I sent my first text Friday.
And if the Lord has mercy, it’ll be my last.
Just because my cell phone has the capability to text, take photos, shoot video, and amuse me in a hundred different ways doesn’t I should use it for such. It’s the same way I view the fact my Ford can easily top 100 mph. Just because it has the capability to do something doesn’t mean I should - or need - to use that capability.
I unblocked texts about a year ago when Verizon went to a flat monthly charge. The granddaughter is on my family plan. If she paid the $10 a month, I was fine with it.
Of course, the first text I got was from - you guessed it -Verizon, pushing things I’ll never use.
I’ve received perhaps 30 business-related texts since last year. Not one did I chose to reply to via text. It may have something to do with the fact I have a flip phone. But in reality I just don’t get it. If I have something important enough to communicate I’ll call leave a voicemail. Of course, textaholics claim that they can’t listen to voice mails in meetings. True, but when I get a call when the phone is on vibrate in a meeting I check to see if it is a number that needs immediate attention. About 99 percent of the time it doesn’t. If it does, I get up, leave the room, and listen to the voice mail. If need be I make a return call.
On Friday I called to leave information for an assignment. The person texted back they were in a meeting. No problem. But perhaps because I still had a slight fever from the flu, I decided to let them know it wasn’t a problem. So I sent a text.
The flu obviously affected my better judgment.
Here is the question: If you can text somebody back when you’re in a meeting how is that different than stepping out and calling them back?
Isn’t it disruptive to have someone madly texting while a meeting is going on? How is it different than answering a phone?
Texting is an epidemic that is killing quality time people spend with others face-to-face. It is also a great way for sterile, one-dimensional communication. But I guess it is better than someone walking around with a web cam sending live video of themselves as they’re texting. Give Apple a couple of months and they’ll probably have an app for that.
Texting has its place.
But its overuse has created a situation where we are saying more while communicating less.
Instant messaging has turned into background noise that can dull the delight once found in listening to someone’s voice or reading words that were once carefully chosen instead of punched out in 140 letters in a race to communicate in real time.
The Data of Babble we have created with electronic messages has everyone “talking” but are we really listening?
The answer - to a degree - can be found when some young person does something stupid. They get to that point because probably nobody heard what they had to say. And instead of intervening, we’re more likely to flip our cell phone on video or start texting about their stupid, horrendous or deadly act.
The act of communicating has become more important than really communicating.
I guess that’s why texting leaves me cold.
It is impersonal and too often not much more than babbling with fingers.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209-249-3519.