TEXTING: an obsession reshaping the art of interaction

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By Julia Hotz

“Should I text him/her, or wait for him/her to text me?” “‘Hey’ with one ‘y’ or two?” “How long should I wait before I text back?”

The majority of us have either heard those questions or asked those questions ourselves. Perhaps they were asked half-jokingly, but nonetheless, they were asked. These questions are pretty silly, but if you really think about the context in which they were asked, you’ll realize our generation’s “texting” obsession is anything but silly.

Did you know text messaging was invented primarily to be used by the hearing impaired? Text messaging (no, not texting, as we often incorrectly refer to it) became popular in the year 2000, when a report indicated that users sent and received a total of 35 text messages per month.

This number steadily increased throughout the decade, as text messaging became a handy communication medium. It was used to exchange short, practical messages that were too brief for a phone call.

Now, 11 years later, that figure has multiplied by nearly 300, as it is reported that teenagers, on average, currently send and receive 10,000 text messages per month. This calculates to more than 330 text messages per day.

Adults often shake their heads at this figure. My mother always asks me, “What the hell are you texting someone 300 times a day about?!”

Only recently have I started to actually contemplate this question. Looking through my more recent texts, I can tell you in all honesty that these are not short, practical messages, and texting, for me, is not simply a matter of convenience.

It is something that I, like most people my age, admittedly put way too much thought and time into. Some people even let it escalate to the point where they text and drive, or text someone sitting in the same room as them!

And so, as the saying goes, be the change you want to see in the world. The publication of this article will signify my official effort to stop texting so much, and help to fight one of our generation’s most silly obsessions. I will make a conscious effort to  go to the library without my phone, actually turn my phone off for class, and put my phone in my bag when I walk around campus. It’s going to take baby steps to make this happen, but I hope that everyone will give it a shot.

g2g.

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