Txt me l8r: Confessions Of A Text-A-Holic

A couple of weeks ago, when my cell phone (endearingly named Dino, since it was probably manufactured during the Jurassic Period) finally went kaput, I sprang for one of those nifty phones with the keyboard – for optimal texting, as the salesperson put it. Since I’d been growing increasingly fond of texting, I figured the keyboard feature would make sending out messages more convenient. But little did I know that I was about to go from casual messenger to a total texting addict.

Yes, I admit it. I really, really like to text. I do it all the time: under the table at restaurants, during the previews of movies. Sometimes I even stop in transit to send out a text (I don’t have the hand-eye coordination to walk and text at the same time. Not yet, at least). While I try not to be rude with my texting, I can’t help but love this new development in communication.

But before you condemn me to the ring of hell reserved for the intellectually degenerating and socially awkward teenage population, hear me out. As an aspiring writer and self-proclaimed grammar Nazi, there are some lines I refuse to cross when it comes to texting. I never use abbreviations, except for the occasional “lol.” With my old phone, that made writing out one text an all-day affair, but with my handy keyboard, it’s a snap. And that annoying, pointless one-word text that makes you want to reach into your phone and punch the person who sent it? I won’t send it. Ever. I get way too many of them as it is; I won’t subject any of my friends to that type of agony.

My reason for texting is restricted to simple convenience. Sometimes it’s just easier to send a quick message confirming plans or asking a question. It’s especially useful when you’re in town and the hustle-and-bustle makes it nearly impossible to have a conversation. Additionally, report after report keeps coming out detailing the dangers of cell phone radiation. Many experts suggest using Bluetooth-like devices and generally keeping the cell phone as far away from your ear as possible. Texting is an easy way to avoid possible harm from radiation.

I know the typical stereotype of the texting teen. Snapping their gum too loudly, congregating in front of Starbucks or another chic hangout and shrieking, “Oh my God!” every five seconds. It’s getting even worse; in my school, there is an epidemic of using texting and instant messaging abbreviations in daily speech. I can’t help but cringe when I hear “Oh-em-gee” or “Jay-kay” resonating down the hall.

I see the literacy and eloquence of my generation going down the tubes due to the instant messaging phenomenon, but I take comfort knowing that I, at least, text on my own terms. I’m not going to let texting habits ruin my spelling or my ability to interact with others over the phone or in person. For me, it’s all about convenience. Hopefully, my peers will start to see it that way and begin treating it as a useful tool for communication, not as an excuse to get lazy with language.

What are your thoughts on texting? Is it the best thing since sliced bread, or the brain-rotting plague turning young people illiterate and socially inept?

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