Monday, March 31, 2008

Stressed by SMS

Sitting on the bus manically tapping out a text message like an easily-entertained baboon has about as much appeal as snorting sump oil.

With all the thousands of oral, verbal, physical and electronic avenues of communication available, why anyone would be bothered withering away their thumb tendons on what is roughly a chocolate-bar-sized typing pad (though not as tasty or as easy to use) is completely mystifying. Not to mention the cricked necks, enduring the stupid add-on smiley symbols and messages that go to and fro and take up valuable screen space and rack up in-box access fees. Ask yourself this: how many texts sent are actually worth reading, or in any way life changing? Will Hillary or Obama get one from Capitol Hill that says, "Yr G8t"?

The telephone company executives must be laughing in their Lamborghinis at the sheer stupidity of punters willing throw their dollars down the drain communicating in the least economic and ergonomic way possible. SMS suckers are literally trying to find ways of validating the add-ons to what used to be a portable telephone. Nowadays they have cameras, videos, internet access, footy scores, weather forecasts, pin-ups, songs and direct links to TV programs that earn more than the show costs to run by urging suckers to SMS and 'vote for their favourite' Loser/Dancer/Big brother contestant/bathroom tiler.

Perhaps these uber-phones are merely the adult version of gameboys and Nintendo lites? The new toys of the noughties? Why are we so insecure about being contactable at all times that we must even ignore the person we are physically with in order to act like an ill-mannered turd and tap out some text tripe to someone else instead?

If you don't want to have a conversation with a known chatterbox, fine: ring them when you know they won't be at home and leave a brief message on their machine. Send them an email, write them a note; get a friend to speak to them. SMSing is for suckers who can't spell, sending messages to people who can't read; about events that can't be all that important.

Furthermore, don't ever fool yourself into believing that SMSing is more polite than actually taking a phone call in a lecture, on the train or at the cafe table. It isn't, and nor is it invisible. Any poor mug can see that someone who is constantly looking down into their handbag or lap is either far too fascinated with their own genitalia or busying texting. Either way; both scenario is an unflattering reflection on their personality.


ThirdCat said...

I really like texting. I agree that texting in lectures and while you're talking with people is rude.

But over the last little while it's been a lovely way of letting friends know I'm thinking of them when they're going through tricky times, and I know they're too tired to talk, but need to know we're around.

franzy said...

Poo-Fwah-Piffle to your anti-text rant! How can you be against SMSing, but for emailing, writing notes and leaving um-ah messages on answering machines? Hmm?
I believe that you are actually for politeness and grammar and I, for one, ascribe to a code of manners when it comes to mobile phones and texting in particular!
1. Always spell your texts correctly - mobile phones have built it predictive dictionaries that help you do this.
2. Never answer a text when you are talking to someone. I even refuse to do it when the person I'm talking to asks me if I want to read the text I've just been sent, and they are always slightly flattered when I brush it off and imply that they are more important than electro-butting-in.
3. Mobiles OFF during food time and classes!

I frown upon your SMS-resistant rant! I agree with your scepticism of the myriad of mobile functions available, however did you know that one can BLOG from one's mobile? How can that be bad?

Think again!

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks for commenting, Third Cat and Franzy. For me, 'texting' is awkward and time consuming: the *&^%ingn predictive text never uses the word I want it to use and tapping out each letter takes AGES - it's easier to leave a non-umm-err message on a voice machine or a quick email to let my mates know that I'm thinking of them.

I agree with you Franzy that texts need to be spelled correctly and would also feel flattered if you brushed off answering a text when you're talking with me. Mobiles off during food time,classes and performances is a definite.

Sorry to make you frown, Franzy - the thought of blogging via text makes my head and hands ache just thinking about it!

Naomi said...

I am a text fiend, love it, love it, love it! BUT I too am a stickler for spelling and for grammar in sms messages too.

I agree with the other comments as well about no go times when mobiles need to be switched off!

River said...

I prefer to use the text function on my phone simply because I have a hearing problem and when I need to contact someone I often can't hear a spoken message because of bus and or background noise. Reading and replying via text is so much easier for me. I only ever contact my family this way and since they are all busy with their own lives my phone is hardly ever used. The camera function is used only occasionally, such as last November when my cherry tree was loaded with fruit I took pictures and SMS'd them to my children. At Christmas I took photos of my grandchildren and sent them on to family members who weren't at the gathering. I do turn it off when I'm somewhere where silence is more appropriate like a picture theatre, museum or library.

Baino said...

I'm a complete technophobe when it comes to mobile phones. Mine's just a receiver so the kids can call me to say they won't be home for tea! As for predictive text . . never got it, never will!

davey said...

It's ok Mill. Predictive text is a bit confusing. I'll send you an email explaining it soon, promise.

Kath Lockett said...

Hey pro-TXTers, check this out at UK's Daily Mail:
Meet 'Flicity & Conna', the new baby names from the texting generation
By LUKE SALKED 31st March 2008

More parents are giving their children names derived from texting language

Given the unstoppable rise of text language, it was only a matter of time before children's names went the way of traditional English.

Sure enough, text-style versions have begun to appear on birth certificates.

Anne has been changed to An, Connor to Conna and Laura to Lora.

Six boys were named Cam'ron instead of Cameron. According to the online parenting club Bounty, one girl born last month was named Flicity. And there are numerous young chaps named Samiul.

Last year, a couple were told they would not be allowed to register their son's name as 4Real.

Officials in New Zealand ruled that the use of a number made it inappropriate, so Pat and Sheena Wheaton had to opt for their second choice - Superman.

In this country, other bizarre choices officially registered have included Ikea for a girl as well as Moet for a boy whose parents might have a soft spot for the champagne label.

The trend is thought to be inspired by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, who named her daughter Apple, and Jamie Oliver, who has daughters Daisy Boo and Poppy Honey.

Bounty spokesman Pauline Kent said: "Some of these new and different names are a way for parents to give their children a unique identity.

"It is similar to the thinking that goes in to naming a new brand of product for example - something to make them stand out from the crowd."

Others in recent registers have followed the example of the Beckhams, who named their eldest son after the place where he was conceived.

But while David and Victoria chose Brooklyn, children in Britain have been named after places such as Finchley in North London and the cathedral city of Ely in Cambridgeshire.

Both are male names. Other examples of unusually-titled boys registered in the past 12 months include Rocky, Rivers and Red.

As well as Ikea, recent girls' names have included Paprica, Caramel, Bambi, Fire-Lily, Skylark and Tame - which apparently stands for The Apple of My Eye.

On the text-style names, John Dunford, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said it was possible that new mothers and fathers had lost the ability to spell.

He added: "Some of it is genuine misspelling; some is parents looking for a unique way to spell a name and some is just carelessness.

"It makes life very difficult for teachers taking the register and completing forms."