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106.1 The River

Is Texting Taking Over Communication?

By Cindi Alpert

When I got my first radio gig right out of college, my boss used to say that “anyone just entering the work force needs to be beaten with a stick first.” I never quite saw the humor in that statement as a recent graduate of The Ohio State University at the ripe old age of 23. Now, as a business owner with 17 years of experience under my belt in the broadcasting industry, I find myself chuckling at the thought.

Clearly times have changed from when we carried the cell phone “brick” around and actually had to have face-to-face contact with clients on a daily basis, but I have to pause and ask myself, what in the world has happened to communication? A prime example is when I actually had an employee ask for a pay increase via text. Of course that made me LMAO uncontrollably. I suppose he didn’t realize that it is much easier to text back something like SNCD (sorry no can do) than to actually look in his eyes, across the desk, and have to tell him that we are just not in a position to increase his pay at this time, but perhaps there is something else we can do to help him and his family through this tough economic time.

The point I’m trying to make is that texting is taking over communication. It’s even less personal than email or any of the social media outlets. American teens are texting up a storm, and many are more likely to text than talk, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. But as this generation moves into the workplace, will the use of technology cause their social skills, and therefore their job contributions, to suffer?

If I were to come up with a cell phone app, it would be called “The Bumper.” It would be kind of like the sensor on an automobile that beeps when you are about to back into an object, only your cell phone would beep when you are walking and about to bump into something or someone. It’s a great idea and somebody has probably already thought of it. Just look at any school yard. It’s a sea of kids with their faces buried into their touch screens. No one is paying attention to where they are walking and their entire universe exists on a 2×3 inch screen.

Don’t get me wrong… I love my cell phone. Angry Birds is a blast! I have an iTunes playlist for just about every mood or experience possible and I am well versed in all the language shortcuts. I can’t imagine life without the technology I’ve been used to having at my disposal. In fact, just the other day I caught myself texting my daughter from across the house that dinner is on the table. I suppose if I were to climb the stairs and actually walk across the house to her room and tell her, I could probably have that second helping of mashed potatoes.

Yes, technology has its benefits. However, it still does not take the place of face-to-face communication and good old-fashioned phone etiquette. As I have said many times before, it’s a whole lot easier to say no via text than it is to your face. So if you really want something, look him/her in the eye and just ask. If that person proceeds to LOL in your face, at least you gave it the old college try. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and no one is going to beat you with a stick for trying.

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