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Writing v. Technology

January 27, 2009

Generally when you hear about writing and technology you hear how they can compliment each other. But today’s tale involves how they can sometimes be at cross purposes. Today because of the fact that I am a writer I have hit a tech wall.

You all know people like this. People who swear it’s easier to spend seven hours typing and retyping a letter on an electric typewriter because they refuse to learn how to use email. Or who refuse to get a cell phone even thought they desperately need one. You can find them easily enough by seeing who’s explaining to younger generations about how tough they had it.

Well today I have had to admit one of my technical limitations. I will never be good at texting.

In recent months I’ve been texting a lot more. Not “a lot” by the standards of anyone under the age of 30, but it’s more than I’ve done in the past. I have a moderately good phone for it. It’s a Palm with a full, if cramped, keyboard. And for someone who generally uses two fingers to type, being limited to one isn’t much of a handicap.

No, what is stopping me is my inability to use TXT Shorthand. Yes, I’m referring to the LOLs of the modern world.

I’m never ROFL. I will never BRB. I don’t VEG, but smile. And I couldn’t care less about your A/S/L. Y2K was a hysteria, not an “Aw, shucks.” And even if I do KWYM, I won’t admit it.

It’s not just an unfamiliarity with this terms that get’s in the way. Like anything else, I know I could learn it. It’s just that taking the time to learn them seems about as much fun as learning to play fingernails on a chalkboard and calling it music.

In fact when I text I seem to purposely distance myself from these abominations by testing in complete sentences and proper punctuation. I’ve even been teased for sending texts with compound sentences complete with semi-colons.

Maybe this all is the technological equivalent of complaining about walking 10 miles through the snow to school, through the snow, uphill, both ways. But if hating TXT is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

  1. January 27, 2009 2:19 am

    You’re not alone in this regard. I live in a country where texting is a huge part of people’s lives, not just for business but also for everyday communication. I do send out SMS, but I don’t really chat on it much (unless you’re a good friend, and even then, I’d ask if you could go online instead and we’ll talk on messenger). I rarely use ‘txtspk’, typing out most of my words. It’s easier to abbreviate when I’m using the vernacular though, but I do try to refrain from it.

    What scares me the most is that the SMS shorthand isn’t just confined to that, but it’s making its way across blogs and email. I’ve seen people comment that way, even sending out email in SMS lingo.

  2. January 28, 2009 8:43 pm

    I am so with you.. and I am afraid that my expertise with texting only goes as far as C U L8R. I hate it – but is saves my fingers. Like you I am disturbed by the viral effect it has on business and within our culture – making misspellings not only ok – but expected and mainstream.
    and I have no idea what most of those txtspk were.. I am sure I am missing something – otherwise I’d be ROFLMAO

  3. January 31, 2009 9:40 pm

    While not a fan of texting, either, I find that I do write IMs (which I can’t stand, but sometimes are a necessity) with proper sentence structure, grammar, etc.
    The result is that my friends become instantly self-conscious about their truncated verbiage, and begin to write slower, spell properly, and the like.
    An intended consequence, but an interesting effect nonetheless.

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