According the September 19, 2008 issue of the New York Times, in America there are now more text messages transmitted through cell phones than actual calls. It almost seems hard to believe, but that’s probably because I am assuming it’s only me that’s texting more times a day than calling. But maybe for once, I’m normal…
For some reason, I like those black-and-white commercials for Sprint featuring personal messages from the CEO, Dan Hesse. In the commercial where he’s at the café, he tell us, “It’s amazing we still call these things ‘phones’, considering all they can do.” He’s right. That reminds me of Ernest (the one that goes to camp, jail, etc.) who one time talked about all the cool features his watch had: flashlight, can opener, calculator, etc. The only problem is, he couldn’t figure out how to make it tell time.
I’ve got the Samsung version of the i-Phone and yes, it does everything. But I mainly got it because of the full keyboard for texting. (I think as an English major, it’s hard for me to purposely misspell words even when texting- it feels sinful.) It’s becoming pretty clear to me: it’s just become too much trouble to talk.
For me, it all started with the fact I hate checking voicemails. It’s a lot of trouble: Go to your voicemail. Enter your password. Listen to old voicemails you haven’t erased. Listen to the actual new voicemail. Erase it. Call the person back. Yikes!
And leaving a voicemail isn’t much better because you have to listen to that annoying speech that’s not news to you: “The person you are calling is unavailable. If you would like to page this person, press 5. If you would like to leave a voicemail, press 1. If you would like to leave a call-back number, press 4…” Come on! Who actually pages someone on a cell phone? Instead I text them. They shouldn’t make me listen to that instructional message. It should just say, “Leave a message”. Then I could save 45 seconds.
I realize this all may be a little biased in that I’m a guy and I communicate like a man, not a woman. A man communicates to exchange facts. A woman communicates to strengthen her relationships with the people in her life. But still, texting helps both genders accomplish their goals in their communication needs.
Speaking of communication (unfortunate pun), I’ve noticed a definite pattern in online networking sites. Everybody thought MySpace was cool at first. Then came the creeps and the spam. And it was too hard to know who “The Big Kenny” or “Georgia Princess” is. So we all converted our allegiance to facebook. And yes, facebook is unbeatable. It’s very easy to find the “friends” and it keeps you posted on any news with your them. Why? So we don’t have to ask them ourselves…
Not only do I not need to call Alex Igou but I don’t really even have to send him a message on facebook. I can just look at his “info” and learn where he lives, where he went to college, and if he’s married now. And if there is any other important info I would need to know, like that he’s going back home to Fort Payne, AL this weekend, he will put that in the “Alex is” section and that’ll show up on my news feed.
It’s just too easy not to talk to people. And I think for that very reason, now more than ever, I have this desire to actually spend time with people. There is a major amount of “catching up” with someone that I just can’t do through a phone call, text, or facebook transaction. Maybe with enough hang time, I can slowly learn to talk again.