Food for thought: The Uphill Battle of Texting

Beatrice Talmage


How many things can possibly go wrong in a text message? Oh, only about 74,000 things.


Timing: Why is this person taking so long to reply? Is it deliberate?  What is he/she up to? Is my significant other cheating on me? Is he/she safe? Is he/she just in a rural place with no reception? Did he/she fall asleep?  Did he/she lose their phone? Am I not important to this person? Is this person ticked at me? Am I being ignored? Is this a game? Should I be expecting a carrier pigeon with a message?


Wording:  Different words reflect different meanings for different people. Arguably, “I miss you” is not the same as “miss you,” and “I love you” is not the same as “love ya.” Likewise, short responses and longer responses can illicit different meanings as well. For instance, a short text could merely be a direct and concise answer, but it could also signal anger or unhappiness.


Emoji Confusion: Why didn’t she send a heart? Why no smiley face, is she upset? Why did he send me a winking face; does that make this a sexual conversation?  And you’re telling me that If I use the angel emoji, it gives me more freedom to say something uncomfortable? And what do you mean there is a “chocolate ice cream emoji,” that’s literally crap. Oh, and can someone tell me why this guy keeps sending me questions with the eggplant emoji?  


Sarcasm:  The difference between a standard “great,” and a sarcastic “great” can be the difference between petting a bunny and a porcupine. Are you prepared for that?


Grammar: If someone says “YOUR an idiot,” who really wins that argument? Or, say you’re telling a joke. Are you telling a dirty dad-joke, or a dirty-dad joke; Is the joke dirty, or is the dad? Better yet, try asking a girl “how are you beautiful?” instead of “how are you, beautiful?”


What happens when you’ve made someone mad, or hurt them?  How do you tell someone that you didn’t mean something the way they took it? How can you ever be sure your message is being interpreted the way you intended for it to?


The questions are endless, as are the possibilities for error. Perhaps the joke is on us.  In creating this hyper technologically advanced form of communication, the very messages we seek to communicate to others are often completely lost. Fancy that (insert alleged chocolate ice cream emoji).



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