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Is "Texting" An Antediluvian Anachronism?

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I love a good debate, especially when it's liable to turn into a rabid, but thought provoking examination of "the next big thing" becoming "the new standard." First there were marathon runners, smoke signals, and carrier pigeons. Then there was Morse code via telegraph wires and under sea cable. Marconi upped the ante with wireless communications, and voice capability swiftly followed. Landline telephones eventually became wireless as well, and real time voice communication sans physical connections is now taken for granted.

Or is it?

We now find ourselves in an era where it has almost become "uncool" to actually talk with someone on the phone. It is perceived as a personal weakness if one is not proficient at "texting" in lieu of voice communication. Various rationalizations are put forth for this newly developed behaviour: "I don't have time to engage in a full blown conversaton." "Speaking to a person is 'so yesterday'." "All the cool kids text, so I should, too." Etc.

How did it come to this? Why have people reverted to what essentially amounts to a return to Morse code, albeit in a slightly more efficient "acronymic shorthand." Why have we voluntarily chosen to engage in a form of information transfer that is near glacial in its methodology when compared to instantaneous speech? Have we become so cocooned in our social habit patterns that we now feel uncomfortable holding an actual real time conversation with another human being?

I know what you're thinking. This is the rant of an old geezer not wanting to change his ways. Well, my newfangled mobile has a slick program that allows me to trace a series of letters on a virtual keypad that permits me to text with the best of them. And my headset translates incoming texts to voice without missing a beat. And no one is the wiser.

And that's the point (if there's one to be made). I've now come "full circle" to a close approximation of real time voice communication. "There's an app for that" has defeated the texting "roadblock."

So why do the "pure texters" continue on with "unenhanced" manual texting? Is it a subtle form of masochism? Or simply a way to message surreptitiously on the sly in class or church? What is the big draw for most folks?

Thoughts?


Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.

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I find it slightly more polite to text than to call. If you call someone you run the risk of interrupting them in the middle of something, a text can be replied to at their leisure.

In Edwardian Britain, when wired telephones were just beginning to be installed, cultured families were reluctant to install telephones anywhere but in the servants quarters. It was considered potentially quite rude that any person had the ability to force themselves into another persons house by means of the telephone lines. Proper ladies and gentlemen would communicate by messenger service.

This attitude was quick to die out but I still feel a bit apprehensive when I call someone that they may have been doing something more important and that my call could be an imposition.

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I'm protective of my number, that way no one can interrupt me, text or voice.


Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it, depends on what you put into it. (Tom Leahrer)

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I like texting :) Simple and to the point me thinks :D


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Justin, you can always not answer the phone. Roger, what's the point in having a phone if no-one knows the number. You did say 'no-one'.

It's the 21st century, it's the age of communication and we're more accessible than ever. I find the key to keeping your sanity and not needing to instantly reply to every request is to ignore them until you're ready to deal with them. If something is really, really important there are ways and means and I'll know who is trying to contact me but, without wanting to give the wrong impression, 95% of people who contact me want me to do something along the lines of a favour for them and that has to be on my terms.

If you don't want to be contacted, turn it off. Simple enough. Otherwise, being available other than face to face is very useful imo.


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I said "protective". a chosen few have the number.

It has a built in MP3 player, I enjoy music, but most importantly having had 2 hart attacks, it's very handy for calling the ambulance if I have a third. :yes:


Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it, depends on what you put into it. (Tom Leahrer)

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I have an answerphone on my domestic line as, despite all efforts, a large number of cold callers and phone-bots seem to manage to get hold of my number. I can use the screening facility to decide if I am going to answer the call.

I have voicemail on my mobile which allows me to decide whether or not I wish to talk to the caller. Of course that presupposes that I actually hear the incoming call when my mobile is in another room as I am not in the habit of dragging it round the house with me during every waking moment. Basically, if I recognise the number/name there is a strong possibility that I will answer it (current task permitting).

I will not respond to any text message which is not in English (or American). I do not consider 'text speak' to be a valid way of comminicating. If you can not be bothered to make a reasonable attempt at correct spelling, punctuation and grammar then why should I waste my breath/text allocation on you? Of course I make allowances for people whose first language is not English (or any acceptable derivative).

