[202] Text Message

Smartphones have been around since around 2007. Text messaging was invented in 1984, but the first actual text was sent in 1992. It wasn’t until 1998 that texting began in earnest, and it really exploded in 2005. The first smartphone I had was known as the “T-Mobile G1”, or the HTC Dream. It was the very first Android phone, and it had a slide-out physical keyboard. Many Android phones had physical keyboards up until the advent of the “Swype” or glide virtual keyboard, and iPhones always had virtual keyboards.

Prior to these phones, you had to use the numeric keypad on your phone to type a text. For example, if you wanted to type an “S”, you had to press the 7 key four times. You can imagine how big a pain that was. Even the old “T9” text prediction was a hassle. Because of this, early texters used a lot of abbreviations and shortcuts to communicate. Things such as “u” for you; “lmao” for laughing my ass off; “r” for are; and so forth, became the norm. Another thing that made “text speak”, or text shorthand, necessary was the fact that each text was limited to 160 characters, and usually cost like 10¢ each. There used to be package deals where you paid a monthly fee for x number of texts, then 10¢ each afterwards. I eventually went to an unlimited package because my daughter send and received like 12000 texts in a month once, and I did not feel like shelling out $120 for her texts.

Nowadays, most cell phone plans include unlimited texting. Also, you’re not necessarily limited to 160 characters. Originally, phones wouldn’t even send if your text was 161+ characters. Now, phones will send multiple texts simultaneously, if needed. With all this (unlimited texts, multiple texts at once), why in hell do people still feel the need to write in “text speak”? I mean, come on. Are people that lazy that they have to type the letter K, when they can just put three more letters (okay), or even just add the fucking O (ok)?! Sometimes reading a text is like reading hieroglyphics. If people still used pen and paper to write (Do people do that anymore? Isn’t everything virtual now?), they have to write all their words out. You write “Are you okay?” Why must you type “r u ok?” An annoyance of mine is when I type out a text that ends up kinda lengthy, and the only response I get is “K”. What the fuck is that? Potassium? You like that letter? Do you want some Special K? Please say what you mean, rather than mean what you say.

We’re not in 2000 anymore. You’re not paying for every single character. I highly doubt you’re so busy you can’t take the time to spell your words out. I feel that antiquated “text speak” is something kids use. If you’re a grown person, if you were born before Facebook began (shit, people born in 2003 are becoming legal adults this year), you should be texting actual words—you know, with vowels and consonants. I’ll let the punctuation slide, since typing that final period in a text seems pretentious, and I don’t even do that. Emojis are cool and can help convey emotion or irony/sarcasm. I’d much rather see 🤣 or 🙄 than “lol”. Actually, just don’t use “lol” ever. It’s become cliché and way overused.

Now for today’s quote (and no, Albert Einstein didn’t really say it, regardless of the memes you might see):

“I fear the day technology will surpass human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

Author Unknown

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