Thursday, February 22, 2007

To Text or Not to Text, what the hell?

The fact that we even refer to it as a slang already, is pretty unfortunate.

A "text" or "TM"... "I'll text you" or, "Didn't you get my text?"

More unfortunate is the fact that people are seriously using this form of communication to replace a phone call nowadays. Okay, there are certain situations for which I think a text is appropriate. Let's deal with these first.

When a "text" is okay:

-I'm on my way home. We're all out of milk. Did my roommate get it or should I stop?
Appropriate text: "Do we need milk?"

-You're on a date. Or we can't talk, but you have info. We obviously can't have an update over the phone that will really cover much, and clearly a text won't say much either, but we can get the point across. I wonder how your date or your night is going.
Appropriate text: "It's going well. 7/10. Good enough to miss Grey's for."

-I miss you. Yes, we just talked on the phone ten minutes ago. But your voice sounded so sweet, and I miss you in my bed. And I want you to know this.
Appropriate text: "I miss you in my bed."

-A funny one liner needs to be relayed. It doesn't require a whole phone call. In fact, it will be funnier if it's in a text which can be saved and referred to for a laugh at a later date.
Appropriate text: "I'm sitting next to a guy wearing tapered leg jeans and socks with sandals."

-American Idol is on and you want to vote for your favorite male vocalist.
Appropriate text: "

-Lastly, I would put anything in this category that is something short, to the point, quick, and that doesn't need a phone call for. If you know someone isn't near email, or can't talk on the phone, but have something quick to say. A nice comment, an "I miss you," a "hello friend," a compliment.
These are acceptable.

When a "text" is not okay:

-I'm at the bar. You're cute and you give me your number. First of all, ask for my number buddy, and call me. But giving me your number and suggesting I text you? Not mature.
Inappropriate text: "Have a good night. Here is my number. Text me if you want."
That's a turnoff. And inappropriate. And a zillion other things that do not equal a date on the horizon.

-Making plans over texts. I'm talking big plans. It's a stretch if it's something small even, but fine. Switching a time for meeting up for drinks, saying you're running late and asking if that's okay. All fine.
Inappropriate text: "Do you have plans Saturday night?"
Wrong. Don't make date plans with me over a text. And I'm really expected to engage in this back and forthness? I will probably throw my phone. This is not how to woo a girl. Pick up the phone and call me. Show some decency and take the time and effort to actually engage in a conversation. If you call me you appear interested; if you text me you appear lazy. Recognize the difference.

-Texting, binging back and forth with God knows who, constantly.
There's really no further explanation here. If I'm out to dinner with a girlfriend, I will not be texting someone else all night. If we're on a date, I don't expect you to be texting someone else all night. A little appropriate text, fine, two at the most, explained above, can slide. More than that is getting into rude territory. You appear uninterested in the one you're with, and that's also unattractive.

-You need to say something to someone. It's important. It's news. Or maybe it's not important but you want to keep in touch. You have things to say; you want to catch up.
Inappropriate text: "Hey, how are you? I hope your week is going well. Want to do something Sunday? Did I leave my sneakers at your apartment? Hope your week is going well. I have been so busy with work and everything else."
This is too much. Too long, too much info for one text. In fact, it will probably be rejected because it's too long. Or separated into two texts, and who wants to get two, choppy texts? Email me with this. Or call me. Or stop by my place and tell me. Remember, I'm getting charged for your text. Thank you very much.

I'm not totally opposed to texting. I think, like anything else, there is a time and place. There are clearly some very appropriate situations where it's called for. Probably many, many more instances where it is not. I will admit, I have probably been in the inappropriate category before. I have learned my lesson. Maybe it sounds picky, but it's the facts.

I firmly vow, here and now, to follow these above outlined rules from here on out.

This is my list. Do you have some additions?


PeeJ said...

I refer to "texting" as it's known here as "NCC" - that is "Non-committal communication".

Y'see, a spoken conversation needs two things - a quick mind and the ability to say what you mean. A text message, like an email - cannot propel enough emotion within itself to your intended recipient, therefore it allows you the comfort blanket of non-commital. Someone says "Did you really just text me what I think you just texted me?" and you could try and wriggle out of it by saying "Well OK it doesn't translate very well when typed".

Mobile Phone mania deserves a psychological branch of science all its own. I have a mobile phone, and 10 quid of credit lasts me 6 months, not because I don't have friends but just that I have friend s that I go out and talk to in person rather than wibbling on at 'em on my mobile.

NCC - you read it here first :)


PeeJ said...

Oh and PS - Brooke your blog just blows me away.


Accidentally Me said...

I could go on about this for a while...I hate text messages. I think you set out a pretty good list of acceptable messages there.

Really, people are just lazy communicators. Face-to-face is to hard, so we use the phone. The phone is too hard, so we use email. Email is too hard so we use is a bad trend.

perturbed_squirrel_chaser said...

I completely understand about your texting issue. I feel that anytime that people walk through life with both eyes closed they are bound to run into something painful. I guess I just mean cutting off all the emotional aspect is never really a good thing in my opinion. I think text messages is just an out, it's a way to not fully put your heart on the line. I am happy that you look for more meaning out of life. Happiness finds those who look for it,

Aaron said...


I've been rear-ended three times (by women, I might add) who were talking on the phone. Two continued talking, even after the accident (I thought I'd add that, too). If people can't operate a vehicle while talking on the phone, they sure as hell can't text, either.

Ally said...

Texting is good when you're in a loud bar or club and need to convey information since hearing someone is nearly impossible.

I had a friend "break up" with me via text message. It was one of those situations where there was an obvious misunderstanding, so I thought about calling him to clarify....but then I thought "Do I even want to do that? Who wants to be friends with someone who thinks it's appropriate to end a friendship via text message?" So I guess text messaging is just helping the immature be even more immature.

brookem said...

peej- NCC, ha, I love it. Even more damn lingo for this form of communication.
And I completely agree with what you said.

AM- it IS a bad trend. Agreed.

Ryan- totally; it can be a wicked cop out at particular times.

Aaron- Wow, really. They continued to talk on the phone after rear-ending you??

Ally- I agree about the bar scene. Man, that's right up there with being broken up with on a post-it note! (S&TC)

Clare said...

Hey Brookem I really like your blog :).

Everyone over here texts these days. If someone is on a train I would rather they text someone to tell them that fact than make a call and loudly tell the rest of the carriage that "I am on the train". Sometimes text can be better :).

brookem said...

Clare- Thanks for stopping by. You have given another good example of the "appropriate text."

I like your picture by the way.

PeeJ said...

Aaron - Same thing happens over here too mate. They've only just got round to changing the law so anyone using a mobile either texting or talking on it gets an instant 3 penalty points on their licence.

Of course they're still free to do their makeup in the mirrors, light ciggies, monkey around with the stereo, eat nachos, pick their noses (eugh) and various other distractions that involve hands not being where they should be but viva the nanny state :)


brandy said...

My personal rule: don't text anything that's going to require "A TALK". Examples include.... "This isn't working", " So, I sort of have a girlfriend I didn't tell you about" or "let's just get married".

k.r.i.s.t.e.n. said...

you know how i feel about text messages. i hate people who make plans over texts and it's so disappointing that guys rely on texting so much when asking a girl out on a date. and i have one friend who always texts me long messages and if i respond back, the texting goes back and forth for 20 minutes. good points!

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