A Take on Text

Last week (was it really that long ago?) someone told me that what I was doing was rude. I didn’t think so, but that was me. I mean, I had done it in the company of others long before that and no one had said anything. In fact, they were all doing it too. I was reminded of my previous girlfriend telling me something similar, “Why can’t people just make a phone call?” Whatever was all the ado in what I was doing, anyway? What could be more innocuous, quiet and incapable of interrupting the goings-on of the current moment than a simple, low-fee, easily-executed text message?

“I can’t stand texting. All it does is isolate the phone user from the rest of the group and takes away from actual human interaction. When people are in one another’s company, they should talk, converse, parlay, discuss and engage in some degree of dialogue, whether that be thought-provoking or not. (the aforementioned is, most certainly not verbatim and the hereafter mentioned is my personal expansion on his monologue) Enunciation, vocabulary, and opinions are the gems of human interaction. They convey personality, emotion, sarcasm and wit among other attributes. When people text, it says that they’re more interested in sending an electronic mail to someone else and that present company is to be temporarily disregarded.”
As he spoke, and even well afterwards, it slowly dawned on me. “Oh dear,” I thought, “what have I become? I’m hideous!” Not really; I’m actually quite good-looking. Quite. Was this really happening? Yeah, I guess it was. There are at least two disparate sides to the issue.
If you are one who enjoys employing the text plan that came with the purchase of your cell phone, you probably do it because: it’s easy, it’s convenient and you don’t have to bother with the “baggage” of a phone call when all it takes is a few clicks of the keypad and your message is successfully conveyed. What the “non-texter” may not realize is that a phone call, no matter how short, requires a few different criteria before it is complete: 1. Time (time to allow the phone to ring, for the recipient to actually hear his or her phone or at least feel it vibrating, and time for the duration of the phone call) 2. Phone call process (first make the call, then establish that you’re both on the line, then you may need to exchange some pleasantries before getting to the point, then deliver the intended message, then wrap up with some flowery nonsense, then close) 3. Accuracy of message (throughout a phone call the intended message may be forgotten in the dial-up or the pleasantries step. Also, if you just want to tell someone to pick up cheese at the store it may come across as “please get me some more,” which may lead to “more what, Honey?”
The text message avoids these issues. A text message, in most cases, doesn’t require the time a phone call may. There is no process necessary, Just deliver the message. The accuracy or conveyance is relatively high – the word ‘cheese’ shows up on the receiver’s screen.

On the other hand, you have those (like my aforementioned acquaintance) that find the text message rude, unsocial and as a quasi-technological pollutant – something unnecessary. The argument for this side is that sending text messages has become a social fad and, so much so, it is done everywhere. It is done in meetings, in groups of friends and family, on buses, while driving, walking, talking with friends and, simply, that it has taken away from natural human interaction. The more people are on their cellular phones, the more they are away from the world of which they are a part. In this sense, they make up a part of their surrounding, their group, but they’re not actively there. When they’re out with friends, they’re present, but they’re not actively participating in the moment – they’re not interacting with people, they’re not talking, they’re just on their own with a cell phone in front of their eyes, tapping away at it.
Just as an aside, I’m also of the opinion that this whole “texting” thing is yet another medium that takes people away from good usage of language and the written script, which (sadly) is becoming more and more a relic of modern communication.

Do I still send text messages? Yes, I do. It’s not that choose not to look at the pejorative side of the argument, but that I feel one can use it often enough to take advantage of the conveniences without rolling into a maniacal texting spree that takes over one’s existence. In the end, it may just come down to a matter of how much one values his/her interaction with others compared to being a “texting, unsocial junkie”. If you can use grandiloquent words when texting, more power to you. Perhaps it will persuade the receiver to utilize a dictionary. It can be a win-win situation all the way around.


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