Using Phones To Talk?!

What do you use your cell phone for most of the time? A few years ago, the answer to that question would’ve been “phone calls” for all but the die-hard CrackBerry addicts. Today, with the option of using phones for everything from texting to sending pictures to accessing the Internet, it is unlikely that the service that you use your phone for most frequently is actually placing or answering voice calls. However, times could be changing again and announcements from three major companies seem to indicate that voice communication could be finding a toehold in the cell phone business once again.

Recent announcements in the world of mobile phones include the launch of Google Voice, the debut of Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Communications Manager and the development of Skype mobile VoIP for the iPhone. All three of these announcements are related to the launch of new types of voice-based services for cell phones. What all three have in common is that they also feature modern use of advanced cell phone technology to enhance voice calls so that they become more than just voice communication.

I’m curious to see how this area of mobile phone use develops over the next couple of years. There’s been a big push towards unified communications in which your mobile and landline experiences as well as your PC and phone experiences are all merged much more seamlessly than they are today. The developments in voice communication for mobile phones seem to be taking us further in that direction. Interesting how a return to the original use of phones may be a key feature of moving us forward in their development.


Relationships Change When We Change

I recently wrote an article with 20 Tips for Dealing with Difficult People. What the common denominator for almost all of these tips ended up being was that you really need to deal with difficult people by changing yourself rather than them. This is a firm belief that I have for all situations that are making us unhappy. We can rarely change the circumstances around us and can even more rarely change the others within those circumstances but we can always work to change ourselves.

We like to believe that it is the people around us who are causing trouble for our lives. Although the problems that we face do often come to us in the form of conflict with another person, the solutions lie almost entirely within ourselves. How we opt to take in information, react to situations and deal with our own feelings about things is all up to us and that’s something that can entirely alter the situations that we find ourselves in.

For example, your husband goes on a business trip and doesn’t call you when he arrives even though you think that he should. You get angry. And then you get worried. And then you get anxious because you’re wondering where he is and what he’s really doing and why he hasn’t called and who he’s doing things with and … you make yourself crazy and angry. And when he calls, you express this anger and the two of you get into an argument.

In your mind, this entire thing was caused by the fact that your husband didn’t call. In reality, it was caused by your own belief that he should’ve called and your choice about how you reacted to it. Yes, he could’ve been doing god knows what with god knows who or he could’ve been lying in a ditch somewhere but neither of those things would have been altered by your own over-the-top reaction. You can choose to simply not react in this manner and save yourself a lot of chaos in your mind.

This isn’t to say that your husband shouldn’t call if he said he was going to. It’s to say that you can choose healthier options for your own mind and healthier ways of communicating your feelings. You can wait until your husband gets home to discuss how this made you feel and what you wish could be different next time. And you can give him the room to react accordingly. You can choose to be different if you want your relationships to be different.


Using Online Social Networking for Real Communication

I wrote an article earlier today over at my Real Words blog all about how I’ve seen a recent shift in the way that my online social networking communication is taking place. In the past, I’ve had two types of connections online. First, there were my friends in real life who I chatted about normal stuff with on sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. And then there were people who I know only from online who would add me to those sites just to send me links to their online work.

What I’ve noticed recently is that more and more people on these sites are truly interested in starting real conversations. The line between my real life friends and my online friends is starting to blur. People I don’t know are asking me how my day is going and responding to my general status updates. They are inviting me to meet them in the real world or at least expressing an interest in knowing what my real world is like.

At the same time, my real world friendships are getting closer as a result of staying more frequently updated with everyone’s activities online. I know that this revelation isn’t new – many people have experienced this with online social networking. But I still sense an even greater shift in this going on right now, at least in my own life, and I’m excited to see how it develops.