Saturday, November 6, 2010

Text Messaging: Evil in Disguise

If I had to choose one thing to dislike about this information age, and trust me there are several, it would have to be text messaging. This handy means of communication has ruined communication between two people tremendously. Unfortunately, much like Facebook, the only ways to communicate with your peers is through text messaging. People don’t answer phone calls; but will respond immediately to a text. Myself for example, I send an average of 6,000 texts per month, and use and average of 100 minutes a month. Almost all of the texts go to my girlfriend, who lives a few blocks away, and most of my minutes are two my boss who seems to call me about anything and everything lately.

Now this ratio of communication styles is okay by me. The only problem is, I will spend 20 or 30 minutes trying to explain something to my girlfriend, or friend. This could have been explained in less than a minute had we been on the phone or face to face. However, both of us are too busy to actually have a conversation on the phone, or the subject matter of the conversation is that of private contents. However, as I have seen countless times, and have done many more countless times, we could move to a more private location to carry out this very short conversation instead of dragging it out 10 times longer then it should be.
Also, and this is probably my last reason, as this is a Blogspot post and not an essay for class, therefore I don’t have to be so thorough and detailed, the receiver of the text message is reading this message in entirely a subjective way. For example, my girlfriend will ask me if I want to come over, and I will respond with “Sure” and she reads that as “sure…” not thinking I want to come over. However, I meant that “Sure” as “Sure! You better believe it toot’s!” Once this message’s meanings has been mixed, I then have to explain that my punctuation-less "sure" really had a positive message, and not the negative one she read. And as I said above, I will now have to take the next 20 minutes or so explaining my statement in as few words as possible so I don’t have to text seven pages of text message so she can understand what I really meant, and because she is too busy watching Spongebob Squarepants with her baby brother.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, due to this cultural obsession with text messaging we have lost very important communication skills and are reading these messages we receive with the entirely wrong context. We are also wasting our precious and non-refundable time dealing with the nonsense of having to explain a simple sentence via 160 characters.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are worse things out there. Such as professors obsession with using our online services to teach and issue tests and readings; or employers only accepting online applications, removing a very valuable chance at first impression of your potential employees, or the youths lack of activity due to all the television and video games that they are playing. But this isn’t about those things, this is about text messaging and it’s evils.

I also understand the very beneficial things that text messaging bring along. If you have short messages to say and have no way to squeeze in a conversation about the problem, a text is a efficient way to get your message to the other person. Sending numerical entries as well, like phone numbers or addresses and such. But like the slow line in the grocery store, you really notice when these things go wrong, and not when they work oh so smoothly (Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness).

Regardless of the convenience of text messaging, I really wish it would go away. A regress in that technology and this cultural fixation, and a resurgence of phone calls would not only free up a lot of time, but would save me, and I’m sure hundreds of thousands of from the hassles of having a message read in the wrong context and spending the half hour trying to explain themselves and change their significant others mind that they really want to come over and aren’t just doing it because they asked. However, I don’t feel this will happen, at least the later T-Mobile Sidekick’s have been able to make phone calls.


  1. i totally disagree! i think text messaging is the FUTURE. I just cant wait till text2speech and speech2text work well, so you don't even have to use your hands and eyes to send and receive texts!

  2. I partially agree, texting is sometimes more convenient, but like you mentioned, your mood almost always comes across wrong, and you get into shit for things you didn't even intend to say. I go through this often with my girl friend, with the exact same example you use with "sure" vs "Sure!!!"

    But some good ol face time will never go away with my real friends.


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