Why I Don’t Use Text Speak

Texting

At my last full time job, everyone used Skype to communicate as we all worked at home. My mornings usually began with a chat with my boss that went something like this:

Him: hi how ru?

Me: Fine, and you?

Him: bsy

Me: What’s on tap for today?

Him: cn u cll ur client 2 find out what hppned?

Me: Of course, I’ll get on it first thing.

Him: tnx TTYL

Me: Bye. Have a nice day.

If you ever Skype with me or if we text chat on the phone, and even on Twitter (most of the time)  I won’t use text speak. It hurts my eyes to read words that aren’t really words and while I believe brevity is a talent, there’s a difference between short and sweet and deliberately shortening words to send a message.

Actually, I don’t text much, but that’s a whole different story.

Every time I go out people are walking around texting. They’re doing it in line, they’re doing it while shopping, driving, dining out, and they’re doing it while attending classes and sessions at conferences. I don’t know about you, but I find it very rude to be in conversation with someone while that same person whips out a phone and starts typing. Even though he’s not opening his mouth to speak, his attention is now focused on another person, interrupting us. I once watched a teen hold up her finger to someone at the DMV in order to get him to stop talking so she could read and respond to a text message. I looked over to see if her mother had anything to say about this display but she was also texting. Maybe they were texting each other.

However, this is about text messaging shorthand and not rude people.

Lately every time I receive an email from someone under 30 or Skype or use a similar instant messaging service, the messages are riddled with “LOLs” and “b4s” and “how r us”. It makes me crazy. Can we not type complete words when communicating online?

The local Starbucks had a sign on their chalk board recently reading” 2 Day’s 2ings.” I asked a girl behind the counter what a “2ing” is and she looked at me as if I was from a different planet. “It’s a pairing,” she said. “Cute right?” No it’s not cute. A “2ing” doesn’t even come close to being a “pairing” it looks like “twoing” which makes absolutely no sense. How much harder can it be to write out the whole word? Shortened words are anything but cute.

Full disclosure: I’ve been known to use a “2” instead of a “to” or “two” on Twitter to make a sentence work, but that’s very rare. I feel the constant use of SMS (text chat speak) makes us lazy. Creative people can find the words to fit in a short space without eliminating too many letters. And Skype and emails? There’s no reason to BRB and LOL because there’s no character count there.  Why do we do this? What happened to typing out real words. Better yet, why can’t we use our voices and talk like human beings and not robots?

Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the good old days. The days before text chatting, cell phones and instant messaging. The days when only the “rich” families had more than one phone and we had to get through the day without a constant barrage of messages. If the phone rang while we were with friends, we politely told the party on the other end we were busy and would call back. We went out to dinner and communicated with our family and friends and gave them our full attention. Phone calls during dinner time or after 9:00 were only in the case of a true emergency, and by true emergency I don’t mean to discuss BFFs and FWIWs. Whatever happened to waiting until the next day to find out the gossip? There’s nothing to anticipate anymore because we receive all of our information immediately as it happens.

I don’t want to know “2day’s specials” or have to wait while someone will “brb”. Talk to me, people. Talk to me using real words and not abbreviations. I don’t want to LOL, I want to laugh. I want to have discussions where I don’t have to whip out the SMS dictionary to find out what the other person is talking about. Is that too much to ask? Am I the only person turned off by this?

What are your thoughts? Has text chatting made us lazy and rude?

Discuss…

Comments

  1. I think that text speak is also one reason why the younger generation has dwindling English proficiency. I’m not just speaking for the Asian youth, but all over the world. Text speak definitely makes people lazy to write and practice their grammar and spelling.

    Oh, and text speak equates to a headache.

  2. Whenever my husband and I rant a/b this type of thing, we always end it with a fist shake and “You kids get off my lawn!” This sounds a little like that.

  3. Tania Mara says:

    Luckily, my acquaintances and friends don’t use to text other people while talking to me. If they did, I’d feel somewhat disrespected.

    A “2ing” doesn’t even come close to being a “pairing” it looks like “twoing” which makes absolutely no sense.

    My thoughts exactly. I wouldn’t know what “2ing” means if you hadn’t explained it.

    I avoid text speak as much as possible, although I admit I use it from time to time on Twitter. I agree it looks awful. Then again, I understand that some people prefer writing this way because they feel it saves them some time.

  4. I am literally laughing out loud at this… and quite tempted to write LOL but I won’t. ;)

    Sadly, though, I don’t think text chatting has made us (meaning society) lazy and rude. It’s just a manifestation of people in general *being* lazy and rude! Today’s technology just gives us whole new ways to do so.

    We were talking about this at the paintball field last weekend actually. A bunch of us decided to begin a crusade against text speak. Friends of mine correct their teenage nieces, nephews and cousins whenever they type in text speak and never use it themselves.

    That “2ings” is just bad. I’d read it as “tourings” and ask where they were taking me.

