phone and email across these groups, with the notable exception of communicating with a significant other: 85% use the phone, 58% text, and just 56% use email.
Photo credits: Flickr user plenty.r