Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Problem of Texting

          I should probably start with a caveat to this post. I understand that there are way bigger problems in the world than texting. But I am choosing to talk about texting because it is the thing that has the biggest effect on my circle and the lives of the people around me as far as technology goes. And because I have a personal beef with texting which you, the reader, will soon find out about. (Btw, I am amazed that only 15 days have gone by since I last posted :)
        I recently had a conversation with a very good friend that was very enlightening and interesting for me (I am not sure how she felt about it :), and during that conversation the topic of texting came up. I am not sure how, but it did. I basically was saying how much I hate texting, and our discussion eventually led me to realize what it is really that I hate about it. So here goes the big reveal: I hate texting because it created the needs that it fulfills.
        So here is my argument: the big push for texting is that it is faster than a phone call. (ok, five more seconds is really gonna ruin your day? really?) Regardless, that need for something faster than a phone call simply didn't exist before texting said, "Hey, I can get a thought to someone faster than a phone call. Won't that make your life easier?" And the world replied "Yes!!". But the joke was on the world, because that extra five seconds just made their lives harder by making them faster and faster and full of more and more things.
          But my argument really has nothing to do with the American "do more do more do it faster" mindset. It has to do with the fact that before texting was around no one had the need to tell someone they would be there in five minutes. Now, because you have the option, you feel compelled to tell someone you'll be there in two minutes. There is no reason behind it. You just have to.
          So then my question is: why don't you just call? Isn't it actually faster to press call than to type a bunch of text into a little box? Yes, it is faster!! I can prove it to you right now!! So why?? Why do we have to type it??
          Here are some classic answers: Their phone might be off so they will probably not answer anyway. (To that I reply: then why do you need to tell them something if they don't want or can't talk to you?) Another answer: His or her work is loud so they can't here their phone ringing, so its better to text. (My answer: Wait until they can hear their phone ringing and call them. Or leave a message). My point is that before texting, if someone had a loud job and couldn't answer their phone, you had to wait and call them when you knew they were on a break, or you had to leave a message. But texting created the possibility of leaving a message for them on a screen so that they wouldn't have to take the extra ten seconds to listen to a voicemail.
          Nobody asked for that. Nobody said: Wow, leaving a message is such a time waster, I really need something that gets rid of those 20 seconds of wasted time. Nobody asked for that!! Really!!! Texting created the need!! It created the need for constant connection (not constant communication. constant connection).
          It used to be that people didn't need to verify meeting times 20 minutes or 20 seconds before they were supposed to happen. Now that has become the norm. And if there is no response they assume you are not going to show up. What if you were just having a conversation with someone on the subway instead of looking at your phone? God forbid! Texting has created the need to be near one's phone all the time, just in case of a message. No one needed to do that before. Now all of a sudden it is a necessity of life (and yes that was all of the sudden compared to thousands of years; no one can argue that.)
          I could come up with dozens of scenarios that texting has created, but what is the point? Plus I have probably already bored to tears whoever is reading this, and should cut it short. My main beef is that texting created the market for its necessity, and duped an entire continent or two in the process.

Don't even get me started on fb.!!!!!
Peace out.


  1. I hate texting too... and I annoy some people by calling all the time when they would rather text, but it's better than nothing. *sigh*

    1. Oh Nicholas.....I feel your pain. I really do.

  2. This is a really good post Soph..