One late night, I was texting a friend. I made an unfortunately misunderstood sarcastic comment in response to a joke. It’s been six years since our last communication.
Now that was a joke, but my point remains: texting is a flawed form of communication.
My main problem with texting is that it’s practically impossible to properly convey tone. It is always 10 times harder to make a joke without sounding cruel or to tell a story with great enthusiasm. Using all caps quickly becomes insignificant, so what are you going to do, start adding an absurd amount of exclamation marks?
For example, if you look at the opening paragraph of this article, you could have thought this was a true story about reuniting with a long lost friend, instead of its actual purpose to convince you that you should never text again.
As someone who enjoys gesturing with his hands, that action is inconceivable due to the frustrating act of typing. The emphasis added with body language is so important and is completely omitted during texting. “Haha,” or “LOL” never does a good true laugh the proper justice it deserves.
It may be true that this is a problem only I have, but I’m terrible at texting. I rarely ever write an entire text without at least one or two typos. Autocorrect is not helpful, either changing words from the right thing to something completely off. On more than one occasion, I have made a typo due to autocorrect and had to text again saying “I misspelled because of autocorrect,” yet somehow managing to spell both misspelled and autocorrect wrong.
So you’re probably thinking, “Dylan, what’s your genius solution to this problem?” Two words: phone calls.
Phone calls fix almost all the problems listed above.
In phone calls, you can actually hear people talking, resulting in a lot less basic misunderstandings over things like typos or inflection of voice. Also, if the whole point of texting or calling is to simulate having an in-person conversation, then you might as well get as close as you can get to that by calling.
Have you ever heard of Friedhelm Hillebrand or Bernard Ghillebaert? I did not think so. Well, they were some of the first developers for SMS text messaging. On the other hand, I bet everyone has heard of Alexander Graham Bell, one of the inventors of the telephone. Phone calls have been an effective way of communication for more than 140 years, That beat out anything else today. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Phone calls also get problems quickly fixed. It is much easier for people to ignore a text than six phone calls in a row, an act that will cause anyone’s guilty conscience to flare up if they do not answer. Texting leaves you waiting hours on end, something no one wants, and some people may never even respond.
Even though some say phone calls are too much of a commitment, I always enjoy talking to someone on the phone. You can learn so much about a person from just a 10-minute phone call compared to two hours of almost worthless texting.
Overall, everyone needs to give phone calls another shot, you won’t regret it.
— By Dylan Margolis
Originally published in the Nov. 17 edition of the Octagon.