Texting: Does It Help Us Connect With Others Or Does It Creative A Divide?

Short answer: I think it helps us connect casually with more people but it is not meant for deep connecting moments.

Long answer: Global news hour recently discussed this topic. Their bottom line: an in-person conversation for 5-10 minutes is better than mass texting. I agree with this statement on the basis of quality over quantity. Face time over texting is always better but does this mean that we shouldn’t text? No ! I think text messages are a great invention. I almost like them as much as various social media applications. ALMOST. As a Social Media Specialist, I am immersed in web and mobile 2.0 to build community, marketing, interacting and share information. My heart and passion belong with social media but when it comes to texting I’m hooked.

Here’s a neat link. Nielson Wire performed a study on primarily teenagers (and other age groups) and their texting habits. http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/u-s-teen-mobile-report-calling-yesterday-texting-today-using-apps-tomorrow/
Nielson states that there is an 8% increase in texting from 2009 to 2010. What does that 8% really mean? 3,339 texts a months for the average teenager. Adults texting has increased too, not to the same degree as teenagers but there still is a sizeable difference. Look at the chart below from Nielson Wire.

This is from Nielson Wire: The Nelson Company

I admit, I’m a textaholic. I love texting. I even get my facebook updates via text. I like it because you can communicate with a large group of people instead of being confined to one call at a time. Another benefit of texting is it allows for multi-tasking. Our society is becoming more about time maximization. We even like our devices to have multiple purposes. Look at the once iconic pocket watch, nobody really uses it anymore because it only performs one function. Even its shrunken cousin the wrist watch is declining in popularity; a cellphone/smartphone displays a clock on its screen, which makes a wristwatch redundant (unless you use it as a fashion piece.) To captivate attention and get usage today a device must perform multiple functions. This is why smartphones are becoming increasingly popular as they offer not only phone calls and texting but they also offer internet browsing, emailing, and other various applications.

Another reason why texting is rising in popularity: Texting is simple, fast and to the point. You can get a message to someone quickly and get a response back. For example (in text type): Penny: Car brke dwn. I can’t meet u 4 coffee. Gale: Sorry 2 hear that! Ok, nxt time. This takes about 10 seconds to type and send versus a 2-4 minute phone call explaining the situation in great detail. This way “penny” can focus her energies on arranging car repair and Gale knows not to wait for her. Great example of a casual issue that can arise where texting is beneficial.

I don’t recommend texting for discussing important issues that warrant in-person discussions. Taking in text to discuss a substantial problem with a family member, friend, or a romantic partner doesn’t give proper respect to the problem. Texting is a casual action. Applying a casual attitude to serious matters says you can’t be bothered to take time to work through deep issues. Texting instead of in-person discussions removes verbal and physical indicators and according to Dale Carnegie s 50% of all communications are non-verbal. This means 50% of the communication is missing during a textual argument. It may be easier to type “I’m sorry” than to say it but it doesn’t mean the same. You’re avoiding conflict and emotional baggage by texting and it will only disrespect your family member, friend, or romantic partner. I may love technology and social media but I would not want to have a relationship with someone who would rather discuss serious problems via text. There is a reason why texting is called SMS because a short message service is meant to be short not in-depth which relationship issues require. There is even a facebook group dedicated to the matter: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Texting-is-NOT-an-acceptable-way-of-discussing-deep-relationship-issues/315662067102

Bottom line: Texting is great for casual interactions. It provides us with a way to interact with a multitude of people at the same time while performing other activities. I love texting for the aforementioned good reasons but don’t hide behind your phone instead of talking to a person; when a problem happens TALK it out don’t type.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Latrisha Quinlivan
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 11:29:14

    Most of the times i visit a blog I notice that most blogs are amateurish. On the other hand,I could truly say that you writting is decent and your website solid.

    Reply

  2. TedRubin
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 20:03:59

    Love that you are addressing this subject. I am not really concerned as teens become adults and start gaining wisdom about ineractions and etiquette (hopefully). My issues certainly may lean that way as my teens get older and I worry about their socialization skills. Now more concerned with the private nature of text and the ability to have a conversation anytime without worry of who is listening. And… as a divorced Dad I get little true quality time as Mom is texting with them constantly, having to be updated on all we do.

    Reply

    • Cironstone
      Apr 22, 2011 @ 11:36:52

      true. Sometimes we get so caught up with our cells that we neglect those in front of us. I admit the lure of social media technology is very appealing and it is hard to ‘disconnect’ at times. We should never forgot how important it is make quality in person time for family and friends 😀

      Reply

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