Text messages have become such a “thing” over the last decade or so, it makes me wonder if people have forgotten how to use cell phones for their primary purpose, voice calls.
I used to consider the Philippines the text messaging capital of the world (circa 2006) because I saw people sending text messages all the time and never saw anyone making voice calls. The reason was simple: Text messages cost a lot less than voice calls back then.
Call it what you want. It isn’t a formal language construct. I’ve seen people using internet slang where it isn’t even necessary, like messenger applications and unlimited cell phone plans. In places where you’re charged by the number of characters sent, it makes sense to abbreviate. In others, it makes no sense at all, and I can only attribute it to laziness.
If you want a quick list of what I’m talking about, here you go:
Although everything is shown in CAPS, capitalization is optional. Also, many can be used in combinations like BCNUL8R or ROTFLMAO. Some of them are used in only certain areas of the world, like LBFM being used in the Philippines. To be honest, I can’t remember but maybe 10 of them at any given time. It must be age or something. STBM.
Texting and sexting aren’t real words in any dictionary now, but I’m sure they’ll eventually be included. Texting simply means sending text messages. Sexting means sending text messages with provocative language, with or without sex-related pictures.
I’m not talking about sending text messages when no one’s around. I’m talking about being with one or more people and ignoring them while sending text messages back and forth from someone else.
Frankly, I won’t hang around with anyone who continues to stare at a mobile phone while I’m talking to them. Years ago, I was even told (by my younger son) not to bother him because he was texting. It was beyond rude, and I responded by taking away his phone for some time.
I’ve already heard more news reports than I care to remember about people paying more attention to texting than what they should be paying attention to. Driving a car and texting doesn’t mix. It’s more dangerous than talking on a cell phone while driving, which is something else I won’t do.
In the Philippines, I saw people texting while crossing the street, oblivious to the cars that had to slow down or stop because the pedestrians weren’t paying attention. At least with voice calls, you don’t need to focus your attention on the phone.
I honestly can’t see how much further cell phones can evolve. Will text messaging decrease or increase? This is one future I can’t predict at all. I certainly hope people learn that face-to-face communications, without any kind of device in between, is still the best way to engage in a conversation.