Inspired by a post entitled 'Stop Calling Me On The Phone' by Benjamin Law recently, I thought I would write my own little diddy on my own pet communication peeve, texting.
My theory on how this occurred is that when texting got big, circa 1999, I had completely detached from civilisation and was on a six month jaunt through South America.
When I returned from half a year of speaking Spanish, daily siestas and salsaring the night away to suburban New Zealand, even the microwave perplexed me.
How on earth did you work one of these things again???
Texting is sooooo 1990s!
One of my friends Huia introduced me to texting and had to talk me through the crazy texting revolution which had taken place in my absence.
She explained with wide eyes (as if she was letting me in on the best thing ever) that on certain days Vodafone let you text FOR FREE. Yes for the first time we wouldn’t be stung for every minute communicating on a phone! So on certain days of the week people would go to town and text and communicate as trivially as they liked because it was free.
And guess what? People’s thumbs got sore. There was literally that much texting going on.
Even my mother in law got in on the texting caper, and that is really saying something. This lady has never stepped foot near a computer, and probably never will. But with texting she made a complete leap of faith and got stuck in.
Sure the first text to me had full stops between each and every word AND WAS ALL TYPED IN CAPS, but hey, she was able to send a message to us from the safe haven and manicured gardens of Knightsbridge, Napier; all the way to the hustle & bustle of south west London.
There once was a time and place for texting
When I was due to have my first child in London, my mother in law suggested we call them the moment I went into labour, the moment I arrived at the hospital and the moment the baby came.
We shut that one down quickly explaining that despite the fact that we would have a mobile phone on us, it was not hospital etiquette to talk obnoxiously on the phone, especially not in a maternity ward, and besides, it was highly likely that I would be, well, occupied shall we say.
We suggested instead that texting might be a happy, non obnoxious alternative. No shouting down a phone, no inopportune calls from over-excited in-laws in New Zealand, and everyone kept happily informed on progress of the impending arrival of the prodigal grandson.
In short, even I do buy into the ideal that there once was a time and place for texting.
Fast forward to 2014
It’s been 15 years since texting entered our consciousness, and we’ve had many more iterations of technology and communication since.
We’ve gone from living without Facebook to spending hours and hours per week on it, digesting physical newspapers to digesting twitter feeds, not to mention Skype & Google Hangouts.
Yet my girlfriends still seem to want to …. text me.
And not just little one liner helpful texts like ‘I’m on my way’, but full blown novellas of every movement they’ll make prior to getting ready to come to my house and which wine they’ll bring. Do I really need to know all of this??
My phone starts to stacks up with text after text on a daily basis, which I will clock (well most of the time), but not necessarily respond to. Some days, I literally just don’t have time to sit there and sift through and respond to texts! It's the one communication channel I'd prefer to just switch off. After all there are so many others switched on??
Let’s start the no-texting movement!
Lately I’ve been trying to start a movement with my group of girlfriends to move away from the texting, and get into the 21st century with instant messaging using the great features of Skype or Facebook (which coincidentally link to one another so you can be across comms which ever item you happen to be on at the time).
Better yet it’s free (unless of course you are on a particular plan whereby you can send unlimited texts or to certain phones), you have an easy message trail if you need to recall a key detail (try looking for that key piece of information in an ancient text. Yup – good luck with that!) and you can easily send pictures and other people to the conversation (or depart it if you wish).
I know, you could argue that texting has advanced and has many of these features too, but at the end of the day I personally find texting so uninspiring, and soooo 1990s.
So don’t text me okay? Tweet me. Facebook me. Skype me. Just anything but text! Let's stick texting where it belongs. Alongside faxes and telegrams.