A Pioneer of Social Media

Saturday March 10 2012 – Alexander Graham Bell’s first phone call was made 136 years ago today. And while our interactions with this amazing invention have changed substantially, it’s probably safe to say that very few of us get through a whole day without using a telephone.

Admittedly it has been overshadowed by email, text and today’s overwhelming array of social media options. We are all looking for a better, more efficient way to build stronger relationships, deliver great customer service, find more prospects and increase our revenue.

Here’s the thing – the telephone does all of the above. It’s the first “social media” and it still allows us to reach our prospects and customers with a custom-designed message. It lets us hear their reaction to that message. It brings us the information we need to create or improve our product/service. And, with a phone in our hands, we can close sales, finalize a deal, increase our revenue.

Now that’s powerful social media!

But just like, Twitter or LinkedIn or YouTube or a blog post or … there are things you can do to be more effective with your telephone and increase your contact with your target market.

For example:

I recently started working with Wendell Waldron, Partner at IOL Marketing, http://www.iolmarketing.com/index.html.

We have been talking about increasing my blog audience and he pointed out something so freakin’ obvious yet … it hadn’t occurred to me. I need to be strategic in the words I use in this blog. I should be using some of the same words people are using in search engines to find trainers like me. DUH!!!

It’s the same with telephone communication. As a sales tool, you have to use the right words to reach and connect with your target market. Ditto with your customers – when you speak with them on the phone, you want to make sure your words deliver excellent service and provide an experience they will want to repeat again and again.

Success with the phone, just like success with all social media, is in the content, the frequency and the timing. Sometimes you can figure all this out on our own – and sometimes you need help. That’s why The Phone Lady exists, to help you create a successful strategy that includes telephone etiquette, telephone sales and great customer service.

Now, in gratitude and in honour of Alexander Graham Bell, I’ve created a wee photo essay about his marvelous invention. Enjoy!

This lovely phone was a Christmas present from my husband. It dates back to the '40s I think and it's a wonderful reminder of how far we've come. Think how noisy an office would be if we were all yelling into that mouthpiece!


I'm including this picture because I love how the enamel is worn away. It makes me wonder how many conversations took place on this phone - and what they were about? Babies being born? Sons and daughters returning from the war?


This sturdy little number used to belong to Diamond Taxi. It is fascinating to me that the "1" and the "5" are completely worn away. Proof of their popularity in phone numbers?



This is the same model that my parents had on a night table in their bedroom. I spent many hours, hundreds of hours really, talking to friends on this phone when I was a teenager.


This is my favourite landline phone. It's purple and was a gift from a business partner 11 years ago. On Sundays I can be found curled into my favorite chair with it, having wonderful conversations with family and friends.

0 thoughts on “A Pioneer of Social Media”

  1. Thanks Mary Jane. Interesting too that when the phone first was brought into communities, it was through a party line. There were still a few around as I grew up, particularly in rural areas, but were seen as a lower quality form of communication because of lack of privacy. Now we pay extra for “Party lines” or conference call services. In fact, party lines strengthen the idea of social media that you mention.


  2. Social media without a keyboard – what a novel idea! It almost seems like phoning someone out of the blue without emailing first is becoming an imposition. It used to be the other way around. (Love the purple phone!)

    • Just back from a workshop with Phoenix Youth. They loved the phone from the 40s – kept dialing it – thought the noise it made was awesome. It is amazing how things have both changed and stayed the same.

  3. I very much enjoyed your article and shared the link on my Facebook page. I think people often forget just how fabulous a piece of technology we have in a phone. “Technology” these days seems to be used synonymously with anything digital. Pens and pencils are denied the limelight but we certainly wouldn’t function well without them.

    Visiting my grandmother on the South Shore of NS back in the early ’60s I became acquainted with a party line. Grammie’s rocker was comfortably positioned right next to it to ease the “listening in” practice. I guess all those ladies who listened in back then were the forerunners of people who now “stalk” on Twitter before becoming legitimate followers.

    When I moved to the Island (meaning Prince Edward Island, of course) we had a non-dial phone with our own ringer. Our village operator functioned like our personal address book: we didn’t have to know the phone number, we just needed to say who we wanted to speak with.

    Thanks again for reaffirming the importance of the telephone. There is so much miscommunication when situations are totally left in the realm of print. I often find it more efficient just to pick up the phone.


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What's The Phone Lady doing?


  • Remote learning experiences + one-on-one coaching for women entrepreneurs (More info about this three-year program here.)
  • Team and individual coaching with a national moving company to refine their sales process
  • Remote half-day training for provincial tourism representatives
  • Remote seven-part sales training program for US-based SaaS
  • Remote webinar on accounts receivable communication for industrial-services company
  • Remote webinar on validation to college students in entrepreneur program
  • In-person workshop on job search skills for women in the trades
  • Remote half-day webinar on written correspondence to customers

Do you or your team want to improve your communication skills? Do you have a communication question or challenge you'd like to discuss? This quick-to-fill-out form is easy to use and you'll hear from Mary Jane very soon.