Posts tagged “sms”

Mashup potatoes


I’m sitting here at work and my wife Theresa and her friend Kiki are getting an early dinner.

Would I like something?–Kiki IMs me from her phone and sends me a pic of the menu. I text message them an order. Theresa calls me back–it’s too early for the dinner menu. So I click to the lunch menu on my computer.

This is all done without breaking my stride from the work I’m doing. After it happens, I can’t help but sit for a second and think about the awesome array of technology and communications firepower I’ve just used to procure my Caesar salad, and how utterly normal it felt to do this.

It’s the future, now. (But we still need to eat our leafy green vegetables.)

Related posts:
Technology strengthens families
Thinking about tomorrow makes my brain hurt

All Thumbs, All The Time

From Louis Menand’s review of two books on texting is an interesting example of how non-English speakers (and texters) are using abbreviations in a localized and relevant way:

Different cultures have had to solve the problem of squeezing commonly delivered messages onto the cell-phone screen according to their own particular national needs. In the Czech Republic, for example, “hosipa” is used for “Hovno si pamatuju“: “I can’t remember anything.” One can imagine a wide range of contexts in which Czech texters might have recourse to that sentiment. French texters have devised “ght2v1,” which means “J’ai acheté du vin.” In Germany, “nok” is an efficient solution to the problem of how to explain “Nicht ohne Kondom“-“not without condom.” If you receive a text reading “aun” from the fine Finnish lady you met in the airport lounge, she is telling you “?Ñlä unta nää“-in English, “Dream on.”

and a (not-novel) theory about the appeal of texting that I think is partly true but not sufficient to explain the tremendous global usage.

A less obvious attraction of texting is that it uses a telephone to avoid what many people dread about face-to-face exchanges, and even about telephones-having to have a real, unscripted conversation. People don’t like to have to perform the amount of self-presentation that is required in a personal encounter. They don’t want to deal with the facial expressions, the body language, the obligation to be witty or interesting. They just want to say “flt is lte.” Texting is so formulaic that it is nearly anonymous. There is no penalty for using catchphrases, because that is the accepted glossary of texting.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • American Idol sponsor AT&T sends text-message ads for upcoming season – Note that they included an opt-out and only targeted heavy texters and previous voters. But this quote from the article is the best: "Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T Wireless, said the message was meant as a friendly reminder." Do companies really believe that advertising – especially intrusive text ads that were not opt-in are "friendly reminders?" That's Pentagon-level rhetoric!


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