idk my bff jill?

8:14 PM



I text a lot. I am not ashamed to admit this. In fact, social acceptance of texting has come a long way since cell phones started emerging in my junior high days. Back then it was like, "Oh you have a phone? Not anymore you don't, if you pull it out one more time. I WILL throw it out the window and THAT WILL TEACH YOU." What they failed to realize was throwing a Nokia out the window only made it stronger...

There still are professors in college who use similar junior high-esque tactics and don't allow technology into the classroom. Not many though, and most of those who do pitch a fit are over 60.

Two days ago I attended a lecture given by Professor Clark Callahan of the Communications department. He teaches my Communication Theory class and has turned out to be one of the greatest teachers I've ever had. It was a great lecture discussing our perceptions on media and the world we live in ("without difference, there is no culture" ... food for thought). Like many Comms professors (they are the best), he's pretty hip when it comes to modern day technology. For example, he allows (and really has no problem with) texting in class. He lists two reasons: 1) it takes two seconds and 2) it is a big part of the social world that college students live in. "Texting isn't a behavior, it is part of an identity."

Say whuttttt?

That statement really made me think. Is texting some kind of bad-dog behavior that needs to be treated? Or is it so engrained in every teenage/young adult mind that it is now the standard form of communication? What does that even MEAN? I never realized the big impact that text messaging has had on our world until recently. For example, the advent of texting has gone so far as to anglicize many of the world's languages. My friends in Tahiti know what lol, g2g, and ttyl means just as much as any American. TEXTING did that. Well, maybe 12-year-old Americans did that. Where did those T9 acronyms come from anyway?

Anyway, let's face it, texting is a HUGE part of the teenage/young adult world (and the grownup world, too!) Sure, negative implications can be listed off by the dozen: it's a soul-sucking device that will impair your speech and degrade the quality of your essays for eternity. But does anyone else remember what it was like to pass paper notes?  Or even to call someone from a landline just to ask your bff what their plans for Friday were? Text messaging is communication at its slickest, finest, and most convenient. 

I am a girl who appreciates wit. Texting can be an excellent platform to communicate with some of my funniest friends. I am that girl who saves my cleverest texts and then laughs at them in the middle of church. Example from SarKar: 

"Hey, if I wore my skimpiest dress and loaned you my grandma's vest, would you be interested in starting a band with me?" 

Sometimes texting is my greatest fix of funny. You've got to be clever to get your message in 160 characters (see definition for "Twitter") (which, coincidentally, is half the reason I love Twitter).

However, I want to take a look at this identity. First of all, I may be completely off the mark here, but I'm pretty sure I am not alone in feeling like I'm perusing the streets in my birthday suit without my cell phone. It's not like I need to be texting 24/7... I can go days without texting. But it's that moment of feeling unconnected that is so unnatural. What if someone needs to get ahold of me? What if I need to get ahold of someone else? WHAT IF I AM BEING CHASED BY A RHINOCEROS AND I DON'T HAVE A PHONE TO TEXT PEOPLE ABOUT IT? You think I'm joking, but these are real-world concerns, people.

Secondly, I don't know how to flirt without texting. There, I said it. I'll be the first to admit that I prefer a phone call to a text message when a dude asks me out, but there are so many idiosyncratic texting behaviors that are now dating norms. The post-date text, anyone? Texting is my way of letting the guy know that I am interested. After the post-date text, I'll usually send something clever or witty a few days later that he would appreciate. Then we talk, ("yeah, we should do that sometime!") and then *INCEPTION* the future-date idea is planted. Whutt up, Chris Nolan.

A few weeks ago, I went on a date with a guy who didn't text. It was a legitimate challenge for me to instigate anything else after that one date. You can only sit on Facebook for so long waiting for them to come online. And it's just weird to call them and be all, "heyihadfunonourdateweshouldhangoutagainkbye." #firstworldproblems ?

One last thing on texting behavior. I didn't realize this before, but I apparently have a reputation for texting back promptly. And, well, it's true. I get a text, and I reply. It's as simple as that. However, if I don't text back right away, people think I died. One time I took a three hour exam, and by the end i had FORTY new text messages, five of which were asking me if I was okay, or dead (yes, dead). I was so baffled. I mean, sometimes it takes YOU thirty minutes to answer me, but I don't assume you were eaten by a barracuda. 

But, after 5+ people told me they appreciated my prompt texting habits, I realized that that was part of my identity. Hi, my name is Lauren and I love basketball, cat things on the internet, and texting back quickly. It's who I am. It's not how I text. So, guys, what is texting to you? Whatever it is, just don't let it include texting while driving.

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