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The six-second attention span

By the spring of 2007, according to a study done by Mediamark Research Inc., the number of American families relying solely on landlines, and the number of American families relying solely on cellphones, intersected at about 14 percent.

By June of 2012, almost 36 percent of American homes only used cellphones, and another 16 percent used cellphones for all or most of their calls, even while they kept their landlines.

Today, about 91 percent of American adults have a cellphone, 56 percent have a smart cellphone, and apparently more than half use landlines only at work.

One positive outcome of that trend is illuminated by an experience those of us in middle age, who can remember our lives as teenagers, will painfully recall. It involved the endless battles we had with parents over access to the family’s one hard-wired telephone, on which we were prone to talk with friends for hours, especially if there was at least one girl on the line.

In those days, the busy signal was more common than the ring tone, at least at night.

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