Wednesday, April 8, 2009

'Text Is Cheap'

In this day and age, friends let friends text during verbal conversations. Friends let coworkers, family members, significant others, fellow grocery store stand-in-liners and themselves text during verbal conversations. Sometimes, it drives me crazy. Where art thou, eye contact?!

Two of my friends and I went out to lunch a few weeks ago and we started chatting but not five minutes in, one pulled out his BlackBerry, and then so did the other one. Conversation drifted for a few minutes into silence. I ate quietly until they snapped back and were off and running again. Then it happened again. And again. While walking back to the office afterwards, the same thing happened again. This was over the span of 30 minutes.

"Sometimes I don't even have a purpose for taking it out," one said. "I just get awkward or the other person gets awkward and so it's awkward and I need to get out of it and do something! I need to keep busy. Sometimes I just reread old text messages or look at my menu options."

Sadly, it made perfect sense and to be honest, I've done the same thing with my boring $50 Samsung flip phone. But I see it happen all the time! In meetings, in the car, out to dinner... the digital age was supposed to make us move faster, but instead we've all become zombie slaves to a pocket-sized piece of plastic. Can't anyone have an uninterrupted conversation anymore?! I didn't realize a 30 minute lunch was so hard to get through.

The most amusing is on the elevator. As soon as the doors closes after everyone gets on, instead of looking at the ceiling or your fingernails like in 2005, everyone pulls out their phones and pretends to be searching frantically for something important to do.

The most annoying is with my 18 year-old sister, who has FRIED four cell phones in a year from over-texting with her friends. It has actually become a permanent extension of her arm. You know, when I was your age, sis, we used AIM. I can only imagine the riveting conversations she must be having when they start with, BUZZZ.... flip.... New Text: "Sup? I'm bored."

It pains me to think we're headed into a life where our vocabulary becomes mute and the only noises we make are 'buzz' and 'beep, beep, beep' and sometimes a Janet Jackson or My Chemical Romance song.

What prompted this rant was I found this Washington Post opinion piece in Art & Living today satirically commenting on just this topic. RIGHT ON!, I thought.

Best bit of the article: "Oh, I can retaliate," says Erin Lamos, who works at a Washington think tank. "I can be way more engrossed in my iPhone than anyone could be on their BlackBerry. 'Excuse me while I use this iPhone app to play a song on my flute.' "

Self hypocrite alert: Who doesn't want the iPhone, myself included. I'll most likely have one or a BlackBerry one of these days, but promise to take the oath of consciousness of other people's conversations, or at least try to reconcile BlackBerry war instead of declaring it.

In other related texting news, students in Moldova used Twitter to organize a violent protest against their country's Communist government regime yesterday - and 10,000 people showed up! +1 microblog, whoever said you weren't useful?

1 comment:

Erin said...

I HATE when people text during conversations. Or, for that matter, answer their phones (for a non-emergency) during a meal. Ugh.

Makes me feel unimportant.