Resisting the urge to text as a primary method of communication...

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Resisting the urge to text as a primary method of communication...

Post by circuitbored » Wed Oct 19, 2022 4:47 pm

I once had a lot of friends that loved to communicate... On any given day I would be able to pop by a local coffee shop I frequented and sit for just a few minutes and find interesting daily conversations with people I knew and strangers even that would later become good friends over time. We'd often exchange phone numbers as a means to coordinate our meetings in person, we rarely needed to call each other by phone, usually in the case of bad weather or a cancelled meeting. All that has changed dramatically since the pandemic took hold of our world... Now it's not uncommon that once I meet someone online, the minute we exchange phone numbers, I get a barrage of text messages, often through varying social apps and directly on my phone... These messages often create a sense of urgency for response within me, and they are often multi-threaded conversations, that aren't really presented in that way because of the simplistic nature of text messaging. I'm beginning to really hate this format of forced text communication on mobile devices, and it's really beginning to become the norm in our new post-pandemic world for strange reasons.

A lot of people feel less connected despite technology that claims to help us in being more social being everywhere... Texting was retired as a primary means of communication with the advent of the telephone, but somehow it came back with the advent of the mobile phone...

Hands free communication was all the rage in the 90s and early 2000s as people began to take not of the vehicle accidents that occurred simply from people attempting to manage phone calls on handheld devices while driving, so awful looking "ear clips" became popular around that time. At least then, people were still calling each other by phone... Vocal and even video conferencing was a fast growing field for mobile communication around that time... But text messaging (SMS and MMS) was conveniently maintained as a method for saving bandwidth and for communication in the event where talking was not reasonable. Being able to text since then went from being an accessory to a primary communication method as modern apps for social media decided to integrate texting even when they were primarily based on video content (which is quite confusing to me).

Even at a time when platforms like YouTube and TikTok can transcribe video into text seamlessly, the expectation for site users to type on mobile devices relentlessly is common... These platforms could likely rely on transcribing text from the videos to serve as metadata for the content, but somehow the platforms still rely on the manually typed metadata, which often is manipulated by the people that enter it for favorable view results on apps like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. In many ways, the extensive amounts of text we're required to type now when uploading content to platforms is not even indexed or used by platforms, as hackers constantly game metadata for prime placement in search results.

Texting was an art form in the days where pigeons used to carry messages over miles, and for when communication lines only allowed for morse code, so in 2022, why is it suddenly becoming a primary method of communication again? Some would say it's because it facilitates a wall between human emotional connection... Others would say because it is simple and quick... Both of those aspects are not effective when considering highly effective human communication. In some ways, the push for integrating text as a primary means of communication to me seems like an effort to be able to "dumb communication down" so that bots (which can't yet properly emulate human interaction) can be more easily integrated into technology platforms.

In an age where helpful AI and automation is said to be taking over, it seems like the benefit of AI and automation is reserved for the platform's benefit and not for platform user's benefit... Most dating apps, and work communication tools (considered cutting-edge) also rely heavily on text messaging, which in many ways can be good for quick communication, but often bad for effective communication, in verifying that you're talking to a real human, and in really getting to actually know the people you communicate regularly with.

Although tools like Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Voice are thoroughly deployed into many modern settings, their ability to truly understand and interpret spoken commands and queries are still quite limited and often not accurate in nature. I personally have had to pull over while driving to type my destination or search items into Android Auto more than I'd like to admit, and it seems like it's been getting worse at understanding my most basic requests. It should be considered a big failure for someone to still need a keyboard on a voice command enabled device, but to get real work done in 2022, it's still relatively impossible to solely rely on voice commands.

Anyway, back to the main premise... Lately I have been receiving mostly text messages from friends in response to phone calls, and many friends tell me they don't like calling people by phone... I have also noticed that friends of mine are meeting up in person less often It worries me greatly for our future. There is a special value in talking to people verbally that simply can't be conveyed by text... During days I've had in isolation, verbal communication was vital to me personally, being able to communicate by phone was one of the few things that i had available to keep me grounded during those trying emotional times. I had to shed friends that only wanted to communicate by text, as I found that communication with them was often too flush with misunderstanding, tedious technology issues (misspellings and missed/late responses) , and frustrating late responses.

These days when I tell friends that I hate texting, they look at me as if I'm strange, because it has been around practically forever for them, and there are no viable alternatives in most cases that they can think of. There is almost a peer pressure effect to use text based communication among friends now because many simply don't return calls or even check their voice mail.... The same tedious voice mail system that has been in place for the past 15 years might explain why people don't use it any more.

I'm tired of typing entire volumes worth of messages every day on tiny cell phone screens. It's not innovative, and I feel like I'm constantly pressured by friends and colleagues to conform to this torturous method of outdated text-based communication... It's not that I hate writing at all, or I wouldn't be doing it here, it's that I hate being forced to type simple messages constantly on cell phones, and the ideal that this method of communication hasn't evolved since 2011 to enable better translation of voice to text or some other better universal method to facilitate communication overall.

I understand that text messaging may work well for certain people based on their personality, but for me, I'm pretty sure it doesn't and it won't work well into the future, as I've had an entire life of writing, from learning cursive to now. I really wish that people who hate the modern experience of texting on mobile devices were more vocal in order to drive better innovation to improve communication options. As we grow our dependence on technology, we really need to raise our expectations on innovation that makes our lives simpler, easier and better as a result.

I'd much rather save my typing energy for writing my opinions here... I am using a full-size keyboard and a large monitor, and the spell-check works much better than on my tiny cell phone screen.

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