Sunday, June 21, 2009

Why I shun txtng

The whole technological world is texting, it seems. Everyone keeps encouraging me to join the movement. Why don’t I text? I can send messages to people and they’ll respond even if they never answer their phone! My friends and I can exchange notes during big events, we can confirm arrivals and departure and such without having to speak a word, we can communicate all the time, about anything!

Well, that doesn’t exactly sound too good to me, a self-described introvert who, since embracing motherhood, has lost all semblance of time alone—my precious, jealously guarded time alone. I don’t know if I’m in such a hurry to participate in all those (often meaningless) exchanges. I could be finishing a thought. Or reading. Or painting. Or something.

And when communicating is so easy, it’s equally easy to make mistakes. Example: Recently, I spoke to someone who relayed a sad story to me. She’d been texting a person after they’d had a bit of a tiff, and the recipient responded curtly via text to the sender...and then said recipient foolishly dashed off another unkind, foul-mouthed message about the sender which was intended for someone else. But by mistake and in a hurry, thanks to modern texting technology, that still-ticked recipient also sent that second message to that same first person who’d angered her. Oops. Bet that wouldn’t have happened if they'd been talking in person, now, would it.

Regarding that whole emotion issue, that’s a problem too. When communication is quick and painless, it’s all too probable that things will be said that shouldn’t be. That’s my main complaint about email as well. Sure, it’s a great tool, they both are, but they’re so fast! If you’re a good typist, you can say something mean and inappropriate in writing faster than you can speak it aloud. How many inane, fired-up conversations have you had via speedily typed and sent messages? If you’re anything like anyone else, probably a great many. Texting enables poor emotional control and fiery temperaments. It does nothing to teach conversational discipline and maturity.

The fact that you can reach anyone, anytime, isn’t necessarily a good thing either. We as adults really shouldn’t be excited about the fact that many texted exchanges read a lot like a transcript of the conversations I had with my high school gal pals on the good old home telephone. We repeated ourselves, we giggled, we talked about some silly stuff and went on and on far longer than was necessary. We talked about the mundane, about the unimportant, about anything and everything. Is this an activity we should pursue for life? Hardly.

Remember, too, that I majored in English. (If you didn’t know that, now you do.) How could I possibly support any form of communication that further butchers the language that I love? How could I uphold a verbal means that has its own abbreviated, horribly misspelled code? How, I ask you? I can’t.

So, there you have it. Face to face is still my preference. You know I’m all about getting to the point and telling it like it is. I realize it is likely that eventually I’ll end up texting like the rest of you people, and then you’ll just call me a texter-come-lately. But I’ll hold out until there is no choice. Just like bill-paying, which I still do by mail unless forced to do otherwise thank-you-very-much, I will be the stubborn person clinging to the old-fashioned way. The more I learn about progress, the less interested I am in playing.

P.S. Want a chuckle, and a twist on the theme of avoiding progress? Visit this site and love it. Then go buy a box of Shredded Wheat.

1 comment:

Facie :-) said...

A HS friend texted me to invite me to a girls' night out a few weeks ago, and I texted her back saying I was trying to save $ b/c of my layoff. She texted back, saying she hoped it was not for too long. Then I texted her back to explain my situation, and, fortunately, one of us called the other one, and we talked, like real, live humans.

As it turns out, she is pretty much the only friend I have who neither reads my blog nor is on Facebook, so she did not know my situation. Seems like a ringing endorsement for something other than mobile or internet communications!

You are so right about people responding to messages yet not the phone. I now have two friends who are notorious for this. About the only thing that texting is good for is a birth announcement or to forward funny sports things. Of course email would work just fine!