Texting / by kevin murray

When texting first came out I didn't understand it.  I mean, why text somebody when you can simply call them?  It just seemed to me that if you had something of substance to say and you didn't want to talk you could always send an email, so between texting and phoning someone, I didn't see texting as being even pertinent.  How wrong I was!


Texting most definitely was cumbersome when I began texting because I had a keyboard for texting that matched the old phone dialing system.  So ABC was one option on one key and you therefore had to scroll through each letter until you arrived at the desired one and so on and so forth, so a text took a great deal of time and seemed to defeat the purpose, but texting got more and more prevalent and phones got a lot more text friendly.  For instance, my next phone had a slide out keyboard and since I type fast I loved that keyboard and so I got into texting some more.  My present phone is even better, it's fairly smart and does a real good job of giving you appropriate suggestions to finish the word you are typing, but even better than that, the speech-to-text option is amazingly good.  I'm definitely in the minority by using speech-to-text but when it's working right it's very very good.  Also, it doesn't bother me when the phone gets the transcription wrong, I simply try it again and again.  Usually after the third time with the interpretation being misheard, I just type it in, but honestly sometimes the phone transcribes something that is better than what I spoke and I just keep it.


All of the above is to the good when it comes to texting but there are some fundamental issues with texting that includes the lack of just plain good common sense.   When I am at home, or out and about, I text and receive texts but I don't do it in a movie theatre, but it's pretty common to see people text at movie theatres.  While texting isn't as annoying as somebody talking to a friend at the movies, or someone kicking the back of your seat, it's annoying because of the screen brightness in a darkened theatre and I just don't understand the urgency of having to immediately respond to a text.  I also don't understand people that are on a date and in lieu of talking to each other, or getting to know one another, they'll be texting someone else.  If that's the case, why not date the person you're texting?


While there are issues with people texting and not paying attention to where they are walking, by far the biggest issue with texting is while doing so while driving.  I am not particularly a supporter of additional laws against texting while driving although we do already have that law on the books in my state, I am more of a supporter of private enterprise addressing the issue in a comprehensive manner and they have done so with new features/apps that preclude texting while driving or if you are so inclined you can have text messages read aloud to you and you can also respond by voicing your text. 


The main issue is we live in a perpetual world of "now".  Everybody seems to want everything right now.  The other issue is temptation.  You just have to read that text, or you just have to text that person and so forth.  The problem is that texting while driving means extended periods of time with your eyes off of the road which is incredibly dangerous.  It's one thing to glance down at your GPS, or over at your child, or to tune into a radio station, but it's entirely different thing to spend a continuous amount of time reading your text messages or even worst, typing in your own text message. 

I mean, to me, if it's really all that urgent, why not call or make the call, or text them later.