Sunday, July 20, 2008

Text Messaging on the Liahona?

Picture writing, story telling, stone tablets, golden plates, paper, books, phones, voice mail, email, text messaging...aah, how times have changed. But is technology really all it's cracked up to be? A stake speaker at church today suggested that text messaging is not as new as we believe it to be. He recalled that words would appear on the Liahona to direct them and that was really the beginning of text messaging. Well, he got a chuckle, even from me.

I have been against text messaging for quite a while now. I have used it on a few occasions but refuse to use it as a major form of communication like so many people do. I think it is diminishing people's ability to have an actual conversation with others, causing more spelling and grammar problems, and is disruptive to classrooms, church, and meetings. i can tel when people r good at texting cuz there sentences look like this... Maybe that is being harsh (or giving them too much credit for using a complete sentence), but it seems like people are becoming stupider as technology is getting smarter. I worry about the kids today growing up in this world. I worry because acquiring these minimal technological skills and equipment seem to be a priority in their lives. If you don't believe me, ask the 5th grader who in their class has a cell phone, if it can text, if it takes pictures, etc. Ask that same student if there is anyone who takes piano lessons, is artistic, what books they are reading, etc. You will get a more animated, lively, and interested 5th grader with the first question.

The thing that worries me most about written conversations is that our youth are missing out on the intent of the message, the body language and the human contact. From what I can tell, most of us are willing to say a lot more on the computer than we are willing to say in person. For most adults this works out to be an engaging, animated discussion full of opinions and thoughtful ideas. We have already discovered (for the most part) who we are and don't need someone on the other end of an electronic device to help us form that person. As teens and preteens, they rely on the input from their peers to help them fit into their reality. I think the chances of misinterpreting an email or text is far greater than a face to face conversation. Furthermore, I think it is a lot easier to hurt some one's feelings via the Internet (My Space) or a text message than it is to say it to some one's face. If you put that technology in the hands of hurtful, vengeful, depressed, and/or hormonal teenagers I think you are doing them a grave injustice. Let's face it, some adults should not be allowed by a keyboard when they are hormonal. (You know who you are! Myself included.)

That being said, I do see the merits of text messaging. I used it once while Bill was in class and I needed him to bring something home after I had gone to bed. It was also a great tool in helping a hospitalized boy I know get on the road to recovery. His mother told everyone how much he liked the vibration of his phone in his hand so many people from school, including me, would text him periodically during the day. He was not able to speak for a while and about a week later I got a message that said: " :) Brian " No, I don't think the texting helped him re coop but it was one thing that could make us feel like we were doing something to support him, put a smile on his face, and show our genuine concern for his well being.

Do I think texting is the wave of the future? Not really, but some people do. A friend of mine obviously does because he posted a link to an article on his blog a while ago. To be honest I clicked on it, read part of it, then got bored and moved on. I just didn't find it interesting because I don't think it is all that great. But then my mind changed...

Bill's birthday was a week ago and, as usual, I wanted his son Billy to come over. We haven't seen him in a while, not even at Christmas time. It's hard to explain why things work out the way they do but let's just say Billy's mother is pretty manipulative and demands a lot from him. I never call their home phone and don't really like calling his cell phone. His voice mail always picks up, he sounds all grown up with a super deep voice, and calls himself Will. That's not the kid I know!!! So what to do?! Seriously, I ponder this all week because my stomach just churns thinking about it. Then I remember Davey's article on how everyone is texting and I know Billy does. Wah-lah! It is now Saturday, mid-afternoon, and this is what the conversation looked like:

Me: Sunday 4pm dads bday. Bomps and Maggie are coming. Love you, H and the girls
Billy: Sunday like tomorrow, or next week?
Me: Tomorrow.
Billy: OK. Ill be there. Can my girlfriend and her son come if they can?
Me: Of course. No gifts, your dad is 44 and is in denial.
Billy: Wow. He's getting old huh?
Me: Yep.

That was more or less what the conversation looked like and it all happened within 30min. Do you know how awkward that phone call would have been? First, I would have had to leave a voice message because he never picks up. I definitely would have felt like an idiot for saying, "yeah it's tomorrow and I'm a looser for waiting until today to call you". He might have been hesitant to ask me about his girlfriend. I don't know. All I do know for sure it that he came with April and her adorable 10 month old son. We had a delightful time and hope to see them again soon! Billy even called his dad on the phone a few days later but that might have been after Tasha left him a lengthy voice mail that included some singing :)

Sooooooooo, THAT my dear readers is why Davey is King!!! If it were not for his dumb article on text messaging that I didn't even read all the way through and still can't decide if I agree with or not, Bill would not have seen his son on his birthday. Aw, how sweet. Thanks Davey and don't get too big of a head. Your in laws are coming soon and they will need to get in the door!


btg said...

Thank you Davey, but most of all, Thank you babe for jumping over that hurdle of technology. It was a great birthday having Billy, April and Ethan there. It was interesting seeing him in that role. Reminded me of me when he Billy was born. I guess that would make me a, I do not think I can even go there!

As far as texting goes, I am amazed at how quickly some people can text. If you think I am slow on a keyboard, you should see me try to text. I guess with the smart phones it would be easier, but I just got a Razor phone, I am not due to get a smart phoene for about 5 years. You are right about what is lost in personal communication. Sarcasm, amoung many other feelings or emotions is lost in electronic communication. Keep in mind that Kyra's Birthday is coming up...what to get her!

April said...

The point that Bill makes about sarcasm is why i stick to reaing blogs of people that i know well. If I can't hear the person talking to me in my head while I'm reaing their blog, then it's pointless. If I couln't hear your high pitched "HA!" then it wouln't be fun.

That's also why I don't worry about people being offened by my hormonal blogs, or any other blog for that matter. If they don't know me well enough to know that i rant and rave once a month on my blog due to hormones then they shouldn't be reading my blog to begin wiht. In my humble and sarcastic opinion that you can't pick up on unless you've had countless personal interactions with me.

Miss you too! Next time we should vaca together!

Rachel said...

I have felt the same as you on both counts. I hate that texting is ruining our social skills - my friend's boyfriend recently broke up with her by text. WHAT???? And other friends have complained that guys ask them out on dates over a text or cancel dates over a text and they're like, DUDE, you can't TALK to me!?! How're we ever supposed to form a relationship?????? But I have also been grateful for it in the same ways as you.