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Monday, 01 September 2014 10:37

Art of conversation 'dying' Featured

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Almost three in five Aussies say they call their family and friends less frequently since the rise of social media, according to newly released research.

It seems the art of conversation, at least on the phone, is dying thanks to Twitter, Facebook and social media. Out of a survey of more than 1,000 Australians, nearly four out of five (79%) believe social media and technology are causing us to lose the art of conversation.

63% said it’s easier to text a friend or a loved one instead of calling for a chat, though three out of five Aussies (60%) wish they received more phone calls from their nearest and dearest.|

A huge four out of five Aussie socia media users (82%) admit that speaking on the phone actually makes them feelmore connected to people than social media interaction.

Virgin Mobile, who conducted the research, said it has joined forces with R U OK? in a bid to encourage Aussies to have more conversations with loved ones, signing on as the not-for-profit’s official ‘conversation partner’. Customers free calls to their friends and family within Australia on 11 September (R U OK?Day), encouraging people to pick up the phone and ask someone if they’re ‘ok’.

R U OK? aims to prevent suicide by encouraging people to have regular, meaningful conversations throughout the year to help anyone who might be struggling with life.

"We’re dedicated to continuing to make mobile better and are proud to be partnering with R U OK? to champion the power and importance of conversation – not just on R U OK?Day, but every day," said David Scribner, Head of Virgin Mobile Australia.

“Nine out of ten Aussies surveyed said they feel genuinely cared about when they get a phone call from a loved one. We have all been guilty of sending a quick text or Facebook message instead of picking up the phone soit’s a timely reminder that a call could really make a difference to that person’s day.”

Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group, has also backed the campaign and recorded a video message for all Australians about the importance of conversation, encouraging them to reach out to loved ones this R U OK?Day

 “I was fortunate enough to meet the late, great Nelson Mandela, who told me that in Africa many disputes were taken to the elders of the tribe," Branson said. "Peter Gabriel and I asked Madiba to lead a global version of this, an independent group of leaders who work together for peace and human rights. Out of these conversations, The Elders was born and the rest is history.”

Brendan Maher, General Manager, R U OK? says, “The Virgin Mobile partnership will help us inspire more Aussies to have regular, meaningful conversations with family and friends. Life's busy but we can all take the time to call the people we care about and talk about the stuff that really matters."

Other findings from the research include:
· Three-quarters (75%) of Australian social media users believe the majority of their friends online still don’t truly know what’s happening in their lives;

· Women are more likely than men to agree that texting someone is easier than calling them (68% v 58%);

· Two out of five (45%) Aussies say they don’t call their friends and family as often because they feel like they already know what they are up to through socialmedia;

· Two out of five Aussies (43%) prefer emailing, texting and using social media to communicate than speaking on the phone;

· More than a quarter (28%) of Aussies feel the only free time they have to chat with friends during the week is on the daily commute;

· The average Aussie received only four phone calls on their last birthday, in comparison to 11 social media messages.

For more information on R U OK? check out its website.

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