Thursday, February 07, 2019

188. Text, don't call

Texting is gradually becoming the in-thing. Not long back, face-to-face communication was replaced by telephonic communication. People could talk for hours over phone, but even a few minutes face-to-face were difficult. This is gradually changing. Today, people, especially youngsters, prefer texting to calling. They can indulge in long chats through texting, but avoid talking even while sitting in the same room.Preference of youngsters for texting is confirmed by a number of recent surveys.

What has brought about this change? One reason could be aversion for noise. There seems to be so much noise around that we prefer to indulge in noiseless communication even with our loved ones. Silent moments are so few and far between that we are desperate to create such moments. Instant messengers have made the whole process so much more easy. 

Another reason for texting preference could be a bloated sense of privacy. We are too concerned about our own private space and are equally scared of intruding into others' private space. So, even if one has to talk urgently to someone, one is expected to first text the other person and take his or her consent for calling.  

Texting is also extensively used to silently intervene in oral communication. If there are three persons in a room, two of them can communicate through texting without the third person knowing what actually is going on.In a sense, texting has made it easier for a person to be nice to another person in oral communication, but at the same time, very nasty about him or her in writing. Texting can silently influence the course of oral communication.

What I find very irritating is the mechanical use of texting. Today, we greet a much larger number of people than before on special occasions like anniversaries and festivals. Ease of copy-paste and almost no cost of texting has made this apparent sociability possible. We have started wishing and greeting indiscriminately without anyone feeling anything. We are dealing with so many people that we have to go in for short-cuts. On someone's death, we can shamelessly write "RIP". At least on such occasions, one should be more considerate. But alas, even death cannot move us any more.

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