To Text, or Not To Text

To text, or not to text: that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the tiny keyboard and the misspellings of using a smartphone, Or to take arms against a sea of gibberish, And, by actually calling on the phone, end them? (Sorry, Shakespeare.)

Yes, Sometimes I “hate texting”

Barb here. So, I’ve said frequently, and once to Lynnelle during a podcast taping that, “I hate texting.” The Heels Diva was aghast. How could anyone hate texting?

Lynnelle here. Don’t get me started – and yes, I was/am aghast that someone so ‘chatty’ says she “hates texting”. I submit that Barb’s distaste is not for the act of texting, but the texters’ expectation of immediate response. 

Before we get into that, can we just pause for a moment to look at how communication has changed in 50 years?

  • When I was 5 (over 50 years ago) we counted the phone “rings” on our party line to know whether a call was intended for us or a neighbor.
  • The phone company would give us a phone when we moved to a new exchange.
  • We had to buy our home phones.
  • We had personal 800 numbers so our kids could call us easily.
  • Some of us kids of the ’70s actually got our own, private phone line in our bedroom.
  • We left the long-distance phone company because we got better rates.
  • Even still, we had to set the timer when speaking long distance to manage the cost.  
  • We started using cell phones.
  • Some of us started that ridiculous texting required before phones had “keyboards”.
  • We got smartphones and everything changed.
  • 80% of all adult Americans text, making it the most common cell phone activity (second only to Candy Crush)

Did you see that? We should call them “smart-texters”. The phone is just an accessory. Ugh. (I am officially an old grump.)

Uhmmm. No comment. 

And note, while this article about texting and driving should scare you into neverever doing that again—I’m not discussing illegal texting—that’s just wrong at every level.

Still when to text, or not to text? That’s the issue.

So, Why Do I Hate Texting?

While, saying, “I hate texting” may have been a bit of hyperbole, but it has taken me a long time to get used to this form of communication, and I need to follow Lynnelle’s advice about accepting new technology. Still, here’s my argument against it:

  1. It’s intrusive. Once you get a text going and there’s more discussion (especially if there are multiple participants) it’s difficult to walk away from those pings.
    • Turn the ping off. (iPhone:  Settings-Sounds & Haptics-Text Tone-None)
    • Assign a specific ‘tone’ (or silence) to important contacts so you’ll recognize the texter without having to look at your phone.  (Contact: Edit-Text Tone Default-“tone” or “None”)
  2. It’s often not efficient. Picture this, one person wants to do something with another, so they text. This is followed by 15-30 minutes of back and forth (punctuated by long breaks in the communication while one or the other works on the task at hand and then cleans their hands, or has an oral conversation with another human about the date and time. Factor in being outside where it’s difficult to view the screen, or to juggle dog/packages/kids/car keys, or to actually walk and text at the same time. Wouldn’t it just be easier to call and say, “Hey, what time and where do you want to meet?” Followed by, “No, that doesn’t work for me, will this work…?” Thirty seconds and done. I do that a lot. Someone texts. I call. Because it’s more efficient!  
    • Not always. The texter may be on a plane, in a crowded waiting room, or other crowded, public place and remembers something to share they had previously forgotten. 
    • Efficiency does not mean preferable to all. 
  3. Some of the younger crowd just don’t know when to text and when to call. Here’s a hint…if it’s an emergency, CALL! We live on a boat, had been mostly out of the country for over 5 years, and were not used to texting. We had made friends with a young sailor in St. Augustine who lived aboard on a nearby mooring. (That means we aren’t at the dock and have to take our small inflatable boats to shore.) One morning EW got a text from “Mr. T.”

Mr. T: Hey. You going to shore this morning?

EW (after about a 10 minute pause as he was eating breakfast): Not planning on it. I can. Do you need something?

Mr. T (pretty much immediately). I was on my way in to go to work and my motor stopped. I’m holding on to a buoy.

EW jumped up from breakfast and headed to our dinghy. I called “Mr. T.” and told him (in no uncertain terms) that this had been a phone call moment.

(Later on I schooled him on when to text, or not to text. He has since proven he understands. Mr. T. is a good sport and learns quickly. Plus he humors his elders. It’s a southern thing.).

HAHAHAHAHAA! Poor Mr. T. Hope he doesn’t get caught in a downpour. 

What’s Better than Texting?

OK, I get it. Sometimes it costs folks to make a call, but not to text. Sometimes it’s the only way people at work or school can sneak in a conversation. And yes, sadly and tragically, it’s been proven to be an effective and vital method of communication during emergency situations such as school shootings.

So yes, I don’t really “hate” texting and will stop saying that. But I do wish folks would understand that texting isn’t always the best form of communication.

Talk to me. Let me talk to you. You know I love that talking thing.

Whoa, yeah. Do we ever. (she says with love and friendship.)

 

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