I take our leader's point about people who may just be contacting me seeking a favour but, on the other hand, weigh that against my outgoing calls which may actually be caused by me seeking a favour from the person I am dialling.... you can't have one without the other in most relationships whether it is a friend or just an acquaintance and you have to recognise that the people asking the favours may be able to reciprocate in the future so I try not to mantain a 'count' unless it becomes blatantly one sided.

It's a difficult topic and, as the replies show, everyone has to find their own way of dealing with it.


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In practice, there is!

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One big objection I have to texting is, you're getting royally stiffed on the price right now.

Maybe it's the onset of old geezerness, but personally I find the abbreviations appalling. Technology is dismantling this beautiful language, and I suppose it's doing the same to other languages as well.

But, we will find a way to adapt. We always have. The flush toilet was a radical change from the earth closet, and not a moment too soon. Email seemed to be an impersonal substitute for a handwritten note when it first came out, now it's almost old school itself. Even the Elan and Europa owners must have looked askance at the almost luxurious Esprit at one point. Giving it explosive power with a turbocharger helped put some of that to rest.

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I know the technology is there so I really don't see why people should slowly key in a message (to be used like email for the recipient to read at their discretion) but rather to just speak the message and have it translated into text to be sent that way. (eliminating those people who compulsively choose to text while driving). We had 5 high school girls die just a few miles away a few years ago because of this (the last text message corresponding to just before the time of the crash) http://www.msnbc.msn...s/us_news-life/

Edited by comem47

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I'm definitely with Justin...tho more extreem. I sometimes try to blame several years of being on call 24x7x365 for the fact that I rarely answer a phone these days. But in reality I suspect I'm just antisocial :harhar:

It is the case tho that I'm virtually never doing nothing - waiting for that call. So by definition a phonecall is an interuption and I just dont get why a phonecall takes priority. At work I was lucky enough to have a secretary to manage the interuptions properly, but it always made me grumpy if I'd booked time with someone for some purpose and they then accepted a telephone interuption from someone else while we were in discussion. But some people just cant let a phone ring unanswered.

I dont really get the appeal of txting - tho I do use it quite alot - its just such a cack handed naf interface. QWERTY is the way - so it has to be Email - easy, immediate, dealt with whenever ready.


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I would rather pick up the phone and talk to someone than text them, it's quicker, gets to the point, recieves an immediate answer, avoids misunderstandings and costs less in the long run. ( why send 3 or 4 texts each way when one short phone call would do ? ) I work with 20 or so 'young folk' that seem to spend all day with their thumbs on a phone key pad and never speak to anyone outside the building. It's very sad to see and leads to many mis-communications.

I also have observed that when most of our staff text or email, they expect a quick reply and if it's not forthcoming they start to get very 'twitchy'. What happened to the art of conversation ? I have to offer technical support to all these people as part of my job, and they drive me mad. They will send me an email or text to report a problem when my office door is only 10m away and the door is always open. We are all doomed.

P.S. I'm known as "the grumpy old bastard out the back". :hrhr:


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When I worked in NASCAR, texting was a valuable tool. It was often too noisy to hear and the radios didn't work across teams so we would text brief messages to each other as needed. Had to have your phone on vibrate for it to work, of course.


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Our home phone is nearly redundant for my use. If it rings I never answer it anyway anymore - if my two daughters want an answering service, I'm the wrong person.

Mobile phone always gets my immeadiate attention if at least just to look at the screen to see who's calling before deciding to answer it. Same with texting. If it's a work related Text, I would 99% of the time, rather communicate by text. It is usuially to confirm a time or a date with a simple 'yes/no' text answer. I can then also use this text as written confirmation if necessary at a future time unlike a telephone call unless you record your calls.

Texting is just another simple form of communication but in it's most basic form. No differant to the Internet. I can remember thinking email or even the Internet will never catch on the very first time I saw it - The Internet - how quaint, how geeky, how boring is that going to be.

Texting is immeadiate unlike email. The recipitant can then decide how important the reply is.

Agree txt spk is lazy but a g8 way 2 communic8 wiv ya!

Edited by mayesprit

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk - that will teach us to keep mouth shut!

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