Sunday, September 19, 2010
In the not so distant future, phone companies will begin issuing phones used exclusively for texting. Talking capabilities will become an optional feature. We've already moved that direction, really. Most phone plans offer a limited bundle of minutes but unlimited texting capabilities. Many people prefer to text rather than call. Why is that? Convenience, I think. One can get the answer he needs from one friend while in the midst of a social gathering with several others, and all without breaking the flow of conversation. One can offer criticism he'd never be able to utter in spoken conversation, get an opinion on shoes while in a library, or send a jumble of punctuation to imitate some facial expression. The possibilities seem limitless!
While I do not deny texting is a helpful tool for a short answer, an address, or quick "Hey, I was thinking about you" blurb (Who doesn't love those? I enjoy them! They're something like leaving a sticky note hello on the cubicle adjacent yours.), it has morphed into a mainstay of communication. Talk about inconvenient! A text message conversation often proves lengthier than dialing and dialoguing. Determining plans for the evening is a good example. Say you send a text to your friend--let's call her Pheobe--and say, "Hi Pheobes! Wat's up?" To which she responds, "Heya. Nada. Want 2 do something tonight?"
"Yes!!! OMG, I;m starving."
"Where u want 2 go?"
"IDK...I went lsat night..."
"Eww! Gross to the max."
And so it continues. Now, during all of this, you and Pheobe have exchanged eight texts so far, all with a gap of typing and waiting for a response. Wouldn't it have been easier to pick up your phone, call, and have a three minute conversation as opposed to ten to fifteen of typing? Or, let's say you accidentally typed something like: "Not italian. breadsticks make u fat and bloaty...they always do that to me." Only you typed this particular phrase toward the end of your message without noticing you overstepped your 160 character limit, leaving off the crucial last segment implying you meant breadsticks were a dilemma for you personally. You alone. Pheobe takes offense, as she's been overeating the past two days and feels sensitive about the effects. You meet for salads and can't determine why she made a snippy comment about your outfit or why she didn't order the ranch dressing she prefers. When you ask her why she chose the vinaigrette, all hell breaks loose. See? You should have just called her.
Now, gents, this texting business has become a chronic issue for many of you. When you ask a girl for her number, DO NOT text her immediately thereafter. Give her a day and then CALL her. Make the extra effort to show her you have time for her. A text implies you're busy doing other things, but you felt obligated to touch base. It's the chicken's way out. It's too easy. She won't appreciate it. And heaven forbid you follow an text inquiry as to the state of her day with one of those dreadful little smiley faces. C'mon men! Would you send her a letter and seal it with a yellow Wal-Mart sticker? No! You're a man! Don't type like a middle school girl. Use your words to communicate your smile; don't bastardize punctuation in a gross quest to be cutesy. Be thoughtful. Go further than society's standard. It will set you apart.