Archived Story

Erika Pickles: Leave a message at the beep — LOL

Published 12:28am Thursday, June 23, 2011

The phone call is the new handwritten letter, thanks to texting.
Maybe I’m a bit old-fashioned, but it really bothers me that we’ve become a generation that relies so heavily on text messaging for communication. I can’t even get half of my friends to answer their phones anymore, yet 30 seconds after I leave a voicemail, they’re texting me to let me know they saw I had called and wondered what I wanted.
I’m not saying I don’t text, because I do. I text several times a day. There are certain situations when it’s just more convenient to text than call. It allows for a quick response and takes much less time than picking up the phone to dial. But when it comes to having an entire conversation with someone to find out how they’ve been, sharing exciting news with them, etc., pick up the darn phone and call someone. In my eyes, it’s somewhat disrespectful and, for me personally, it makes me feel disconnected from a person when they prefer to carry on a conversation through a text.
Prime example — last week, I called a friend of mine who I haven’t spoken to in a while. I knew we had a lot of catching up to do and our conversation would be entirely too long for texting. She didn’t answer, which was fine, so I left a voicemail, asking her to call back when she had time. I heard nothing until a week later, when she sent me a three-page text message apologizing for not calling back. She then preceded to text me everything that has been going on, what she had been up to lately and so on. I understand she’s been busy (who isn’t busy nowadays), but if I call someone, I would hope they could at least return the favor and call back. It doesn’t have to be right away, and I would have been fine if she would have called me a week later, but the fact that she had time to text back such a long response, and couldn’t pick up the phone for two seconds to fill me in, really struck a nerve with me. I didn’t ask for a text back, and I surely didn’t want to spend an hour texting everything we had to catch up on. That conversation was obviously over before it even began.
Another thing about text messaging is that it can make someone sound like a goofball. I could not begin to count the number of times I’ve made myself sound like a complete dingbat in a text. Whether what I said was misinterpreted, I left some words out of a sentence, or my lovely auto-correct feature on my “smart phone” turned the word “figure out” to “figwort,” leaving the receiver utterly confused. Along with incomplete sentences and unknown words, I’ve also noticed a big slack in my spelling and grammar lately. You’d think I didn’t reach junior high with some of the errors I’ve been known to make. It’s pretty embarrassing.
Technology definitely has its pros, there’s no denying that fact. And I know texting has been popular for about five years now and it’s something we’ve all become accustom to. One of the biggest cons of texting, in my opinion, is that it places walls between us as people. This has especially become true with the younger generation. As kids become more technologically “connected,” they have isolated themselves from the possibility of human contact. They have grown up in a social-networking world thanks to computers, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, texting, etc., and they have no idea how to act in the real world. The effects of living and communicating behind a screen, from what I’ve seen already, are not positive. It’s actually quite shocking and disturbing and makes me realize that, unless they start teaching some kind of required communication class in school, our future generations may be in trouble when it comes to face-to-face communication.

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