Jun 13

Back to Social Networking!

Now that I’ve beaten viruses to death, let’s get back to the topic of Social networking.  I suspect you think I’m going to talk about Facebook, but guess what… next to email there’s still one type of social networking that came into play before Facebook became so popular — Text Messaging.

Text Messaging, or texting as it’s called, was the next phenomenon in the social networking stream.  Most people over the age of 50 still wonder why texting is so popular.  We’re a crowd that’s used to picking up the phone and calling someone if we wanted to get them a message or find out what’s going on.  If the person we wanted to talk to wasn’t there, we left a message on the answering machine or voicemail.

Today, for a lot of people texting has replaced both email and the phone for their preferred way of communicating.  It’s kind of funny in a way, but when you stop to think about it, its evolved into a social network of it’s own.  I know that when I call one of my kids (who are both in their 30’s), they rarely, if ever, answer the phone.  But if I text them, I’m usually guaranteed a response a lot faster than if I leave a voice mail.  In fact, I’ve sent a text that says “I need to talk to you — pick up the phone when I call”

Kids today send thousands of texts a month.  We’ve all heard about parents who got cellular bills in the thousands of dollars because they didn’t have unlimited texting.  Now, for those of us who didn’t grow up with kind of technology it takes longer to text (unless you can really use Siri on the iPhone) than it does to leave a message.  But if the message goes unheard, then leaving that message really wasn’t the best way to get ahold of that person.

My biggest problem with texting is that it implies and demands immediacy.  People (myself sometimes included) feel that if they get a text they need to reply right away.  This used to be the case with email — if you didn’t get a response within a couple of minutes, then something must be wrong.  Since most people keep their phones close at hand, we tend to feel that there’s no reason that it should take more than a minute to get a response to a text.

One of the most important things I can tell you is that texting, in many circumstances is dangerous.  In fact, it’s against the law in most states to text and drive. Most likely it’ll be outlawed everywhere in the near future.

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I despise receving a text while I’m driving.  I will not respond to a text while I’m driving.  If you text me with a question and I call you when I get the text it’s not that I’m lazy — it’s that I’m driving and I refuse to text while driving.

But more importantly, don’t feel that you have to respond to everything immediately.  There’s a time and place where its simply inappropriate to text — in a movie — at a wedding — while you’re out to dinner or while you’re walking around…

That said, if you have a phone, you should learn how to use the text messaging feature.  Eventually, you’re going to find yourself needing to use it.  It’s pretty straight forward on a smart phone.  But if  you’re still using an older flip phone the learning curve is higher.  But take the time to understand it.  You may never use it, but it’s good to know how!


  1. Stuart Sweet

    Excellent post and well worth thinking about. Well done, sir!

  2. Marty Silbernik

    Thanks Stuart. I appreciate the comment.

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