Archive for November, 2011

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“Playing” and Driving

November 27, 2011

So, we are now bidding November farewell and this means that the holidays are officially in full swing.  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and as we head into this Christmas season there are going to be tons of people getting new gadgets that they want to play with.  Unfortunately, these new gadgets come with an increased desire to “play” behind the wheel.

As I learned from your commentary of my last post (and recent conversations), there are many of you that feel that texting and driving is “technically” wrong.  So why, if it is so wrong and unsafe, do we still feed the urge to play behind the wheel?  I believe that it has much to do with the fact that we have become an instant gratification society.  For example, we WANT the newest game system, so we go out and buy it.  If we don’t have the money, that’s okay because there is always the handy-dandy credit card that we can pay later.  Our interaction with each other has become much the same.  If we send someone a text asking a question, we expect a semi-immediate response.  This instant gratification mentality is the reason that many allow convenience to trump safety when it comes to “playing” behind the wheel.

Part of the reason that I keep using the word “playing” instead of simply texting is because I noticed a man playing “words with friends” (while driving) over the weekend.  Are you kidding me?  Now we are not only texting and driving but we are now playing and driving.  Friends, I have a challenge for you this holiday season; make a New Year’s resolution to keep your gadgets out of the driver seat.  If you often lack self control, then put your phone in the trunk during your errand running.  If your issue with texting and driving is that you simply don’t think it’s wrong, then do us all a favor and have a date with youtube.  Watch some of the many videos where people are texting and driving.  Many of them think that they have full control of their vehicle until it is simply too late.  I wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season!  And of course Happy Blogging.

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Intercultural communication in world of text messaging…

November 21, 2011

Texting has become a global phenomenon.   Whether you live in Beverly Hills, 90210 or in South London, SE15 5EU,  sending and receiving texts messages has become more common than eating sliced bread or drinking a designer coffee drink from the corner Starbucks.  Throughout the last ten weeks of blogging we have discussed everything from casual conversations about new textspeak to highly controversial topics like texting and driving.  However, today we are going in a completely new direction in the world of texting: how has intercultural communication intersected the world of text messaging?

For beginners let’s take a little journey across the pond to England where they were the first to unveil highly graphic, controversial commercials warning against the dangers of texting and driving.  Although the jury is still out on whether or not the horrific nature of these commercials are even effective, the fact remains that the UK was the first to internationally proclaim that they will (and do) take a stand against texting and driving.  The international (specifically the U.S.) media has since criticized these ads and removed them from network television.  However, the British media continues to run these ads regularly and only time will tell as to the effectiveness of the graphic content.

Along with social media sites and public forum video sites (such as youtube), texting has become incredibly influential in the international political world as well.  In the recent protests in Libya, young protesters were unable to follow the local or national news as all news outlets were government controlled.  When the anti-government protesting began to pick up and gain a loyal following, Muammar Gaddafi ordered all news stations to go off air.  The young generation of protesters quickly turned to facebook and text messaging as their means of organizing the large groups of protests that were constantly changing locations as to avoid martial law.

Let’s face it ladies and gentlemen, we live in an interconnected world more now than ever before.  Although, the grandmother of globalization was the advent of the “information super-highway,” the immediacy of text messaging has far surpassed the “old days” of checking your e-mail before you go to bed or when you first come in the office in the morning.   The mere idea of being able to send your immediate thought to your cousin in India while sitting on the toilet is sobering and quite honestly, mind boggling!

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Yes, You in the Cute Little “Ladybug” Slug Bug…

November 2, 2011

As I do every morning, I was driving my kids to school today and low and behold I found my life being challenged by a little red “slug-bug” with cute little black dots all over it.  Although, the car was adorable, the little texter behind the wheel was NOT.  To begin with, there is no route that I can take without passing through the congested road that runs in front of our local high school.  This in and of itself, is already a dangerous situation, but most people adhere to the school zone and I rarely notice anyone breaking the “no cell phone law” in the mornings.  However, apparently when they were teaching the “school zone = no cell phone law” in driver’s education, our little slug bugger decided that a feasible alternative would be to text in our school zone.

So here we are (my two daughters and I), just driving along when a little red blob starts veering toward oncoming traffic.  The car in front of me swerves out of the way and I swerve into the ditch on my side of the road.  She looks up, corrects, and then waves and mouths the word “SORRY.”  Sorry, Seriously?  Uttering the word “sorry” is just not going to cut it in the situation.  Little girl, you need to be thanking your lucky stars that I did not have time to hunt you down this morning.  You need to be thankful that I didn’t get my car stuck in this ditch.  You need to be thankful that I didn’t stop my car and lose my religion in front of the whole town.  But more than anything, you need to be thankful that you didn’t hurt yourself or anyone else.

So as I am here behind my keyboard venting to all of you, the sweet little girl in her cute little car is sitting in class, hopefully reflecting on how valuable life is.  However, this message is not for her.  This message is for all of you (my readers) that still text and drive.  This morning is only one example of many encounters that I have faced on the road because of texting and driving.  On my commute to school last week I watched a man in my rear-view mirror get within inches of a passing 18-wheeler on the highway and then return to his text as soon as the truck passed.  I have been in the car with some of you, while you are texting.  There are options: hand your phone to someone else in the car and let them text for you (I have my kids text for me so often that my husband actually now asks who is on the other end of the text), pull over (if it is that important than there is a shoulder or nearby parking lot calling your name), or call someone.  My husband would actually tell you that the last option that I gave is not an option, but at this point, ANYTHING is better than texting.  Please, heed my warning (or my begging)!