To Text or Not to Text

Maybe, or maybe not, you know this about me?

I do not like texting. I’m kind of surprised how many people do not know this about me. I find it intrusive and annoying and frustrating and time consuming and…it’s hard to know how to end.

However, I understand that the world is becoming addicted to text messages as a form of communication. I’ve learned to deal. I will respond (mostly) to text messages, but that’s as a courtesy, not out of a real desire to use this “tool” for communicating. And when I say “tool” I don’t mean “helpful medium” I mean it more like “he’s a tool”.

Anyway, some people, my cousin Sara springs to mind, send me photos and/or videos of their children via text. Each year on my birthday, Sara makes her kids sing happy birthday to me and say nice things and she records it and sends it to me. I love it.

Those kinds of texts, no problem at all. It is an entire conversation done over text. Or someone sending me random thoughts that I’m not sure if I’m supposed to respond to or not *cough* Elena *cough* Kelly *cough*. I also don’t mind when acquaintances or casual friends text me Merry Christmas! Or Happy Birthday! Or something. If it’s to me. If it’s a mass text, please feel free to delete me from your list.

Now, having said this, I get that this is the way technology is moving. I deal pretty well with it. However, I only get 200 text messages a month. 200! That should be plenty. In a month, that is roughly 6 messages a day. More than enough for me. The problem is when I go over, I have to pay for each message. 10 cents. It doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up. And, frankly, paying 10 cents to read “LOL” doesn’t seem worth it to me. Why not call and let me hear you actually laugh?

This morning, I had to email a few people, my staunchest texters, and ask them to stop until November. I’m already over for October.

My sister, being one of these people, emailed back, “don’t you think it is time to go unlimited? It is almost 2013!” I’m not sure what the year has to do with it, but there are several factors in my decision not to. 1. It costs more 2. I don’t like texting 3. I’ve been on the same plan with AT&T since 1997. They don’t offer my plan anymore, I’m grandfathered in. Because of that, I pay less for minutes and data. They also don’t offer unlimited anything. That’s relatively new to the cell phone world. If I were to switch, I would have to get a new plan, which would…cost more. Not just for the unlimited texting, mind you, but my minutes and data would go up, too, and my overall plan would jump about $40 a month. That’s a lot of money for something I neither need nor want.

So, in the spirit of “I’m not changing so I better convince the world to come around to my way of thinking” here’s my rules for texting.

1. Photos

2. Videos

3. Random comments that do not require a response

 

And that’s it.

A little explanation.

1. Photos are fine, if they matter. A darling picture of your kids? Sure. A snapshot of them eating dinner? No. A funny sign that you know will make me laugh? Please. A picture of your lunch. No.

2. Videos basically follow the same format as photos. If it’s relevant, absolutely, send it along. But I worry less about this, people don’t send many videos.

3. Randomness. As an example. I was driving in the car on a Friday afternoon and Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” came on the radio. If you don’t know the song, then you are probably not my age. My first year of college, where I met my friend Jason, his crazy roommate, Rich, was obsessed with Natalie Imbruglia and wanted to marry her, in addition to hanging posters of her all over their room. Along with Absolut Vodka ads. Weird. Anyway, when I heard it, I text Jason, “Listening to Torn, though of Rich, thought of you.” Because it gave me memories. And I knew it would for him. No response required just wanted it out there.

Stuff like that? Text me is okay. Don’t expect a response, though, because you will probably not get one.

When not to text:

1. When you have a question for me. I do not get this. Presumably you want an answer, so there is now an obligation. And what if I didn’t understand the question or the context or need more information? It’s too much work. Please call.

2. When you want to talk but text instead. Please do not do this. I do not want to have a conversation with you over text. You are my friend (or else why do you have my number?) so please realize I would rather hear your voice and your inflection and your laugh when I say something funny. And tangents and spirals are possible when we talk, but rarely when we text.

3. When you are going to call me anyway. If you planning on calling to ask me something or to talk about something, why did you just text me to tell me. I don’t need warning. I’m pretty adaptable. I can handle whatever you throw at me, no prep required. Unless you’re bringing CK by my house. Then we have an exception. Text me and tell me to get dolled up. Then call me and tell me why, just to hear the squeals.

See, it’s not hard.

Ok, looking back, it seems a little complicated. And really, I don’t care all that much. But when I don’t respond, people harangue me about it and then it starts to bug me. My sister did say in a voicemail the other day “I sent you a text. But you hardly ever respond to my texts, so I think I’ll just call or email you, you always respond to those.”

I love that she figured it out, faster than any other of my text happy friends.

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