While the telephone has been our predominant form of staying in touch over long distances for over a hundred years, the modern technology landscape is rich with alternative modes of communication. Even in the cordless telephone's earliest days, older forms of long distance communication gave everyone an alternative, like good old letters or technology more primitive still – say, a smoke signal.
But these days, it has become possible to get a hold of people far and wide without starting a huge fire, or waiting for the mail service. Lets take a look at just a few of the ways to go phoneless in 2015.
Viva la Internet!
Since its earliest inception, the internet has been offering users something of an alternative to the phone system.
Early internet communications technologies such as e-mail and message boards tend to lend themselves by the nature of their technology to slower, more gradual conversations. Although e-mail communication can be accomplished instantaneously, the medium has always been looked at e-mail more as supplanting old school snail mail than something challenges the telephone.
Instant messaging services and messengers built into modern social media, on the other hand, provide a much more direct and “live” connection. While they don't quite have the immediacy of a vocal conversation, they do promote something of a more spontaneous and natural mode of conversation than e-mail.
Of course if you're truly looking for an internet based replacement for the phone, you probably don't want to go completely text based. But in our quest to be phoneless, we'll probably find ourselves utilising instant messengers and e-mail a bit more. But the internet's true “phone killer” lies in Voice Over IP.
Talkin' Through the Web
As soon as technology allowed for it, the popularity of Voice Over IP (VoIP) services which allowed people to communicate vocally through the internet has exploded. Services like Skype now offer complete replacement potential for home phones, since they can even be configured to have their own phone numbers which can be called from regular mobiles or land lines.
Skype can run on a computer, on a tablet, even on a smart phone or a VoIP phone if you want to abandon the telecom companies but not the phone itself. Since Skype also offer video calling and text chatting, it is in many ways far more versatile than the comparative one trick ponies of traditional phones. Or, you could run a love child of the two - a Skype phone.
Various messaging apps which either provide direct text communications, or encourage an alternative mode of communication such as SnapChat, are also worth looking into for anyone who has decided to go phoneless. While certainty not candidates for primary methods of communication, such services can be helpful for keeping in touch with at least some of your contacts.
Or Stick With What Works!
While its certainly possible, there is still no reason to do away with your phone! You'll probably miss it. Maybe its even time to upgrade that old home phone system to something a bit more modern.