Texting vs.Talking 16

I work in an environment where most of my coworkers are fresh out of college, they typically are twenty-two to twenty-eight years old.  It’s exciting, fun, party filled, and unpredictable.  However, the flip side of working with young people, I get to see the difference in generations.   This age isn’t concerned with being viewed as self-starters.  They’ll wait forever for someone to tell them what to do and while waiting they say, “hey I thought I’d text until you came back.”  Blink, blink, blink. They crumble the minute it becomes too difficult, literally shut down and give up.  You’ll find them in their cube reading, playing games on their phones, etc.   

During the course of watching the new generation, I’ve been amazed at how lacking they are in communication.   There have been recent jobs that required calling health care providers and discussing specific cases.  People have literally said they’ll quit if they have to make phone calls.   I’m currently on a very detailed and intense project that requires being on the phone almost constantly now and I was truly amazed at how long it took us to “force” someone to assist me.  The company literally thought I would just handle 3,000 cases by myself, “because no one else will do it.”  Again, blink, blink, blink.  

It has made me think about what this means for our future.  How will things change?  Will we only communicate through texting, Facebook, computer email, etc.?  It already seems that way many days to me.  My kids hate talking on the phone.  They’d rather text me any day.   I’ve literally walked into the room and found my daughter with several friends quietly “watching” TV and texting.  Only to find out, that they are texting each other!!

Watching this generation, they rarely talk on the phone with their boyfriends or girlfriends.   They typically text and text almost twenty four hours a day.   They will all tell you that they text in the middle of the night to each other.  It is amazing to me.   

In the process, they have lost the ability to (1) spell correctly because everything has become an acronym and  (2) to talk face-to-face with others, they’ll avoid it at all costs.  And all of this makes me wonder how much of it has affected interpersonal relationships as a whole.  Years ago when you were speaking to a boyfriend on the phone for three hours, you were able to hear when a comment was laced with humor, sex, anger, apathy, annoyance, etc.  I’ve had to caution my kids and coworkers, ALWAYS assume the text message has been said in a lighthearted manner.  If it ihasn’t, it’ll become evident in time.  But don’t jump to that conclusion.   Again how does that affect our society as a whole?  If people communicate all day in a non-verbal manner and assume what the tone and emotions are behind those words, how does that affect their emotional and social IQ?

When this generation is “forced” to communicate, how lacking will that communication be?  How will they present themselves in businesses?  Hospitals?  Nursing homes?  Schools?  As counselors?  As Psychiatrists?  The list goes on and on.  Think about it–these people will be taking care of us at some point, they’ll be running facilities and companies.

My daughter lost a close friend, who was nineteen years old from texting and driving.  That’s a lesson that hit home quickly.  I never have to worry about texting and driving at my house.  But, again, the need to text has surpassed the need to be safe on the road.  
So I leave you all with some questions:  Is texting really communicating with others?  If so, is it as effective as talking on the phone?  What is your opinion on texting vs.talking?

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16 thoughts on “Texting vs.Talking

  • Meredith O'Reilly

    This is a really interesting post! Since I am around this age, it was very relate able. Sadly, you did describe two of the things I do. My spelling skills are horrible and I get very inpatient/give up easily when I can't figure something out. Ask Melody Parks about me and blogger. 🙂 I know that my generation enjoys to text, but I can't imagine people be afraid to talk on the phone. Who needs punishment spankings…from now on punishments should just be forcing people to talk on the phone!

  • PK

    It's been a long time since I had to stretch the kitchen phone cord to the broom closet to have a private conversation. I know I don't even like to talk on the phone like I used to. I've gotten used to communicating with words – I can take my time and think of what I want to say and how to say it. But it does worry me too – four young adults sitting at a restaurant all staring at their phones, it's creepy. I don't expect it to get better anytime soon. As for the spelling part, I couldn't spell long before I learned to text!

    • Megan Michaels

      Yeah I don't talk on the phone very much anymore. And I'm definitely part of the texting and Facebooking crew. But the difference is we know how to communicate verbally. It's a skill we can't lose. Just interesting to watch.

  • Shelly Romance-Landolf

    I agree my daughter always had her phone in her hand and she has this stupid flash as a ring tone that is very annoying. Her friends text each other while they sitting in the same room too. She also sends me keeps sending text when I don't reply even though she know that I am driving to get her. Misunderstanding with joking or serious is a big problem too. My nephew had my car in TN and had a small accident and he thought I was really mad and I was joking but I am terrible at wording things. The spelling part I have to disagree on though. My daughter has learning disabilities and could barely read or spell until she started texting and now she can read and spell a lot better.

    • Megan Michaels

      I have the flash thing on my phone too–my daughter got sick of me missing texts so, yes, I have that annoying feature now. Lol.

      Humor tends to be lost in texting unless you add haha, lol, ROTFL, etc. I'm glad her spelling got better. There are probably more kids helped with texting than I initially thought, but I think as they get older laziness in writing takes over. Have a good day!!

