Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Beautiful World Without Empathy: Exhibit A Texting


So I’m sitting in an average size living room watching a couple of people texting each other rather than carry on a conversation. Isn’t that weird? Apparently it’s becoming common practice. Texting is everywhere.

Why is it that a growing number of people prefer to text rather than converse, or to make phone calls, or to even leave voice messages?

And why is it that ever since texting has become the preferred one-way method of distance communications (anything beyond 2 feet), no one but old fashioned fools bother to directly answer their phones anymore?

Well I had a hunch but I decided to do a little internet research concerning texting vs. talk. The many comments I read confirmed my suspicions.

Here are some of the top reasons people prefer to text:

"It's more straight and to the point.”

“I can ignore or respond at my own leisure.”

“It is so much more easily accomplished through a few words of text without all the niceties and formalities of a phone call!”

“Texting is direct, to the point without the small talk involved in phone conversation.”

“I hate talking on the phone.”

“I know some people who keep me on the phone way longer that I'd like.”

“If I don't have time to have a full attentive conversation, I have to text.”

“It’s so easy to flirt and exchange small bits of banter. It's playful and possible that someone might find it easier to text risqué thoughts than saying it face to face or on the phone.”

“It's just convenient and quick.”

“I can keep in touch with people who I don't see often but don't want to call.”

“The only con for me with the texting is sarcasm gets taken for seriousness and it offends people. Soooo I gotta watch what I text”

So basically what we have here is a deliberate failure to communicate beyond one-way messages.

“When I text, I just want to bark or whisper my message. I want to make you laugh or smile, but I don’t want to get into anything complex or time consuming. I don’t want to listen to you at least not right now. I want to share something quick, easy, and right at my finger tips.”

I think that what has separated the human race from the animal world is, for one thing, conversation. Ok, and perhaps typing too. But animals call, bark, or scream messages to each other. Animals don’t converse and texting isn’t conversation either. Even IM is a type of conversation because the response time is usually fairly immediate, but some folks take eons to respond to a text. Some don’t even bother to respond.

The irony is that texting is a more primitive form of communication with the aid of a more sophisticated tool. And some very sophisticated tools (phones) will tell on you if you don’t respond soon after you’ve read a message.

So the next time you think about texting remember the subtext your are sending. Consider the inevitable trajectory of this type of communication.

“It’s all about me. That’s what it’s really all about. Me, me, me and what I want when I want it and I really am not interested in what you want when you want it. God forbid that I would have to perform niceties and endure formalities for your sake!

If I called you I’d have to listen to you because you would introduce into the conversation something you wanted to talk about. I just don’t have time for that. Life is too short and I’ve got a really cute Avatar sweetie in Second Life that will do exactly what I want when I want it. And I don’t need to sweet talk or small talk my honey Avatar. So just text me back when you have a chance and it better be important because I’ve got a life! Really I do.”



  1. I don't text, but I know what you mean. People cannot converse in person, they can no longer write letters (real paper letters), they can no longer spell (RMOEMEOELEMSN???) I have no idea what this new technology will end up doing. On the one hand it is fabulous, required great intelligence to create, is used in all areas of our lives from military to medical to business to personal. But it is contributing to the dumbing-down of a certain portion of this new generation.


  2. The only thing I use texting for is to send a shopping list. Funny how that helps people to remember.