Texting can seem like one of the greatest inventions of the 21st Century, but if you give the topic some close, meaningful thought, the number of negative impacts texting can have on our lives may actually outnumber the positive ones. Please keep this idea in mind as you read the following list—it may be drastic to abandon texting entirely, but it could certainly be advantageous to begin tweaking your textual ideology at least a little.
1: Lack of normal conversational nuance.
Texting lacks many nuances which are crucial to genuine comprehension, such as voice inflection, natural facial expressions, and body language in general. When texting, and individual doesn’t have access to much of the other person’s personality, especially when it comes to sarcasm and humour; more specifically, it’s very easy to take a joke entirely the wrong way, or to miss the humour of a joke completely.
2: Lack of conversational balance and value.
When one person is much more “into” the conversation than the other individual, they’ll often dominate the conversation and take it much more seriously than the other person. Moreover, communication scholar Ronald D. Smith (professor at Buffalo State SUNY) argues that men tend to text in order to communicate information, whereas women frequently communicate in order to communicate intimacy. It’s not difficult to imagine how differently a single text or conversation could be interpreted under circumstances such as these.
3: The power of a delayed text.
When some people realize that another individual is anxiously waiting for them to reply to a text, they’ll intentionally delay responding in order to relish in the other person’s agony (or irritation). However, if you think about it closely, this really is quite sinister behaviour. What’s more, each person always has the power to never ever respond, to just turn their phone off, or even to block the other person forever. Texting really has created many more struggles for power in life.
4: “Read” receipts” and “seen” messages.
On iPhones, the sender of a text receives a receipt that informs them of when the other person has read their text, and on Facebook Messenger the sender receives a notification of when the other person reads their message. First of all, this puts more pressure on the receiver to respond quickly, because they know the other person is aware that they’re online and have the potential to reply instantly. Second of all, the sender knows that the other person is intentionally allowing them to wait (or making them wait) for a reply. Again, many unenjoyable struggles for power (and the like) have been created.
5: Texts spawn lies.
If someone realizes they haven’t responded to your text as soon as they should have, there’s a good chance they’ll lie about the reasons why. And there are normally many, many lies which are readily available: phone malfunctions, lost phones, neglected phones—the list goes on and on. It’s just too easy to lie (and almost always get away with it).
6: The infinitely-endless conversation.
There used to be an old children’s show called “Lambchops Play Along” which featured “The Song That Never Ends”: “This is a song that doesn’t end . . . it just does on and on my friends . . . some people . . . started singing it not knowing what it was . . . and they’ll continue singing it forever just because . . .” Well, the same goes for texting, except with texting, the conversation doesn’t just happen for 30 minutes every weekday, and it may not even include commercial breaks. Yikes!
7: Texting minimizes many topics, subjects, conversations, and relationships.
“Texting is apocalyptic on some level. It’s a reduction of things.”—Nick Cave
8: Digital connections are never quite the same as physical connections.
“People are tweeting, texting, and e-mailing—and not connecting. There are very few ways for communities to come together. It happens at concerts and at sporting events.”—Robert Kraft
9: Texting requires skills that not everyone possesses.
“I’ve lost friends over texting because I’m so bad at it.”—Andre Holland
10: It’s too easy to deflect anything.
“In the hands of a passive-aggressive person who wants to abdicate responsibility for things, texting is a great tool. You can really go nuts.”—Mallory Ortberg
#11: It’s too easy to lie about anything in general.
“You have nothing if you’re texting a guy in a relationship. We can text six women a minute. We can text it and push ‘reply all.’ I mean, since we’re lying, we might as well lie to everybody.—Steve Harvey