Last updateWed, 13 Dec 2017 8am


A Modern-Day Debate: The Instant Text Back

waitingfortextIn our modern age of instant connection, it’s easy to see how we’ve become so accustomed to being able to instantly get in touch with and hear back from anyone we choose. But adjustment is a far cry from obsession, which some people today seem to be infringing on with their devices and conversations. 

A major reason behind this is the lack of wait times between responses. Anyone can text or message back instantly, so it’s created this world of impatience and need to keep up the flow of virtual conversation. But does this society of “text-backs” really disrupt communication, or is it just a story of the new definition of communicating today? 

Before we think of whether instant responses are a bonus or detractor of communication, let’s think of all the good the technology has done for us and our conversations.

“I think it’s more effortless because it’s faster and easier than talking on the phone. Also, as far as communication goes I think it almost helps. We have group chats that help us stay in touch and talk as a group, which is something we wouldn’t be able to do just over the phone,” said Katharine Dix, a freshman political science major. 

Our phones and computers have us all connected in this metaphorical (and kind of literal) web, and that brings just as many benefits as it does problems. People like to be connected with other people, that’s the real truth here. Communication as a concept comes after the acknowledgement of the fact that texting back and instantaneous messages are one of the best things to happen to communication in history.

Let’s separate the devices from the conversation for a moment; is a need for timely responses really such a bad thing? Rahmonn McMillan, a sophomore fine arts major, seems to disagree. “For all I know, you could need the answer to an important text by an hour ago. If I did the same thing in person it would be as if I just sat here and stared at you for an hour before answering.”

We’re connected with or without devices, so it’s not too much to ask for someone to remain interested in the conversation. It’s easy to seem secluded or single-minded when you’re constantly responding to messages, but it just makes sense to remain part of a discussion you started. 

“As ‘plugged in’ as our generation is, we still expect the same cues, hints, and colloquiums that are found in face to face interactions in text,” McMillan added.

What it all comes down to is if texting back is an important part of modern communication. It can be said clearly that it is, but is the timing of that text really that crucial? On one hand, there are numerous benefits to being able to hear back instantly from someone if you need to, but there’s also the threat of becoming disconnected to your own physical conversations and interactions. We certainly can’t afford to be glued to our devices, eagerly awaiting that “any second now” text or message back. 

“The timeliness of a text is important, and it’s growing in importance as time goes on. Now, this isn’t to say it always needs to be right away, but it’s good to keep your eyes on your phone, much like it is to keep your eyes on your email. Something could be important, or an emergency,” said Phil Latawiec, a freshman fine arts major. 

As is usually the case in debates like this, a balance is the best option. It’s okay to be attentive to your messages and text conversations, but it shouldn’t have to hurt your real-life interactions, such as cutting a face-to-face conversation short to text back. The age-old saying of “moderation in all things” shines through once again in a matter of modern issues.

It’s really not such a bad thing to be timely and responsive with your texts and other “virtual” conversations as you are with your physical ones, but it’s important not to become intent on always sending that instant text back. After all, it’s a nice feeling to hear the phone buzz and just ignore it every once in a while.

IMAGE TAKEN from imgix.net

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