Texting has caused a decline in the time people spend talking on the phone.
Nearly all age groups are spending less time talking on the phone; boomers in their mid-50s and early 60s are the only ones still yakking as they used to decades earlier.
But the fall of the call is driven by 18- to 34-year-olds, whose average monthly voice minutes have plunged from about 1,200 to 900 in the past two years, according to research by Nielsen.
Young people say they avoid voice calls because the immediacy of a phone call strips them of the control that they have over the arguably less-intimate pleasures of texting, e-mailing, Facebooking or tweeting.
They even complain that phone calls are by their nature impolite, more of an interruption than the blip of an arriving text.
Kevin Loker, 20, a rising junior at George Mason University, said he and his school friends rarely just call someone, for fear of being seen as rude or intrusive.
In fact, they first text to make an appointment to talk.
"They'll write, 'Can I call you at such-and-such time?' People want to be polite. I feel like, in general, people my age are not as quick on their feet to just talk on the phone," the Washington Post quoted Loker, executive editor of Connect2Mason.com, a student media site as saying.
The bias against unexpected phone calls stems in good part from the way texting and e-mail have conditioned young people to be cautious about how they communicate when they are not face to face, experts say.
Deborah Tannen, a linguistics professor at Georgetown University who studies how people converse in everyday life, said older generations misinterpret the way younger people use their cellphones.
"One student told me that it takes her days to call her parents back and the parents thought she was intentionally putting them off. But the parents didn't get it. It's the medium. With e-mails, you're at the computer, writing a paper. With phone calls, it's a dedicated block of time," she said.
Tannen, 65, worries that texting may fall victim one day to the same neglect that phone calls now face.
Not only are people making fewer calls, but they are also having shorter conversations when they do call.
The average length of a cellphone call has dropped from 2.38 minutes in 1993 to 1.81 minutes in 2009, according to industry data.
And between 2005 and 2009, as the number of minutes people spent talking on cellphones inched up, the number of cellphone messages containing text or multimedia content ballooned by 1,840 percent.
"Here's the issue: We don't want to talk with each other most of the time," said Naomi Baron, an American University linguistics professor who published a paper in June called 'Control Freaks', dissecting how Americans communicate online and on mobile devices."
The difference in communications preferences has created a palpable perception gap between young adults and their parents.