TEXT TO YA LATER! (If The Tubes wrote "Talk To Ya Later" in 2012)
I must be some genius or something to come up with that headline. It's a grand statement isn't it? And those of you who know me by now (or at least know me via this blog) realize that I may or may not be full of shit.
The jury is still out on that. Some days I feel like an incredibly honest person who tells it like it is when it comes to people and behavior and what not.
The truth is... no one knows anything - we're all just doing what we can to make it through the day. Whether it's professionally or personally, we are just doing the best we can in a world where the rules are constantly changing.
I mean, think about it - look at something as simple as texting. It is now an accepted form of communication. I've gone out with girls where I could count the number of phone conversations on one hand - it was either in-person or via text. Now, I'm not hating on texting. In fact, I love it. The fact that I prefer writing lends itself to the texting landscape.
However, I will digress and say that booze, texting, and me are not a good match. I regret many o thangs thanks to a bottle of Jameson and my blackberry. But aside from that, I think texting is a great form of communication which I gladly embrace.
Think about it. It's no different than writing a letter to someone, dropping it in the mail, and awaiting a response. Only now the process is more immediate. But the good stuff remains. With the writing process comes the ability to carve out our words - be they funny, romantic, profound, depressing... and yes, even shitfaced drunk. Texting allows us to say things that might sound less than desirable if they were said aloud. But, for whatever reason, in text form it works.
Texting allows us to use our words more carefully - and in my opinion that's the most important thing. Let's say you're out with some people and you're all having a grand conversation. Everything you say is basically a first draft. For some people that's no problem. They're good speakers, so the first draft sounds like a final draft. But for others their first draft sounds...well... like a first draft - they may sound like a lunatic even. You know that thing you say to yourself after you've said something - "Oh, man I could have said XYZ instead and that would have been so much better!" But with texting you get to take your time, you get to choose your words... and that can make all the difference.
Obviously, I'm not saying we shouldn't go out and have live conversations, but if you're someone who isn't good in that forum, texting at least gives you another option (especially when it comes to dating). Texting could even improve your live convo skills if approached the right way.
I embrace this process and I think my texting skills have gotten better (not necessarily when booze is involved). For the longest time the biggest downside to email and texting was that the receiver had no emotional context when it came to reading the message you sent. How many times have you had to clarify "No, that's not what I meant!" And for the longest time BOLD type was thought of as yelling and exclamation points are used to such a degree, I couldn't even begin to tell you what they meant.
The absolute WORST are the common errors - like writing "did" instead of "didn't" - THAT completely changes the meaning. Fortunately, we're not idiots so we're able to work around such errors.
And let's not even get into Auto-Correct right now!
I think one of the most helpful tools is the emoticon - be it :) or ;) or :o or :\ - these faces actually help us convey the emotional context of what we're writing. I think this is an area that can be greatly expanded on to even further help convey our message. We need more emoticons!
I think the world should embrace texting because it can teach us to me more responsible with our words. I can't say enough how important words are. It's what I love about Obama. He gets it. He uses precisely the right words to convey an idea - simple concept, right? Well, I think there is a reason I feel for the first time that I understand the President of our country. but enough about my politics!
The words we choose represent us and I'm always careful with how I say something. However, I still can be the worst culprit when it comes to the wrong choice of words.
There is also something more intimate about texting. When you're on the phone and talking it's easy to get distracted by everything going on around you, but when you're texting you are focusing on what you're writing. If something distracts you, you stop and then go back to it when the distraction is gone. So, if I'm texting with a girl - even if I'm at one bar and she's at another - I have her attention for that moment. She may respond immediately, in ten minutes, an hour, or the next morning... but the fact is, when she does, I will have her attention in that moment. There is obviously more to all this, but I think there is something here at its core.
I'm no licensed therapist (SHOCKER!), but my guess is as this is researched more there will be some interesting discoveries about texting and human interaction. It may seem impersonal now because it's still so new, but if you stop and think about it texting is punk rock to hip hop as far communication goes. It's still evolving. When I was a kid, I would write a note to a girl I liked asking her "to go" with me, and the girl would send me a note saying she didn't want "to go"....texting is no different than passing notes in class.
Even as I write this, I am more convinced that texting is a good thing.
I'm not saying it should replace the live human experience - it should simply add to it.
In closing, and as with everything, we need to be responsible -- with the power of texting comes great responsibility and it's just as easy to misuse texting. Remember that there is a human being on the other end of that text reading what you've written and your words will impact them. But it's no different than having a verbal conversation, the same responsibility applies.
Remember, we're all fragile, even if we don't show it. In fact, the ones who don't, tend to be the most fragile. So please... take care and be nice.
We only go around once.