  • Casey McKay

    Okay, I have to say, I am only a few years older than the 'kids' you are describing at your job. I dislike making phone calls, but if I had to for work I would. But I know some people my age who do refuse.
    My husband and I text all day long, but that is because we are both at work and can't talk on the phone. I actually think we communicate better through text. It's written words. I also think it is similar to how my parents dated for four years while my dad was in the navy. They wrote letters to each other. It's just a different form of communication and sometimes more intimate.
    On the spelling thing, I think it is just spell check in general that we all rely on. If I write a text that says "What r u up 2?" It does not mean I forgot how to spell those words, I'm just rushing! I also hardly ever do that, but I am just trying to make a point.
    I also don't think the problem so much is 'kids these days' I think it is people in general relying on their phones. I hate when I am sitting in a room with friends and they are all checking their phones, and ignoring their kids because they are uploading pics to facebook. I think it's a society problem, not a generational problem.

    • Megan Michaels

      Correction taken. Sorry I didn't mean to upset anyone with the reference to kids. And as I said above, I have joined in on this, I'm on my phone a lot! I think society as a whole is on their phones now, but I do think more people under thirty. Just an interesting observation.

      I know a nurse did her Master's thesis on how this effecting the nursing profession. It's changed how we communicate.

    • Megan Michaels

      It just occurred to me–when I'm saying "kids" I'm referring to my kids that are also in that age range not coworkers. Sometimes I refer to them as kids, but I try to avoid that and typically they don't mind ;).

    • Casey McKay

      I wasn't offended… I would like to be classified as a kid forever, sadly I do not think I am anymore! I just meant that a lot of people are guilty of being on their phones, not just younger people. I agree on many points with your post, I was just throwing in my two cents 🙂

  • Cygnet

    I am more of an e-mailing gal. I like long e-mails that I can read over and over. I am also doing some on-line dating and I find that as soon as the guy has my phone number, the e-mails stop totally and they begin texting. I am not a big fan of that since what used to be long conversations about things we are interested in become three word sentences with emoticons.

    I grew up in a family where "visiting" was important. Even now when I get together with my extended family, we visit for hours at a time. What I like best is that the topics can flow easily from one topic to the next and we can cover a lot of ground. I fear that this IS becoming a lost art and you alluded to!

  • Normandie Alleman

    Everything changes, communication included. In some ways texting isolates, but in other ways it connects. I love it for communicating with DH during the day. We text or sext each other lots during the day and it helps us stay connected in ways the phone wouldn't. I also exchange the sweetest, most adorable texts with my children. (And they are sticklers about typing things out instead of shorthand. They must be in a literate peer group because they give me the hardest time if I write "u" instead of "you".) Another example of how it's good – I am essentially estranged from my sister. I would never call her, but I will text her on her birthday or on holidays. Texting allows a different level of communication that's somehow "safer" for us. When you have someone in your life you love (boyfriend, child, spouse) hopefully people will still talk to each other. Hey, there's always Facetime… 🙂

    • Megan Michaels

      I agree with a lot of what you said. My husband and I text and sext a lot too. When he's traveling it's a life saver–text all day and talk in the evening. Like I said I just see a negative side all day and this nurse's thesis got me thinking…..

  • Tara Finnegan

    Great post, Megan. This is one I could debate until the cows come home. Without technology, I would have missed out on a whole new online world, but I have to admit, there are times when it becomes too much. Sometimes I have to put the phone out of reach and on silent! That said, my texting, or messaging are going outside my small sphere, – I rarely text my Irish friends, I'd much prefer to talk to them in person or on the phone, because I can. I text the hubby several times a day usually, but then I talk on the phone with him just as often. It just depends on how busy we are.
    But even with all its pros, I definitely see the side you are talking about. I have seen 10 yr old kids at my dining table texting one another, (not mine thank god but probably because we hadn't allowed them a phone at that age!) while eating together. I thought it was so bad mannered that I wanted to take away the food and send them all home. But in truth, it is us who are to blame not them – we are the ones making the rules! And setting the example. We need to set rules that meal time or family time should mean no phones, for anyone, adults included. We all have a lot to learn, at the moment we are newfangled with everything at our fingertips but that too will pass.
    Once I used to think that one of the great things about the simple cell phone, (long before texting became a craze) was how great it was that you could be contacted anywhere. Nowadays though, when my phone rings when I'm in a supermarket, I want to jump down the phone and choke the caller. Recalling an earlier blog post of yours about friendships, I think the whole messaging phase will have its season. (I just wish it would hurry up already)

    • Megan Michaels

      Yep, I totally agree. I miss the days of no phone but at the same time, I don't think I want to go back to that. It was awful. And I'm glued to mine most days. I've had my children yell at for being on it at restaurants. So, I definitely have jumped in with both feet.

      I see the negative effects all day and I think it has changed how I see it which is too bad because overall I like texting, sexting, Face-booking, etc