Thoughts & Things

I text , therefore I am

November 27, 2018

Recently  I called a  friend to wish him on his birthday.  He was a  bit surprised as almost everyone preferred to text a happy birthday and hence a call appeared unusual. Now, this is a major shift.   A  telephonic call to convey something can be a surprise now. Remember the days we waited so impatiently for a phone connection to talk to people?  But today, it will be interesting to note that speaking over a  phone is losing its charm.    Statistics from across the world point to the drastic increase in texting as the preferred mode of communication especially among the young.     If the text was an exception earlier, today it is the rule.  People engaged in continuous texting is a common sight everywhere.  Technology has made texting with all its attractive features,  the sexier option.   Recall, when was the last time you called some of your best friends or relatives?    Today even though most people are having a  phone with them, it is less used for making a call.  What makes texting an attractive option and what will happen if people increasingly avoid calling others?

The advantages

What makes texting so popular?   What advantages does it provide people as compared to a call?   One obvious reason was that texting became a relatively cheaper option as compared to a call. Perhaps it has also something to do with the way communication underwent changes in the internet era.  Texting allowed people to have much more freedom with their time and much more private space.   In texting, you don’t need the person to be immediately available for you.  You send the message at your convenience and the recipient looks at the message at his /her convenience.  Texting allowed people ample time to prepare and send a message after careful thought.  As we all know, sometimes written communication does wonder as compared to a  direct talk. Remember the many occasions when you found it very difficult to face someone directly in the office or in relationships.    Texting was the blessing then.  It provided an easy route for a reconciliation or an apology. Texting allowed much more freedom to convey your displeasure in a subtle manner without hurting sentiments.  Texting helped to convey the uncomfortable in a comfortable manner.   For many people who had a problem in interpersonal communication, texting helped to connect easily.

Text  vs  Call

As we have seen, the trend is a drastic decline in the direct telephonic talk.   A call is sometimes more of a commitment to a person and it fosters better relationships.    In other words,  in many situations texting act as a supplement to direct talk while not replacing it altogether.  Having said this,  there may be some specific reasons for people to avoid talks also.    When you want to talk, you should be ready to listen also.  You may have to listen to the needs, excuses and questions of the other person also.   This may not be always comfortable to all.    In the direct talk, you have no luxury to think and reply. You need to respond quickly and that’s a problem for many. How do we tackle a rejection? How do we face the anger of another person?   Now the big question we need to face is, if the young people are all the way going for texting as the preferred mode of communication, how it will help them in building up lasting relationships? How they will learn how to handle direct conversations something which cannot be avoided in life.?  The point is, do we need to always adopt texting as the default communication method?  How about calling someone and wishing him/her a birthday?  On my last birthday, a friend called me and told that he has decided to make a call to his close friends on their birthdays instead of typing a  message.    How about calling an aged person and enquiring about his/ her health?     Sometimes, all that an aged person requires is a pair of ears to share his stories.     I have also observed that, of late, we are finding it very difficult to engage in a conversation with someone travelling with you. Many a time we find that each will be texting someone miles away while having no conversation between each other. Are people finding it difficult to open a  conversation with a stranger? Are all the strangers a hell for us?

Humans have  bodies

This is something we forget very often.  Sometimes people believe that a written word can move anything.  But many things don’t happen like that. Sometimes the best method will be to reach out directly. Very physically.   Look at another scenario.  In smaller communities, sometimes the most effective way to implement something will be to physically come together and discuss across.  That may generate more ideas and iron out differences in a much better way.  Endless WhatsApp chats may not be the best method to solve some issues.   Conversations can be glorious and human progress would not have been possible if people did not talk to each other.   It’s nice when people talk to each other and laugh.

The takeaway

Texting is here to stay and people are going do it heavily.  In the midst of such an overwhelming use of texting, it will be important to understand the importance of a direct talk also.  Whether relationships or work or public life, the spoken word matters.   One should be prudent enough to use the advantages of talk in the most effective manner.   This is not a call to increase noise in the world which already has enough of it but a call to experience the joy of conversation by reaching out directly in real time.   Sometimes it’s a different feeling when we converse without the help of adjectives and other pretensions.  The point is, while technology has opened myriad possibilities of communication through texting, it will be wonderful if don’t forget the meaning of a call.   In other words, whenever we choose Type and Read we must also remember that another option existed and still exists. Talk and Listen.  Ultimately, whatever is the medium, let all  hearts be  opened because,

 What happens when people open their hearts? They get better. (Haruki Murakami )

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  • Reply
    December 3, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Well said ! Boby . Actually we have become control freak. Immediate response is found to make us uncomfortable. We meditate , we calculate , we edit , on what to convey, whom to respond , whom to avoid. This
    But all hope is not lost. People who call us on our special occasions are the silver linings which make the clouds worth watching.

    • Reply
      Boby George
      December 3, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      True. Text came as a great option and we are experimenting to the hilt. Meanwhile I was just thinking that that there are some desperate occasions we need to call .

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