Modes of Communication and the Generation Gap

One Ringy-dingy!

One Ringy-dingy!

We were watching a movie last evening and one of the characters (who is masquerading as a high school student) calls up another student (who is a REAL teenager).  She expresses surprise that he is calling her and says something to the effect of “Wow, you’re calling me.  I thought only people like my grandparents use the telephone.  My friends all text.”

I absolutely HATE the phone.  It’s annoying, a time-waster, and I run out of things to say after the first 2-3 minutes anyway so the rest of the time is sheer ear-numbing, teeth-gritting agony.

In my opinion, if you’re going to talk on the phone, you should follow the same approach that I follow for shopping.  When I shop, I approach it like a hunt.  You stalk, bag, and tag and then you head home.  Using this type of approach, if you’re going to make a phone call, why not just “dial, state, and hit the gate?”  In other words, don’t talk for 3 hours when 5 minutes will get ‘er done.

That movie character DID remind me of an article I had read several months ago about the impending “death” of email and how texting is becoming the preferred mode of communication, at least among the younger generation.

"No, no..that wasn't what I meant to type."

“No, no..that wasn’t what I meant to type.”

Now texting is fine and dandy for short, quick messages to folks.  For anything longer, it can be a pain.  My sister-in-law sends me long texts that her phone breaks into smaller individual messages that come in reverse order.  It always takes me a bit to sort out the fact that I’m reading it in reverse and that I need to scroll down and start at the bottom and work my way up to follow the full sequence of her thoughts.

I also find it annoying to try to type out long messages.  Oh, I know that I could try to learn all the text shortcuts and I DO use some, but the English major in me just grits her teeth when I murder the language by typing “cud” instead of “could”, etc.  It HAS gotten easier now with my current iPhone because I can use the voice dictation system that is built into the phone and just dictate what I want to say and then the message is typed out before my eyes, sometimes to humorous results.  Luckily, I’ve gotten pretty good at doing edits on the fly.

I also panic if I receive a text when I’m driving.  I don’t want to try to read it while I’m also trying to steer a vehicle or respond to a text when driving, so I usually end up finding a spot to pull over so I can see what came in.  Usually it isn’t anything that couldn’t wait until I got to my destination but you just never know.  There’s always that chance that it could be something urgent that needs an immediate response or action.

What's in the in-box today?

What’s in the in-box today?

Ultimately, I prefer email as my mode of communication when I’m not face-to-face with someone.  I can control when I access my mail and I control when I respond.  I check my email often during the day so if there is anything that needs quick attention, I can get to it.  

I guess I fall firmly in the norm for my age group.  A recent joint AARP/Microsoft study showed that only 19% of my age group prefer texting over emailing.  I also suspect there are still a lot of folks my age who like to talk on the phone, as evidenced by the number of people that I see with cellphones plastered to their ears as I’m out and about.  Well, more power to them.  I’m going to check my email and then head over to the recliner to read a good book.




  • karyn

    I’m with you. Email trumps texting – big time. I also cannot text with all the silly shortcuts – I don’t even know most of them. I use some of the acronyms such as BTW, but I also cannot bring myself to take letters out of a word. Both methods of communication can be very convenient.

    HOWEVER, IMHO, all the electronic communication we use so often has taken away from relationships – not enough face to face or voice to voice (that is, REAL communication)


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