Skip to main content

BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Why texting isn't always best

Aug 30, 2022 10:02AM ● By Adam Cochran

Amber Case, the world’s first cyborg anthropologist, has proposed that the average smartphone is actually a portal that allows us to bend space and time. A soldier stationed overseas can talk in real-time with his or her loved ones on the other side of the world. Even generations who grew up with color TV, telephone and dial-up Internet should find that astonishing.

Although Internet, texting, email and web conferencing have opened new doors for efficient communication, they have some important limitations and social consequences. 

The most perfect communication is a two-way conversation between two people face to face in real time. That’s because, in addition to words, communication takes place through voice intonation, body language, facial expressions, interruption and mutual intuition.

The least perfect communication is disconnected, one-way, delayed and truncated phrases that are open to interpretation without any sensory context—in other words, texting.

Texting is a phenomenal way to quickly check on someone or ask a simple question, but it’s a horrible way to communicate larger ideas, resolve concerns or form relationships.

Read the following text message to yourself several times as though it came from different people in your life: “I thought I was going to see you today.”

Does that message sound different if you think of your spouse saying it versus when you think of your best friend saying it? Does it have a frustrated tone or a simple inquisitive tone? Does it sound accusatory, lonely or just a factual statement?

In order to avoid misunderstandings, here are some texting tips and insights to help improve your communication and, ultimately, your relationships.

Get used to using emojis. 

Don’t be intimidated by the little faces and symbols that people add to their text messages or social media posts. They can help indicate whether a message should be read with sarcasm, whimsy, anger, excitement, etc. Some people read too much into emojis, but most of them have flexible usage and meaning. The only one you should be careful with is the eggplant (a phallic symbol). 

Use the voice message feature. 

This feature is underused, in my opinion. Usually indicated with a microphone icon, the voice messaging  feature allows you to record a short message and send it. The recipient may not be able to listen to it right away, but when they do, they will hear your intonations and emphasis better.

Gifs and stickers add emotion and whimsy

It’s difficult to convey a lot of emotion in a written text. Compiling the right words can lead to a lengthy message or it may require more thought and effort than you feel it’s worth. But, sending an animated gif often conveys emotion and attitude better than words alone.

A message explaining that you’re running late because of last-minute chaos may make you even later if you try to explain. But sending an animated gif that shows a person running down the street while being chased by dinosaurs will convey everything you need the recipient to know.

Don’t text when a phone call is most efficient.

Picture this: You’re at Subway and you text your friend asking if they want anything. They respond, “Get me a ham and cheese, please.”

As you walk down the line, the sandwich artist asks you: What kind of bread? What kind of cheese? Toasted? Toppings? Dressing or sauce? Do you want that in a meal? 

Inevitably, your friend stops paying attention to their phone, leaving you hanging on whether they meant hot peppers when they said they want everything on the sandwich.

As a general rule, if you feel like the conversation needs an immediate response or will be faster with a voice call, make the call and don’t hold up the sandwich line.

Drunk texting can happen even if you don’t drink. 

There are many ways our judgment can be impaired that can lead to drama and misunderstanding. If you’re angry or frustrated, open up the notes app on your phone and write everything you want to say. Don’t compile the emotional response in the text app because you might accidentally hit send.

Sometimes, it’s appropriate to wait hours or days to send the message. Usually, you’ll discover that time will resolve the situation more efficiently than if you had sent the text. Just as often, you will find that texting makes the problem worse.

Don’t text and drive. 

Just don’t. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. More than 3,500 people died in 2020 as a result of texting and driving. Every person who died or killed someone while texting and driving felt they were driving safely and had their eyes on the road.

The growing hazard of “distracted walking”

Rumors regarding a new iPhone coming out in the fall have started popping up on major news outlets. Note that I said rumors, not facts. One ... Read More » 


Sign up for our Newsletter

* indicates required
I am a...