Thursday, January 17, 2008

Texting is the Worst Technology Ever

Let me just get something off my chest here. I hate text messaging.

Why the texting phenomenon has caught fire like a California hillside, I will never know. Anything that forces us to punch a 0.75 square centimeter "7" key four times just to type an "S" seems like woefully backward technology if you ask me.

I am fully aware that I may not 'get' texting because I am old. But having said that, let's take a peek at what's really going on here, shall we?

Texting is time consuming and inefficient. It's tedious. If you're going to go through all that effort to learn 'texting language' like "U R GR8!" and the ultra-lame "LOL!" and then punch this drivel into a dinky keypad that was designed for dialing phone numbers, isn't it just time to send an email or, god forbid, call the person? Must we cling to some outdated and tiresome technology? Hey, why don't we just start faxing our friends, while we're at it?

The other complaint I have about texting is that, when used by unsupervised toddlers, it allows for the purchase of mysterious services via the internet. I'm serious. I let Peapod play with my phone all the time because secretly I'm hoping that she'll break it so I'll have an excuse to get an iPhone. So earlier this week, she was at it again while I was working at my desk. A few minutes later, I hear that tinny little beep that signals that I have not one, but five new text messages.

Now, my loved ones know better than to text me because they know I am a texting bufoon. So who would send me this junk? Turns out that Peapod used my phone to go online and inadvertently text her intention to purchase some new media service which is apparently $5.99! Sure, a one-time $5.99 fee is "funny-ha-ha." But the negative texting karma I'm generating with this blog post has probably earned me some hideous and ironic $5.99-per-second fee every time I read a text message that I didn't even want in the first place.

OMG! Don't U just want 2 LOL?


Jemifus said...

Rebuttal: Texting is teh awesomeness.

Let me preface this by saying this rebuttal is in no way a defense of the dreaded "LOL". LOL is often used under circumstances that lead me to suspect that the claimant is not, in fact, laughing out loud. I've had this suspicion confirmed numerous times while watching people text others, stone-facedly tapping "LOL" in response to something which is, at best, mildly amusing.

However, let that not diminish the fact that texting is teh awesomeness. Your critique of texting centers around three central points, each more easily rebutted than the others.

The first point is that texting is difficult given the size of the keys and the number of times each must be pressed to create a decipherable string of symbols. Somebody call the waaaahmbulance. I submit that you have a crappy phone and that you have not bothered to learn how to use it because you are a luddite. Texting has really taken off with the advent of full keyboard phones, so is it really so difficult to understand that other people wouldn't have as much trouble as you? However, even with an old 10-key pad, cell phones have long contained predictive text technology. This technology, almost certainly available in your current cell phone, ensures that you only have to hit each key once as the cell phone reads your mind. I think this is possible through nano-tech or stem-cells.

Your second major critique is regarding the necessity of texting in the first place as a substitute for phone calls. But they do not serve the same purpose at all. A phone call is a dedicated bandwidth activity. A pipeline must be opened between the two participants, and the pipeline must remain open until the conversation is complete, consuming the complete attention of each participant in the process. Texting is an intermittent communication tool that is well suited to less interactive communication in an environment where a person's day may consist of a series of compartmentalized activities. Each text is a self-contained communication, which eliminates the need for a dedicated communications pipeline.

Your third objection can be dismissed prima facie as irrelevant. The argument seems to be that child neglect plus texting leads to increased costs. I'd submit that child neglect plus any other activity can lead to costs recognized in various forms, such as reupholstering or increased hair care expenses.

So, as you can see, with a minimal up-front investment in acquiring basic texting techniques and appropriate supervision of proximate children, texting can admirably fill a unique communications niche and is, therefore, teh awesomeness. Quod erat demonstrandum. w00t!

Wendy Mihm said...