Remember running to the phone to make sure you didn’t miss a call? Yeah, no one does that anymore.

One reason is the sheer number of options people have for getting in touch with you: texting, messaging apps, even email. Calling someone for a quick question just isn’t done anymore.

Alexis C. Madrigal, writing for The Atlantic, talks about the history of phone culture and why it’s in decline. A key reason, especially recently, is spam calls.

But in the last couple years, there is a more specific reason for eyeing my phone’s ring warily. Perhaps 80 or even 90 percent of the calls coming into my phone are spam of one kind or another. Now, if I hear my phone buzzing from across the room, at first I’m excited if I think it’s a text, but when it keeps going, and I realize it’s a call, I won’t even bother to walk over. My phone only rings one or two times a day, which means that I can go a whole week without a single phone call coming in that I (or Apple’s software) can even identify, let alone want to pick up.

This kind of sucks, because it means you can’t call people and expect them to pick up. This is why I always text someone before calling, asking whether it’s a good time to talk.

But if you’d like to answer the phone without worrying about spam there are a few things you can try. You can automatically block spam calls on your iPhone, and on Android. If you have a landline you can add yourself to the Do Not Call registry, but that will only help so much.

None of these are going to stop all the spam calls, meaning people aren’t going to be excited to pick up their phones again any time soon. Text before calling if that bothers you.

Justin Pot Justin Pot
Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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