Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Monday, December 03, 2012

hppy bday, txting :)

There's no background music playing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," but that's only because the royalties would have been too expensive. However, the fact is that 20 years ago today, something momentous happened: the first text message was sent. really.
An English engineer named Neil Papworth sent the very first message: "Watson, come here, I need you..." oops. No, that wasn't it. The first message, sent on this date (December 3rd) in 1992 merely said, "Merry Christmas." I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing even now.
Yes, it can be a convenience when people get lost in holiday shopping crowds, or there is an important message that needs to be communicated. Truth is, college students rarely use email anymore, but ALL of them send and receive text messages. My students who would never contact me otherwise, send texts about appointment times and various other related activities constantly; and I will admit that it relieves the frustration of waiting someone who is inexplicably late for an appointment. However...
The English language has taken a significant beating. True to my principles, I never abbreviate, and I always use punctuation, even though it costs me valuable characters. Some things are just not negotiable. Despite my misgivings, texting is here until the next big breakthrough comes along in, probably, less than 20 years. Some significant facts, though none is surprising:

In the U.S. 85% of adults 18-24 send and receive text messages, averaging nearly 4,000 per month. (teens were not surveyed because they were too busy texting to answer questions, I think)

Furthermore, 80% of American adults 25-34 send and receive nearly 2,000 text messages per month.

A much smaller portion of older Americans are devolving into texters: only 20% of them actually text others. I won't even begin to decide why that's the case.
I am in that group, and I text when I have to deal with the "younger" crowd, but if I need to discuss something with a "real" adult, I call. Emoticons not necessary.


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