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To Connect with Friends, Phone Beats Facebook

If you talk to someone on the phone, you're fully focused on each other . / Credit: Phones beat Facebook in connecting people image via Shutterstock

Want to know how a lemming feels? Try keeping up with friends and family using only Facebook, Twitter and other social media. You get pretty much the same story if you’re the fifth one heading over the cliff or the 50th. Hearing a person's voice via a good old-fashioned phone call is a far richer experience than simply seeing words on a screen, according to a new international study.

While that may seem intuitive, the survey of 3,500 adults across four continents offered some intriguing findings that contradict long-held stereotypes. In the U.K., for example, the survey showed that men speak on the phone most frequently, not women.

FooTalk, a smartphone app that lets users make low-cost calls, commissioned the survey.

In the U.S., the study found that men have a larger circle of friends abroad than do women and spend twice as long on the phone as their female counterparts.

"The classic joke is that it's the girls who are on the phone the most," said Susan Qulliam, a relationship psychologist. "But in reality, it's the guys who are becoming bigger fans of phone conversations. If you talk to someone on the phone, you're fully focused on each other, minute to minute. Add that to the fact that calls are also fully and instantly responsive, immediate and interactive, and phone calls remain a great way of connecting with someone and sharing their ordinary daily life, even if they're far away."

Given the new flow of talent across the globe, it makes sense that respondents from India had more friends and families living abroad than did other nationalities.

"People are traveling the world for work and pleasure more than ever, so we often now boast a truly international group of friends," said Graeme Hutchinson, founding managing team-member of Virgin Mobile and co-founder of FooTalk. "Therefore, we want and need ways to stay in touch with each other that are free or very low cost.

"Facebook and Twitter might keep you abreast of your friends’ lives, but there’s always more to be had from a conversation."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.