Where Are You?September 19, 2011
About four years ago I joined the texting world. And although I had a cell phone for some ten years before this, I only used it as to make phone calls. Over the last four years however (and I am actually embarrassed to admit this), it has become my primary means of communication. As most you know from my previous post, there are certain boundaries and texting manners that I adhere to, but for the most part texting is a constant part of my everyday life. It’s actually quite ironic considering my degree is in communication and that I will spend the next twenty years of my life teaching people how to VERBALLY communicate effectively.
Just as I am admitting that I am guilty of punting the traditional telephone conversation out of my life, I am perplexed by the unrealistic expectations that we (as a general population) give to text messaging. What leaves me the most puzzled in all of this is how we can read a simple sentence and imply our own interpretations to the words (via our semantic triangle) and assume that our interpretation is exactly what the author intended.
Take the sentence, “Where are you?” for example. These three simple words take on the most complex meaning when there is a complete lack of inflection. “Where are you?” could be a simple statement of curiosity. Or perhaps, you are meeting someone for lunch and you are running a few minutes behind. In this situation, this simple sentence could mean, tell where you are or it could mean I am frustrated because you are late and I have no idea where you are. In more extreme cases it could even mean “Where (explicative) are you?” The fact that this list could go on and on, is exactly my point, so today, I ask you this my friends…What is your story? Tell us a time when you misinterpreted a text (or e-mail if you don’t text), and how it would have been completely different had you been in an actual conversation and heard the person’s tone of voice.