Text messaging foils human interaction

Sometimes I wonder if anyone remembers what it’s like to “Laugh Out Loud” anymore. Phone calls are becoming part of the past, like the days when soda was 10 cents and gas was under a dollar per gallon.

Last year, Nielsen Mobile reported that the average American cell phone user sent or received 357 text messages while sending or receiving 204 phone calls per month. “Text” is on its way to being an official verb, I’m sure of it.

I guess people like the quick and easy format, but I doubt the 357 text messages sent every month are all about where to meet up for lunch or when homework for chemistry is due.

Personally, I miss the days when my girl friends would tell me stories about the “new guy” who asked for their number and actually called them to set up a date. With texting, people get each other’s numbers and voices are muted until the actual date. What happened to staying up all night on the phone? Even Soulja Boy wants to be kissed through the phone, not a text.

“Flirtexting,” a book about text message flirting etiquette, explains it’s important to “know just when to reply.” Why pause the conversation just to keep the other person hanging by a thread? I remember the days when people could do that with just one second of eye contact, a smile or a thoughtful word.

I remember the days when a girl could just look at a boy and he’d know he’d be holding her hand someday. I remember when people would smile at each other and know they’d be “BFFs” in a second. I remember when people would have fights over the phone, not through the usage of misspelled, shortened cuss words.

We all deflect things in conversations that can be a little bit more than just awkward. Sometimes it’s taken too far. Let’s take dating. “Wanna go to the movies?” is a horrible question. Who doesn’t want to go have a “cinematic adventure,” as Dane Cook says? What you’re really trying to ask is whether or not this person wants to spend two hours with you in a dark room with popcorn in your teeth and soda on your breath.

We just can’t seem to ask with our voices, even when we have such a great euphemism like “Wanna see a movie?” in our arsenal. Texting lets you halve your effort. “U wanna go 2 the movies?” You’re halfway there! Slap in an emoticon to set up the idea of it just being a “hangout.” Who wants to sound desperate, right?

The fact that the book — and others like it — states on its back cover, “This is a book that every bold and modern woman with two opposable thumbs will love,” saddens me to great ends.

To me, a “bold” woman, or man, would not need a book nor use “Flirtexting” as a way to find love in life. If “bold” means learning “how to create the BPT — best possible text,” then we are seriously losing our voices.

Ava Nguyen is a sophomore journalism major and a contributing writer for the Daily 49er.


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