Communication is a huge part of the social experience. With advances in technology such as cell phones, text messaging, and the Internet people today are in constant immediate contact with one another. Some people literally freak out when they leave their phone on their desk when they leave the room. They don't know how they will survive without it. Even if it doesn't ring or vibrate or sing or whatever, people find a sort of security and comfort in having their cell phone with them. Just the thought that someone could get a hold of us is a comforting factor and one that we don't try to be without.
Text messaging is huge in today's society. The technology that was originally created for the hearing impaired has become common place amongst young people, and now as well with their parents. Text messaging is a convenient and quick way to send a memo or piece of information that does not warrant a full phone call. Now I know that's no longer how it is used. People now have full conversations that last entire days through text messaging. The day of the phone call seems to be disappearing.
Now how can this be considered a social situation? Well here's the deal. Text messaging is very vague and requires interpretation. When we have a conversation face to face we can use body language and tone of voice to interpret the meaning of what another is saying. In order to express meaning we spell the way a word would sound. We also ask quite a few more questions in order to clarify what the other is saying. Let's begin the analysis.
The vagueness of texting can be used to great advantages in finding out information, social information. If you are an avid texter you have found yourself thinking about how to phrase something. Most times its because there is a hidden meaning it what you are saying. You are trying to find something out without having to directly ask it. This is much easier with texting than person to person because body language is not a factor. The other person has a difficult time noticing that there is a hidden agenda and will be more apt to say what they are thinking.
Lying is also a lot easier through text message. Don't act like you don't lie, whether its to protect the secret of a birthday party or to protect a friend it doesn't matter. Without eye contact and other body orientated clues it is very difficult to catch another person in a lie. People have to take texting at face value because there is a certain kind of deniability by the sender if they are questioned about the topic.
For these reasons I believe that many people are much more confident through texting or other written media forms. They do not feel the pressures and judgements of those around them. They can say what they feel, and if the other person doesn't like it the consequences do not have to be dealt with at that moment. The situation can be averted by just ignoring the text. Now this can cause many other problems, but it does show how much person to person conflict and interaction can be intimidating for many people. Expressionless media is a sort of escape for many people, while at the same time allowing them to feel connected to friends and others.
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