BY Bill Reagan
I don’t like texting. I do it, but I don’t like it.
Texting is efficient. It is a great way to get basic information from one person to another. People text because they don’t want take up another’s time with the pleasantries that go along with a phone call, or because the information shared in the text is not important enough to merit a phone call. Short cuts, emojis and unconventional spelling help to get the point across.
Texting is also a great avoidance mechanism. There are times when texting might be a pretty good idea. We text people we don’t want to talk to. We can be civil in our texts, but don’t have to deal with the individual. Texting comes with a built in delay in the conversation. Since you’re not expected to react immediately you have time to be careful in your response.
Texting is a kind of middle ground between email and phone conversations, a little more urgent than an email, not as intimate or important as a phone call.
The business of texting is so darn distracting. You send a text and go about your business. Then the response comes and you have to stop what you’re doing to answer the response. Back to your business. Back to your response. Back and forth. Back and forth. A two minute conversation becomes a twenty minute distraction.
Conversation is more than typing words in message bubble. Conversation is hearing and understanding the tone of another person’s voice and responding by the sound of your own voice. Texting often keeps us from truly communicating. Communication means dealing with conflict, disagreement and emotions, and finding compromise and resolution.
People text for the best of sentiments. “I know you’re busy. I didn’t want to bother you.”
Personally, I like being bothered.
Bill Reagan is executive director of Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley.