Thumbspeak: Talk about Texting – Kelly

The other day, I texted a class mate of mine to ask if she could send me her notes for the day I was absent in class. She replied, “K.”

K? K what? The letter after J? K as in potassium? Typically, I expect a response like, “Sure, no problem” because that’s how conversations go in person. Verbalizing in sentences is how we normally interact with people, and sending text messages that contain little but a word or a letter is infuriating.

I would say a brief message of a few words is tolerable if the sender is occupied, but a one-lettered response is really pushing it for me. The thing with crisp, blunt responses like that is I don’t know what the sender is trying to get at. Maybe they were too busy for a thorough response? Maybe they were upset with me?

But more often than not, I assume that if the sender can’t spell out “Okay” in place of “k” or type “That’s pretty hilarious” in place of “Lol,” they’re either lazy or they don’t think I’m worth having a conversation with. Either way, it is a little insulting.

The truth is, the prevalence of text messaging has made it difficult for sincere conversations to take place. The rampancy of texting has, frankly, stripped away the value of intimacy in conversations that are so important for social relationships.

It would be unrealistic to quit texting altogether, but the key is to carry it out in a way that doesn’t weaken our social bonds. If we are going to utilize texting as our method of communicating, we respond to each other in depth rather than devaluing them.

Technological advancements are inevitable. But we must keep in mind that texting was invented as an easier method to communicate with people, not to hinder what we say or how we interact. The problem with our generation and generations to come is that we have become so apathetic and static in interacting with people over text.

The next time you send a text message, at least devise a response worth reading, or even better, a response that shows a little enthusiasm. Conversations over text complicate things and misunderstandings do occur. Replies like “k,” “Lol” and “Haha” are not only empty, but come off as offensive whether you intended it or not. We are disrespecting that person by doing that.

Socializing is a two-way street. When we send a text, we should be trying to strike up a conversation with them. For starters, asking them how their day went is always sincere. Or if it is the other way around and the sender is asking your plans for the weekend, avoid replies like “Not much.” Formulate a response that shows the other person you genuinely want to talk to them.

Many people make excuses for their poor responses. My proposal for some of those are such: if you’re lazy, then call; if you’re busy, respond at a time that suits you; if you’re tired, don’t reply at all; if you can’t give people the attention they deserve, it’s best to put it off until you can respond earnestly.

Sometimes we simply need a break from texting. Meet up with that person instead and have a conversation with them face to face. You might even surprise yourself by your dynamic relationships. Seeing a person’s facial expressions, their movements, and how they react to your words are little things that make social interactions that much more meaningful.

For instance, I’m a fan of emojis. I use them constantly as a way to show when I am happy, sad, excited, etc. It is a great and entertaining way to enliven a conversation. Most people don’t craft their messages like I do, but I know that people do appreciate a smiley-face here and there.

Texting came after phone calls, not to hinder our social interaction with people but to make it more convenient. Inevitably, text messaging has become dominant in today’s manner of communicating, but the important thing is to show people we want to have a conversation with them when we are texting.