WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Pollsters taking the pulse of voters this political season are confronting growing obstacles from cell phones — and an electorate that is increasingly walling itself off with caller ID and answering machines.Answering machines? In an article about modern technology, that seems kind of retro. I get the concept, but isn’t voice mail more prevalent than answering machines now? Or am I off-base simply because I personally don’t know very many people who have an actual answering machine? Not that I’m intimate with everyone’s telephone equipment, but I can honestly say I know only one person, for sure, that uses an answering machine. And this guy is definitely telephone low-tech. He only has a cell phone when whatever women he happens to be dating at the time requires him to have one (how did women keep track of men before cells?). So do people still use answering machines and I’m just being a com-tech snob?
Coincidentally, this is in alignment with something else I was thinking about the other day. I was looking up a phone number online and wondered why we still need phone books (answer: a lot of us don’t!). That got me to thinking about what other things I used ten years ago on a regular basis but are now obsolete. The phone book, the answering machine and the caller ID box were about all I could think of. Maybe I just had phones on the brain but it seemed to me that was about it. Everything having to do with telephone communications has changed in the last decade. But is there more? I’d say the VCR is pretty darn close these days but not quite there for me.