Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Texting is gr8 but convers8shun is better

I do try to keep my rants to a minimum but lately this thing has got on my nerves and I feel a need to blog about it.

When used appropriately I think text messaging is a great concept. I appreciate that each person may have a different opinion on what is appropriate but, for me, texting is best used when the spoken word is not practical.

Texting is useful as a step down from the spoken word. If you want to communicate with a person and they, or you, are unable to talk at the time then texting is a damn fine substitute. You send the message and they can respond when they get the chance. It's also handy for communicating with people in other countries, where time differences or high call costs may be a prohibiting factor to a voice call. Another valid use for it is to send very specific figures that the recipient may need to refer to at some time. It's easier and more practical to send a phone number of person B to person Y, if you are indeed person $.

It's also quite pleasant to receive a nice personal message from someone on a special occasion. A "Happy Birthday Rhythmic" on a birthday is always appreciated. That's if you send it to me, if you send it to just anyone they'll probably take it as a compliment to their rhythmical skills but otherwise be rather perplexed. Unless they're a drummer, in which case it would be a bit too coincidental for comfort.

But I get really fucking fucked off with these blanket messages that some people send out to all their phonebook, particularly at Christmas and the New Year. Over the festive period I received one which said:

"Happy Christmas from John, Sue, Neik and Ian".

The number didn't come up as a recognised one from my phone book, so the chances are that the sender didn't intend me to receive it, but, if they did, then I haven't got the faintest idea who these people are. On top of that is the added insult that they couldn't even be bothered to check it before they pressed "send" and the person whom I assume to be a son called "Neil" has now become known as "Neik".

I got about ten other messages over the holiday period that were clearly sent out to all the addresses in a person's phone book. I didn't reply to any of them. The messages I replied to were the ones that were personalised and showed that the sender had put a bit of thought into.

Personalisation - That's what matters to people, whether it's in direct mail (something I know a bit about) or in sending out text messages. It doesn't have to actually be personalised, the trick is to make the recipient feel wanted, to feel as if they have been chosen to receive your message.
If I opened a window in my house and shouted out "Happy Christmas" just once, that doesn't mean that I have said "Happy Christmas" to all my neighbours.

If I print off a load of Christmas cards, each with the same message inside, and I print out some address labels and then post the items out, it's not personalised and the message doesn't come across as meaningful.

But, if I knocked on the front door of each of my neighbours and wished them a merry Christmas or if I wrote a small greeting in each card, it makes all the difference. Even more so if I knocked on the door of the blonde two doors down and she invited me in for a Christmas cracker and a rummage in her stockings. That's true personalisation for you.

Rant over. I have a hunch that the older readers here will agree with me.

Texting is great, but real conversation is even better.


Yo said...

Agreed. I said a similar thing this time last year...

Indyana said...

yeah, I hate texting,even chatting online when it isn't voice chat.but, a good old visit or even a phone call is something more welcome.You might be right about the age thing.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Yo - blimey, I just read your post and it's almost the same as mine. I feel sure that you own a time machine and have been using it to copy things in the future and go back and post them on your blog. I'll only warn you this one time then I'll get serious!

Indyana - And the kids just have some type of special thumb, evolved through the generations so that it can text at a speed faster than something very fast. It takes me about half an hour to text "Hello" but my 10 and 12 year old can text the contents of a whole book in that time.

Darwin said...

I really hate text-speak. This is usually how it goes;

Receive text which reads along the lines of "hi how r u howz lif wt tym is xam fri". (usually it's a lot more illegible but if I try too hard to do text-speak I get a headache)

Frown at screen for about 30 secs trying to figure message out.



If people can't be fucked to take the time to spell out the proper message then I can't be fucked to take the time to read it and reply it.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Darwin - I continue to be a fervent admirer of your use of swear words. They're like the violence in a Tarantino film, extremely over the top but never gratuitous or unnecessary.