Texting over talking

(Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros)
(Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros)

As technology is becoming much more accessible and constantly progressing, our generation is becoming more reliant on the things that technology can do for us. I know for myself, and many other people my age, my cell phone has become like a fifth limb.

Honestly, it isn’t even the thought of losing an expensive piece of technology that scares me, it’s the thought that people may be trying to reach me and, heaven forbid, I can’t respond within seconds of their message. This fear of ignoring my friends is a huge problem in and of itself. As beneficial as cell phones and other forms of social media like Facebook and Twitter can be, it’s impossible not to notice the effect it has on how we communicate with each other.

Face-to-face confrontations barely exist anymore, arguments spark over an often aggressive use of punctuation, and now, with clever new apps such as Tinder, you can meet other single people in your area without even leaving your couch. Our generation’s new obsession with instantaneous communication, quite frankly, is overwhelming.

“Through text, things can be interpreted different ways,” Wilfrid Laurier University student Lauren Brick said, when asked about the topic.  “You can mean it one way, and people can take it more negatively.  That can cause issues, too.”

We’ve all been victims of friends accusing us of “being short” through text.  Especially if you choose a response like “K.” Your friend thinks you’re mad at them, but really you’re just out for dinner, or busy catching up on some last minute homework. The  circumstances are not explained in full detail and that can certainly lead to an inevitable conflict.

Cameron Mcouat, a fourth-year Laurier student, expressed that his sarcasm doesn’t translate well via text message.  “I’m very sarcastic in regular life, and I’ve been told that through text I can sound very mean,” Mcouat explained.

Instant messaging has become a new language, and this language has very specific guidelines.  Adding “lol” to the end of a message can take it from rude to sarcastic, depending on the person you are sending the text message to.

We are the generation of getting offended by the lack of smiley faces.  But if you use too many smiley faces, your friends will think you’re annoying. The way we interact with each other is changing, and not in a good way.  We constantly think that everyone we care about either hates us or is ignoring us for something we did.

Victoria Evans, a second-year Laurier student, said that the ability to see if someone has read your message on Facebook Chat, iMessage and BBM has the possibility to create conflict between her and the people she had messaged.

“If you don’t reply on time or if you don’t reply at all, problems can happen,” Evans said. “Some people just forget, but some people also do it on purpose.” This can be stressful when starting a new relationship with someone that you like.

You can see that they’ve read your message but they haven’t answered yet, so they must not like you anymore and do not want to talk to you ever again. He’s probably talking to another girl.  She definitely got back together with her handsome ex-boyfriend. Or maybe, he’s just at work and his boss told him to put away his phone and she just isn’t near her phone at the moment and is unable to send you a message back.

Before you know the whole story, however, you are bound to make a series of negative assumptions.Social media is becoming overwhelming and stressful, and it may be a bold statement, but it is ruining our relationships and making us paranoid.

How many times have you fought with a close friend over text or Facebook, and then pretended nothing happened the next day?  How many times have you said something to a close friend or an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend over text that you would never have the courage to say to their face?  How many times have you Facebook lurked the guy you’re seeing, and found yourself in the deep crevasses of Facebook only to figure out if the girl in his profile picture is his ex or  sister? Do not lie, you have done this at one point or another before.

We are the generation of the technologically-able.  We are appallingly  good with computers and phones of all kinds.  However, we are also the generation who obsesses over instant responses and being ignored over social media and texting.

I fear what the future will inevitably hold for our children.

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