    I do find value in “LOL” and “ROFLMAO” though. You can’t convey a laugh in text and it shows an emotion. In real life you wouldn’t say, “I’m laughing,” you’d just laugh. So perhaps, ::laughs:: or “hahaha” is better? My husband always uses a long string of “hahahaha.” ::shrugs::

    And “Brb” has become valuable for me because, when I have a squirming baby with a full diaper in my lap it’s either those 3 little letters, which I can type with two fingers, or I just vanish wordlessly from the conversation. That, to me, would be more rude.

    But abbreviating for the sake of using text speak? No point to it in most cases.

    Thanks for my Monday morning laugh!

  5. I don’t twitter, for the reasons you cite above. Personally, though I use e-mail a lot, I still prefer phone communications because I think it provides better two-way interaction.

    My kids have missed out on some gatherings with friends because they rely too much on texting and not enough on the phone. Can’t tell you how many times when they complain “xxx didn’t text me back” that they should pick up the phone and make a call. Leave messages in multiple communications channels, not just one.

    If it was several years ago and people hadn’t returned calls (prior to texting and the Internet), I’d say send a letter.

    In fact, I’m going to be sending a certified letter soon to a client who isn’t returning calls/e-mails about a payment. If the certified letter isn’t answered I will pursue some stronger measures.

  6. I do use b/c, w/, w/o, and the occasional 2. But that’s it. If you’re going to take the time to communicate with someone, how does it reflect on your relationship if you can’t be bothered to spell? I equate text speak with grunting or shrugging.

  7. I’m with you. I loathe txt speak (unless it is being used in a story to poke fun at txt speak).

  8. Text or chat speak is one of my biggest pet-peeves! It drives me absolutely batty. Although, as a couple of people have mentioned, there area a FEW I do use sparingly like LOL because it does convey the meaning fairly well. When I see ::laughs:: or something, it just doesn’t have the same feel to it.

    Once in a while, there are some situations that merit the use of these types of abbreviations but for the most part, just learn to write with brevity and you’ll be fine.

    And I do think it has created a lazy society that can’t spell, write or speak properly if they’re life depended on it.

    But, that’s just my .02¢. ;-)

  9. Here here, I can’t stand text speak either, and I’m an under 30. In fact nearly everyone who speaks like that gets blocked by me, if you can not be bothered to type correctly, then I can’t be bothered to listen to what you have to say.

  10. Worse is when your children (particularly a teen daughter) walk out of the house saying BRB. Mine does that all the time! My son is known to say ROFL to things we say. So it’s not only text where they use them.

  11. It’s the social media equivalent of military acronyms.

  12. I saw a commercial the other day for a program on the National Geographic channel and at the end, the announcer said, “Tuesday, on Nat Geo!” It took me a minute to realize what Nat Geo was. Not only is texting painful to look at, it’s symptomatic of our society’s tendency to abbreviate anything and everything we can. I don’t understand why abbreviate something when saying the entire word will take an extra fraction of a second. Are our tongues becoming as lazy as the rest of our bodies? I had to struggle to say Washington Mutual instead of WaMu, but I did not succumb. I don’t have that problem anymore. Now I just say “Chase.”

  13. You know what gets me? Sometimes it takes me twice as long to figure out what the textspeak means than it would have taken for the person to type the whole freakin’ words out correctly!

    I admit to using some textspeak when I am actually, you know, texting. But when I Skype or email, I always spell everything out.

  14. I agree!! When I first started to use Twitter I was actually really frustrated with trying to tweet because of the 140 character limit. I left that I had to take grammar and spelling and just chuck them out the window. I have since learned to communicate via Twitter, but I do find that the younger generation use text speak all the time now. It drives me crazy. Their facebook profiles are covered with mistakes. Are the generations slowly becoming dumber??

  15. Here’s a kicker: here in New Zealand, kids are not penalised for using text language in national exams. http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/New_Zealand_students_able_to_use_txt_language_in_exams

    The thought of it makes me twitch.

    I admit to using LOL a fair amount, but in general I find it takes me much less time to just write the word properly than it would to figure out how to shorten it. I use proper English out of laziness…how ironic ;-) Even texting on my phone, I use predictive text so there’s no excuse.

  16. Maybe I’m giving away my age, but I have no problems with textual “languages” like txt, lol, etc.

    “Wnt 2 mt @ SB ltr?” “U’ll bbs, rt?” “LoL w/e u wnt 2 do.” I find these all perfectly acceptable, when *talking to friends* via txt or IM.

    It’s disconcertingly unprofessional, though, to use all but the more emotive shorthand in conversations with clients. It drives me batty when someone, who is supposedly highly professional, sends me instructions riddled with acronyms and shorthands. Not only does it make the conversation much more casual than it should be, it adds a whole new level of vagueness that makes completing the project [correctly] next to impossible.

  17. I hope this question is somewhat related. I am not a fan of text speak BTW! ;)

    A friend told me there is an application for Ipod or Iphone that allows you to record your voice and then have the resulting sound entered as text on your computer. Anyone have any idea what this is or how it works? Seems like this would be a great writer’s tool.

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