I had two potential titles for this post in mind so I decided to just pair them up together.

Who’s the guy in green at the center of the painting? Why, that’s Johannes Gutenberg! If his name doesn’t sound familiar, stay tuned for we will get to him a bit later.

– RU bsy?
– LOL no im nt bsy im only drving

Oh…texting. It’s hard to pinpoint when it became mainstream in so many circles. Are many of us now better at typing with our thumbs instead of our fingers? Just the word “texting” guarantees a ton of discussion.

There is a texting love/hate relationship out there which has generated heated arguments. Arguments that have seethed and boiled over in one of the online discussion forums I frequent. Some love it and use abbreviated text speak even in a lot of their forum posts (far beyond the more commonly-known LOL or OMG). I’ve seen some of these forum posts so full of acronyms I concluded it must physically hurt for that person to type vowels. Other people love to text but use full-blown words, the way they’ve been spelled for eons. And others despise it altogether.

Here are just a few comments I’ve heard or read on forums:

– I don’t like talking on the phone. I’d rather text.
– Texting is so much more convenient…I don’t have to talk to the other person.
– Sometimes you can’t just pick up the phone and have a conversation if your [sic] at work or dinner, movie, or a meeting and so the only thing you can do is text the person back. So as not to disturb other people around you.

To these statements above I say cowardly bullshit.

Have we become so incredibly de-humanized that we can’t pick up a phone and speak with one another? Do we HAVE to get back with someone immediately (in a non-emergency situation) or can’t we just wait until the end of the movie or the meeting? Do you mind that I would like to enjoy the movie or play in the theatre space we’re sharing? Please don’t ruin it with the glow of your phone screen for a couple of hours!

What would Johannes Gutenberg think about texting? He invented the printing press, completing it in the mid 15th century. His method of using movable type is credited with not only unleashing a revolution in the production of books, but also triggering rapid development in the sciences, arts and religion. Suddenly many scribes were out of jobs I’d imagine. In the book 1000 Years, 1000 People the authors rank the thousand most influential people over the previous millennium. Gutenberg was ranked #1. Yes, he was a forward-looking guy alright. So, maybe he’d be into texting today – who knows?

I know that I’m really not, as you might have guessed in reading this so far. Now, before I go into a little more detail about why, let me explain that I absolutely love technology, as much as a non-technical, non code writer type of person can. I touch technology every day and I applaud it and the benefits it brings to our lives. At the risk of contradicting myself about texting…I love email. I love reading and writing email; in fact I have at last count seven Inboxes in my life due to having various email addresses depending on their purpose. And I do a pretty good job keeping them all current.

I’ve had cell phones for many years but never used them to text. I guess, coincidentally, most of the people I speak with regularly don’t really text much either.

Suddenly one day my phone started chirping in a way it never had before. What happened? I got a text! A text from a guy I had recently started dating. It was a couple paragraphs – yes paragraphs, not a short message – on what he was doing that evening, an evening where he had other plans. OK, that’s great and all but it really struck me odd. Over time the amount of texts I received grew and grew in frequency. So did my cell phone bill; I’d gone way over the limit of texts included in my basic rate, unbeknownst to me – what a shock! The amount of phone calls I received from him gradually morphed into texts, not calls.

At best it was flattering – I now knew the sound of that little fluttery text alert.
At worst it felt cheap, flat and even a little sneaky.
I told him how I felt and how I appreciated a phone call far more than a text (he traveled a lot for work so we didn’t have a lot of time together in general). He tried as best he could to explain how convenient texting is and how wonderful it is and on and on. But you know, our relationship wasn’t established enough for me to jump on board with his reasonings, even though I knew he cared and meant well. I just couldn’t build a relationship based on texting! So I guess you could chalk my negative take on texting as having a rather unusual way of being introduced to it. First impressions and all.

On the flip side, a relative of mine and her husband routinely text during the day while he’s at work and she’s busy with their kids. It works out wonderfully for them. But…they’ve also been married 15 years. BIG difference there.

I’m not completely against texting, but I think it’s best for short communications…and with someone you already know very well. A quick “I love you,” or “I’m running late,” or “can you pick up the kids tonight; I’m stuck in a meeting” makes sense. Not paragraphs outlining your day, your plans, your musings on the world. Just doesn’t work for me. And it’s no way to grow a romance either! Know what? I’m worth a phone call.

And in case I didn’t make my point earlier on: i h8 wen ppl tlk lyke dis.