Why is txting so popular?

How many times when you get a text do you think to yourself, MAN I have to TYPE THIS OUT!?!? Or you get a frustration with trying to convey a one word answer by hitting numerous keys.

Well it seems if you feel this way you may be the odd man out.

Texting, AIM, Email, Facebook messages, Myspace, etc., these have all become a common place to talk to someone. It is no longer calling someone up on the phone to chat but through a mediator such as MySpace.

So what makes these forms of interaction so popular? I have a couple of theories.

For people trying to pick up one another, such as one would do at a bar, these forms of interaction make for a very safe environment.

Think of it if you may, as a book. You pick up a book and can interpret the writers words with whatever your imagination can dream up. There is a sense of magic here. You could even say in the case of meeting someone new, it has that sense of romanticism(movie romance) as you read into each word the other types and try to make it fit what you want, feel, ate for lunch.

But these books don’t end when you end the conversation for the night. These books keep living and breathing, having their own lives, with interaction, dreams, work, and so on. The next time you pick up the book the cover may have changed and the title altered, the pages may even be more worn than when you last picked it up. Thus is human nature for our day to day lives to take effect on our overall story, but to the person not physically in our lives the words still look the same as they did the night before and the everyday use not noticeable through the hard cover, perhaps we will call it the computer screen. So before you know it they are reading a book about vampires when they swore if they ever had anything to do with Sparkly Vampire books they would kill themselves.

Txts, aim, and email are like living a relationship as if it were a book, able to form your own opinions on who is on the other side. And who doesn’t dream big or disappoint huge. So perhaps we are making the other person out to be the villain or the antagonist. So let’s say finally we do meet face to face, will our children’s fairy tale like aspirations be too overwhelming for reality of the truth? We are all dreamers and words on a page leave a lot for us to dream for, good and bad. Is it similar to beauty as we see it through the eyes of Photoshop? Does it make us get further and further away from true love as we read deeper and deeper into the ease of manipulating our own minds by applying our own inflections and scenarios to what people type?

Have you ever been on the edge about buying something for yourself, but you go to the website and fill out all the info anyway, even as you debate it. As you finish up you are still on the fence, but you stare at the enter button. You drag your mouse over it, and without a second thought you CLICK, because you cannot take it back. And at that point all that is left is just to convince yourself that it was a good choice. The same can apply to conversations, especially in a place like AIM. During a conversation where there is no instant repercussions it is easier to say “I love you” or “You bitch” or anything between the lines, because all you have to do is hit enter. You don’t have to worry about seeing their face, or them seeing yours.

Which leads me to the idea of “second chances”.

These forms of interaction give you a chance to say or hear it first, take a moment, analyze the situation and form the right answer, not YOUR answer. You essentially are able to look through the deck and “Play the right card”. Oh and if you guessed wrong and the house had an ace you can twist your words, “Oh I totally meant that in a sarcastic tone” “Oh I’m sorry I meant that as a joke I have a dry sense of humor”. It is easier to let go of what someone says as a misinterpretation or wait till they type something you like to hold onto versus the things that would send up red flags if you heard it in their voice. With text and conversation held in text you can literally count up the things you like and do not like. You can erase the moments that didn’t fancy your palette. Problem is, because you don’t know how jazzed they were on the other side, you once again are forming opinions about how they feel about things through how you feel. Weighing their amount of interest in something by your own.

So who is it that you are talking to on the other side? Is it perhaps just a version of yourself? Does the anonymity and lack of inflection allow for your to read their words as that dream person or perhaps in your own voice?

Is this a great way for people who may not like face to face conversation to interact?
Or could it be, we are working against our own aspirations through the rudimentary idea that we sit in class at age 12 and analyze other’s work, such as poetry and literature, and through these actions we form opinions. But when the other person is alive and breathing on the other end to explain where as a dead poet would scream from the grave to be able to explain the truth.

I suppose time will show more on this one. But if we continue to move further and further from interaction and more into twitter spheres where you must be followed to be popular but you need to follow first to be followed making your ability to read your followed less and less, you might as well just not talk at all.

Perhaps the generations will just skip me, and I will be lost in the archaic idea of feeling by being close to the other person. Perhaps I will be a character from “Demolition man” and be shunned for trying to talk vs sending a txt or in their case touching during sex, vs virtually fantasizing about it. Funny part is, they predicted Arnold would be governor in that movie, so who is to say they are that off on the idea of interactions.

It scares me because people do tend, myself included, to choose the path which is least intrusive on our lives, quirks, fears, but do more people than just me feel that burning desire to meet in person and frustration caused by countless txts leading to no next step. I like to move forward, and these types of interactions don’t have a very planned path, because we can leave them with whatever excuse fits us for the day, “tired” “work early” gonna grab some food” etc etc. But what truth is in it all?


Gennarose Pope

Gennarose Pope

Whomever wrote “Demolition Man” is most definitely a modern day Nostradamus and should take up the office of national wizard immediately.

Seems texting adds to and aids with cultural social anxiety. It’s ye ole’ vicious cycle effect. One commences with texting as a comforting alternative to one on one interaction and therefore breaks through … See Moretheir social anxiety and connects with the world, while another loses the desire to connect one on one with the world by texting. I think they had similar fears about letter writing. And the telephone. And email. And soon we’ll have virtual party rooms with smell and touchivision and won’t have to leave our beds at all.

July 7, 2009 at 7:05am ·

Tristan G Pope

Tristan G Pope

Interesting about the same fears with letters. I know it is all the same ole’ Older person freaked out by the “future” technology yadda yadda. But I think the difference between letters and internet is accessibility. Much more of a pain in the ass to write a letter than an email and usually a letter is more intimate now. Doesn’t mean I’m not full of shit, just means I think with cultural anxiety we need to fight that in our selves and figure out a happy medium of both.