Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Don’t call my name…just text me

Published: October 28, 2011
Section: Opinions

Like most of you, I wouldn’t be caught dead without my cell phone. Pretty much the only times I don’t have it on me are when I’m taking a test (fearing it will ring, I turn it off and take the battery out) and when I’m in the shower. And ironically, as soon as I finish both activities, I always rush back to check if I have any new messages.

I use my cell phone for many things—obviously to make calls, but also to check my e-mails, to surf the Internet, to tweet and to post on Facebook. But the most important feature of my cell phone is text messaging.

I’m always texting. For every phone call I make, I send about 50 texts. On average, I probably send at least 100 texts per day to anywhere from 10 to 20 different people. My texts can either be short requests for friends to meet me for basketball or intense conversations about whatever drama is affecting me that week. Texting is my main means of communications with others. Texting has because such a huge part of my daily routine that I’m not even aware of how often I check my cell phone throughout the course of the day. But, I bet if someone followed me around and observed me for a day, the first comment they would make is that my fingers are practically cemented to the keyboard on my Blackberry.

No matter where I am, there’s a good chance I am texting. I text in between classes. I text when I should be doing homework. I text and walk down the Rabb steps (which is actually pretty dangerous). It’s the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do before I fall asleep.
I text for three main reasons. First of all, like most things, I text as a means of passing the time. Since I always have my cell phone on me, I find myself texting when bored since my cell phone is just another toy to play with.

The second reason I am addicted to texting is that it’s a great way to keep in constant contact with friends. If I haven’t talked to a friend in two months, a quick text message is all it takes to remind him of my existence. And it’s so quick and simple to communicate with friends that it’s almost silly not to text. As college students, and as human beings, we are ridiculously lazy creatures, so we usually choose to do whatever requires the least amount of work. And, believe it or not, sending a four-word text inviting your friend to come over on a Saturday night is about as easy and effortless as it gets.

The third reason I am addicted to texting is that it makes communication extremely easy. More than e-mail, Facebook or the Internet, texting is the fastest and most reliable means of communication nowadays. And it cannot even compare to the telephone. Texting is quick and easy; you send a message and receive a response in less than a minute, as opposed to undergoing an entire process, whether it be sending an e-mail and waiting hours for a response or making a phone call and having to wait what feels like an eternity for your friend to answer their phone.

Another reason texting is so convenient is that the majority of people carry their cell phones with them everywhere, so you won’t have to wait long to get an answer. When compared with the phone call, texting is superior. You don’t have to wait 15 seconds for the call to actually connect, 30 seconds for the phone to ring and 20 seconds to do the whole “can you hear me now?” dance. Instead, you say what you need to say via text message and that is all.

Another reason texting is better than the phone call is that, if a person doesn’t pick up their phone, you’re left leaving voicemails and playing phone tag. A better alternative is just texting what you wanted to say. If you want to talk to them via the phone or in person, you can just text them asking what time they’re free and plan it then.

I first learned about the versatility of text messaging the summer of my sophomore year in high school. I went to this gigantic concert, Warped Tour, with my friend and, the second we walked out onto the field, we were separated.

As it was my first real concert, I panicked and called my friend at least a dozen times and, each time, he did not answer. I left him several voicemails telling him to call me back. And he did. He called me back several times and each time, I missed his call. A few times, I picked up and tried to tell him where to meet me but it was too loud to hear each other. It was only after we had played phone tag for two hours that it dawned on me that I could just text him. And so I texted him to meet me outside one of the trucks and we finally met up. Texting in that situation, and in most situations, turns out to be exponentially more convenient than calling.

One last benefit of texting is that it does not require the unilateral commitment of a phone call. Phone calls require all of your attention, which is senseless if you just want to ask someone what your Italian homework is. Texting is better because you can ask them, do other stuff and then wait for a response.

As you very well know, I am not the only one in the world who feels this strongly about texting. This is in fact a worldwide phenomenon. And not just teenagers and college students are textaholics anymore. Lots of adults are now communicating via text message. And yes, my mom texts me at least a few times a day.

As for the telephone, few people call via the phone anymore for casual interaction. It has become outdated and is now reserved for long conversations with family and formal business interviews.
While 99 percent of the people I interact with on a daily basis use texting, a few of my friends have refused to hop on the bandwagon. Honestly, it is difficult to get in touch with these people. This is especially true when I forward a text message to six people, which takes less than six seconds. I then have to call my one friend who doesn’t text, which can take five minutes!

While I might be able to go a day without Twitter and I’d definitely be able to go a day without Facebook, I would not be able to go a day without texting, as it is my main means of communication with the outside world. And, thankfully, I don’t have to.