About a year ago, my husband pointed out that I had a whole bunch of unanswered text messages in my cell phone’s inbox. My first thought was, “My cell phone has an inbox?” Even more amazing, was the idea that friends and family were texting me. After a friend gave me a quick lesson, I started sending little messages to the texters in my life. But within a few weeks, the novelty of texting had worn off. The truth is, I don’t need one more way to communicate with people. I already have two email addresses and two voicemail systems, and texting is tedious. Typing a sentence on my phone’s tiny keypad is more difficult than just dialing the number and talking. I still text a little, but only when a phone call is inconvenient.
Texting has become the preferred method of communication for youth. With nearly 50 percent of teens admitting to texting while driving, there is real cause for concern. The Internet is now littered with information about texting addiction, and news reports of stalking and harassment via text messages have given parents one more thing to worry about.
As a college instructor, I frequently witness the texting phenomenon. Curious about why they love it so much, I recently had students write about the mysterious appeal of texting. Many students praised it for its convenience (being able to text anywhere, anytime) and speed (avoiding a long, drawn out phone conversation). Some students even said they are less shy when texting.
Though they “luv 2 txt,” college students understand that texting is just another option on the communication menu. Surprisingly, they were quick to point out its shortcomings. “You can never say all you want to say,” one student wrote.
I couldn’t agree more.
### Erika Weisensee is a writing mom. She lives in Milwaukie and teaches journalism and communication courses at the University of Portland.