Texting Sucks

When you think about it, texting has become an extremely common form of written communication. Consequently, it has become a form of writing, whether we like it or not. Most of the time, I love texting. It helps me stay connected with my family while I’m away, I can stay updated on what my housemates are doing, and my day can get a little brighter with funny texts or gifs my friends send me. However, there is a time and place for texting. Quite frankly, we are unaware of the context in which texting does not suit communication. And it can end up really, really awkward.

A few days ago, I texted my friend (keep in mind, he is a new friend that I met over the summer) about him setting me up with one of his friends for an event later this week. However, because most of the time texts include “haha” or “lol” in order to keep the conversation light, I tried to keep my request funny and light by explaining that I’m probably too old (no longer an underclassmen) to get set up. However, things took a wrong turn when he mistakenly thought I was asking him to be my date. This misunderstanding caused our remaining texts in the conversation to be awkward and strained.

I don’t think this miscommunication via texting is uncommon. Plain and simple, written communication must be interpreted without body language or facial expression, and therefore can be misinterpreted a lot easier. So then why do we insist on texting about every little thing in our lives? Doesn’t that just cause more time wasted and strain on relationships? Of course, I am definitely a culprit of this problem. I text about things that should probably be communicated verbally rather than through writing.

In my business communications class, we talk about how most of the time, there is a standard format to deliver news to people. However, this format changes when you must deliver bad news. So as communicators, why do we still insist on sharing bad news over a light-hearted text rather than giving the other person what they deserve: a meaningful, face-to-face conversation?

Like I said, I by no means am an exception to this travesty of millennial communication. But I think it’s something to keep in mind. Whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, texting is a form of writing that could and should be crafted carefully. Otherwise, you could end up in a very uncomfortable conversation that can be hard to transfer from writing  through texting to verbal communication.

awk texting

Let’s Talk About Texting

As I sat down to write this blog about how I’m still struggling with my repurposing project, my phone buzzed. Then it buzzed again, and again, and continued to buzz until I wanted to throw it against a wall. It was my group text with friends at school—I’m the only one who went home for the weekend and they were trying to decide where to eat for breakfast. As I mindlessly scrolled through these texts that I cared very little about, I realized that I was reading writing, reading words someone typed up in order to get a message across. Texting has changed the way people communicate. Not just in the sense that kids who grew up with phones it their hands will probably start writing papers for school in “text talk” (OMG lol ik! Sry bout tht…), but it has exponentially sped up the communication process. No more hand-written letters or even phone calls that force you to wait for someone to pick up; texts are instant. A texter only has to type a few buttons and then their words are instantly sent to whomever they want, wherever they want.

Is this a good thing? Should people be constantly connected to one another even if it means people may struggle with face-to-face communication or knowing where to put a coma? I know that the texting debate is a hot one, and that those who love it and those who hate it both make valid arguments.I also know that without it, I wouldn’t be able to talk to my friend in Scottland every day or to know what my friends in Ann Arbor are eating for breakfast (not that I really care). Texting doesn’t improve vocabularies and it doesn’t help people communicate in person. It does, however, allow people to stay in touch no matter where they are in the world. I don’t know where exactly I stand in the texting debate. Part of me thinks it’s great that we can communicate with whoever we want so often and so easily, but another part of me hates that fact that the kids I babysit don’t talk to each other because they are too busy finding out the newest gossip from their friends.

I don’t know where I stand in the texting debate–probably somewhere in the middle– but I do know that texting is a form of writing that is not going away anytime soon.