I sent my first text on my first flip phone in middle school. As a young teen with strict parents, I didn’t get out much, so texting was my social life. As a rebellious kid, I would stay awake until wee hours of the morning, texting and talking, hiding from my parents’ prying ears. Old habits have since changed (luckily), but relying on my cell phone hasn’t.
The cell phone makes my life easier. As a recent graduate, I can text friends who live nearly anywhere. I can make plans while at work, the gym, the movies, even in the shower. The convenience level is ridiculous. But text messaging hasn’t just been Santa’s little helper in my life – in fact, it’s been quite the instigator.
I’ve fought with friends, lovers and parents, just from sending delayed or vague responses. When I’m upset with someone, I text passive aggressively, which only makes matters worse. I’ve had hundreds of arguments with a past romantic interest due to miscommunication that only occurred via text. But, the funny thing was that a lesson wasn’t learned. With each argument, numbers were never dialed, but heated texts continued for hours.
Only recently did I realize that texting lacks three essentials: tone of voice, eye contact and facial expression. How could a recipient know that “oh” meant “ohhhhhhhh” (as in “oh, I understand”) or “oh” (period), which our generation translates as fighting words? The haziness is constant, and we won’t ever be able to escape it.
Texting has been quite the troublemaker, at least for me. It’s ruined relationships, permanently. So, why go back to it? Simply put: because it’s easy.
These experiences are what drew me to delve more into this topic. Sure, it’s a tool we’re all familiar with, but are we aware of the aftermath? Ignoring friends surrounding us, getting distracted in class, swerving while driving – every day, texting squirms its way into these situations.
As part of this generation, everything I’ve researched and learned about texting was something I’d experienced firsthand. Something I can sympathize with and decode. Something I can imagine, because I’ve probably done it. Statistics and demographics can only have so much value if their meaning isn’t understood. With this topic, I can connect the numbers to my history of texting, for valuable insight with a personal twist.