Texting: Like OMG We Can’t Stop #Miley

One aspect of technology that has greatly changed social interactions is texting. How often do you actually pick up the phone to call someone?


“I used to call people, then I got into emailing, then texting, and now I just ignore everyone.”– The New Yorker

I admit, I am an avid texter.  Often, I would much rather text someone than call them (but I’m working on it!). The most appealing thing about texting to me is that it allows you to multitask. You can be working out on the elliptical and texting five people at the same time and still listen to your music.

Although I do like texting, I have some major concerns with it. My two biggest issues with texting are that it is 1) distracting and 2) impersonal—you can easily hide behind your phone. Two articles from a site that routinely pops up on my newsfeed, Elite Daily, discuss how texting has changed the way we interact with each other and the consequences: Why the texting generation is actually the lonely generation and To Text Or Not To Text: The Times You Have To Pick Up The Phone.

Texting can distract you when you are driving, hanging out your friends, doing homework– you name it. I had a friend freshman year who would be on her phone texting half of the time we hung out. Like, really? You asked ME to go to your room and hang out. This is one thing that I’ve never understood… As for doing homework and texting…half the time I have to throw my phone across my room or hide it in order to focus. I think it has given my ADD.

Why is the texting generation the lonely generation? Because we rarely interact face to face anymore. Texting allows you to avoid having difficult conversations and even stimulating, intellectual conversations– “People enjoy communicating via telephone and text because it is the easy way out. That is the most logical and obvious way to put it. You can easily put a phone down, shut a computer or close a tab when things get too serious or don’t go the way you want them to. But my God, how would you deal with that in person?” (Metzger). We often text people when we are bored rather than go outside, read a book or actually go hang out with friends. Is this because we are lazy or because this is how we have been socialized? We have established this new norm of social interaction and essentially “Texting has ruined the art of face-to-face conversation” (Metzger).

Is the cartoon from the New Yorker an accurate depiction of the future? “I used to call people, then I got into emailing, then texting, and now I just ignore everyone.” I hope not. I think that people will continue to text but they will embrace their face-to-face interactions more. I don’t think that texting can sustain a healthy relationship– a friendship or a romantic one–people need to pick up the phone more. But we also need to be in the moment. When we have our phones on us, its easy to text or look up things or play games. We need to take in our surroundings and live in the real world, not the cyber world.

Katy Perry says it right in her song, This is a Part of Me: “I just wanna throw my phone away/Find out who is really there for me.”


10 comments on “Texting: Like OMG We Can’t Stop #Miley

  1. I agree with your concern about people hiding behind their phones. There is nothing worse than when you are trying to have a serious conversation with someone and you do not know whether or not they hear what you are saying because they are too busy typing away on their phone. It is just as rude as simply ignoring someone.

    • I actually feel the same way about people with headphones. It seems as if they are isolating the world in a public atmosphere when they just as easily listen to music in their own private setting.

    • People can hide behind their phones in other ways as well. It frustrates me that it can be hard to tell what someone’s tone is in a text message. Sure, texting is fun and easy, but I think a lot of the time, it takes away from the emotion or importance of a conversation.

  2. This also made think about how technology today definitely has a humongous impact on parenting. It is now even harder to hold the attention of your child and have them listen to you!

    • To that point, I feel that some parents have just given up on trying to entertain their kids to a certain extent. They just give them an iPad and let them play with it for hours.

  3. I got a cell phone relatively young because bot of my parents worked and I carpooled a lot so it was strictly for emergencies. At this time, no one else really had a phone so I never used the texting part of the cell. So when everyone got phones and began texting about every aspect of life, I was a bit behind because it was not new to me. I did not feel the need to use my phone in that way after having had it for so many years already. Even throughout high school and a bit now people say I am a “bad texter”. I assume it is because it could take me 10 minutes to respond sometimes or that I do not constantly feel the need to check in. I still really only text when I have a question or feel the need to share something, not as a conversation starter. I definitely notice that it is such a different way of socializing. People have friends that they text more than talk to in person – that still fascinates me even after years of this technology. Even past friendship, it seems that relationships begin more and more based off of texting rather than dates or hanging out.

  4. I find it laughable that Metzger claims people do not know how to have face to face conversations.

    Looking at you all, my students, over ten years, I see NO DIFFERENCE in yoru ability to have face to face conversations.

    Distracted at times? Yes. Substituting text for phone calls or emails? Definitely.

    Is a sense of place-ness, of being present, eroding? Probably. Does it matter? Not sure. What we would look to for evidence that it matters? There is a poetry path around Lewisburg now that uses QR codes to link the actual poet reading the poem. THis makes me feel CLOSER to lewisburg, not more distant.

    Are people feeling lonely? Metzger is just writing about her experiences. She may feel lonely. And that is relevant on its own terms. But I think it needs to be analyzed as that experience and nto as an absolute indicator of psychological loneliness. Relativism matters. When you can feel in touch all the time, is it surprising that you feel “lonely” when that is cut off? People are notoriously “bad’ self-evaluators. More accurately, we are consistently myopic. So lonelienss is relative to how I felt earlier today.

    Were people living on isolated farms in the American 18th century, with only family contact for days on end, with long harsh winters when travel was difficult, less “lonely” then the wired millenial looking for a food truck in SoHo?

    Was the old woman living without her husband in 1930s America and only the radio and church to occupy her time less “lonely?”

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