Monday, November 28, 2011
Text Messages and Emails
I text with sentences made of words that can be found in the dictionary. I email with paragraphs. I like the written word; the old fashioned way of writing. I like it better than the new, abbreviated language that uses idk instead of I don’t know, and k instead of okay or ok.
However, I’m open to it – this new written language. In the scheme of things, it’s hardly on my list of worries. I’ve even succumbed to dropping a word or two; like when I say, Glad you’re fine, instead of, I’m glad you’re fine. Also, LOL (laugh out loud) and :) (a smile) have become staples in my correspondence. Hmmm…
What I do mind, though, is the possible lack of clarity and emotion in a text message or email. Misunderstandings, mix-ups, and mouth-dropping reactions due to those few words transmitted from one techy device to another, have happened to me, and probably to you, too. Sometimes the true meaning and intent is not conveyed and that’s a problem.
Once, my husband and I missed an opportunity to have dinner with another couple because I didn’t check my email a lot during that particular day, and I didn’t get the invitation. In the past, I’d told my new friend that emailing was the best way to reach me and she took it literally. She probably thought I didn’t like being burdened with answering my phone, so she didn’t call. Oops.
Another time, I cancelled an appointment because I assumed my husband was too busy to go. He’d emailed earlier saying he had meetings all day. His second email, a half hour later, said he was available for the appointment. Too late. Oops.
A texting faux pas happened when I missed seeing an old friend while visiting the city she lives in. I hadn’t seen her in eighteen years. We did exchange phone calls, but because of the long distance from our hotel to her home, my family’s touring plans, and her schedule – the meeting did not happen. Sooo… she sent me a text that lasted three or four screens, basically telling me how selfish I am; at least that’s the way I took it. Because it was a text, I don’t know if her tone was supposed to be sad or mad or something else. It felt a little biting to me and as a result of that text - I’m done with her. Big oops – hers… or maybe not an oops. Maybe that was her message to tell me that she was done with me.
...which reminds me: opening a text or an email can be risky. You think you're getting a pleasant or informative note, only to read something that can ruin your day.
I’ve noticed that people use texting and emailing as a way to avoid direct confrontation. They don’t want to see each other or to hear each other’s voices. They use short, abrupt messages to correspond. Is this taking the easy way out? What are the consequences?
We’ve come a long way from the one black phone in the house and the 5 cent stamp we used to mail our five page letter. Computers, cell phones, and social media allow quick access to anyone in the world. Are our brains wired to keep up with it all? Have our social skills suffered as a result?
What are your feelings about emailing, texting, and other social media?
PS. I'm not giving up texting or emailing. :)
Image from Microsoft Word clipart.