This sample paper, written by an Ultius writer, illustrates how text messaging and has changed the world since becoming a staple of modern communication. In the modern world, people have become used to the idea of sending and receiving information almost instantaneously. There is perhaps no better example of this than the text message. This type of document might be an essay assignment for a communications or sociology course.
The power of a text
Texting, as it is commonly referred to today, allows individuals to literally express their thoughts, convey information, and maintain relationships with the tips of their fingers. The invention and subsequent use of the text message has redefined the way in which an entire generation communicates with each other. Though this powerful service has many benefits, it has also created several important negative issues as well. The cost to one’s health as well as the general public has made texting a highly debated topic recently. The choices of the individuals engaged in texting one another are not always limited to themselves, rather their choices can have direct effects, both physically and emotionally, on others. The power of text messaging is one that has reshaped the world’s means of communication and those that use this power have a responsibility to use it correctly.
The texting phenomenon dates back to end of the 20th century. Though accounts vary, it is generally accepted that the first text message was sent either during 1989 or 1992. The first account attributes the first text message as a sequence of numbers sent and read upside down through a Motorola beeper by former NASA employee Edward Lantz. The 1992 account states that Neil Papworth sent a message through a Vodafone GSM network with the use of a desktop computer. This text message contained the simple statement “Merry Christmas.” It wasn’t until Riku Pihkonen, an engineering student, came around that texts were sent on the more commercially recognizable Nokia mobile phones. As this concept was first used in the early 90’s, the popularity of the text message did not initially catch on with the general public. The number of text users began to grow at the turn of the century, and now statistics show that over 85% of people in Europe and North America are users of text messaging (Urmann, 2009).
Technological advancements in communication
As with any advancement in the technological world, it took many different individuals working on the system for it to reach a state where the general population could benefit from its use. The first text messages were seen as cumbersome to create and not an effective means of communication between people. As more resources were spent on perfecting the system however, the process of sending a text message became drastically easier. With the invention of the classic “T9word” feature on a phone, a user needed only select numbers that would correspond to certain, easily recognizable words programmed into the phone’s memory. This replaced the need for an individual to spend a great amount of time constructing each word through multiple selections of a number on the phone. Take the word “there” for example. On the original system, a user had to hit the number 8 one time for the “t”, the number 4 twice for the “h”, the number 3 twice for the “e”, the number 7 three times for “r”, and finally the number 3 two more times for the final “e.” New systems resolved from having to hit 10 keys to just the 5 needed for the actual word. As the system continues to improve and grow for text messaging, there are both pros and cons to the advancement of the technology.
Text messaging using T9 wordSource: Wiki
Before smartphones with full keyboards became popular, people messaged using T9 word, or “texting on 9 keys.” Composing the simplest message took many clicks.
The power of the instant communication that the text message gives to society can be used for a multitude of positive functions and is a subject with high potential for study and research paper writing. The ability to communicate quickly and efficiently allows for the transmission of important data instantaneously. One such example of this is emergency text messages that can be provided to individuals for natural disasters. Should a natural disaster be about to affect an area such as a tornado, sever storm, flood, etc., people that live in that area can have emergency texts sent to their phones to warn them about the impending danger. This can literally save the lives of those who would have been otherwise caught unaware of the potential danger that they were in. Additionally, text messaging (like social media) allows for people to maintain personal relationships with those that they do not have the ability to see on a regular basis. As a study showed, the average teenager uses the text message for about 54% of their interactions with their friends. Face-to-face talking was actually the third most used method of communication, weighing in at 33%. The ability of instant, efficient communication that the text message provides can help people maintain a relationship with a friend when the two literally live on opposite sides of the country (Minshall, 2012).
Related reading: The decline of communication due to technology.
Texting problems: A societal disease?
Though the power of text messaging has many benefits to it, the misuse of this technology can cause serious problems for society. With the ability to communicate instantaneously on a mobile device, society focuses more and more on their mobile phones at the expensive of focusing on other, important tasks such as driving. Texting and driving is a hot topic nowadays, in not only the number of accidents that it causes per year but also the amount of money the state spends on combating drivers from texting and driving. According to a recent NBC News article, “the federal government is $550,000 to Connecticut and Massachusetts for pilot projects to crack down on people who text while driving,” (Eng, 2012). This program will hire police spotters on highway overpasses who are trained to look for motorists that are engaging in texting and driving. This takes valuable resources away from the government that could be used to solve some of the country’s other important issues because people cannot responsibly handle the power of texting given to them. The problems do not end only with state spending on making sure individuals responsibly wield the power of texting.
People are so addicted to the use of text messaging that they are literally causing themselves physical harm from over use on their mobile phones. The overuse of one’s cell phone for texting can cause physical problems to the body. The areas most effected by over texting are: the neck, head, shoulders, wrists, and hands. By looking down at a phone screen and having a slumped posture, individuals are adding as much as 20 or 30 pounds of weight that their neck must support. This new ailment dubbed “Text Neck” can cause major physical harm to the body if gone unchecked. By putting excessive strain on the neck, the body must compensate and can lead to injury. This can be easily avoided if individuals take the time to limit the number of texts they send and the time they look at the phones in a downward angle, however many people will just ignore the pain and act as though it is not a serious issue (Broaddus, 2012).
Texting can also affect one’s social life in a negative sense. As found by Ya-Shu Liang, a licensed psychologist and Ph.D. holder, the use of extensive texting can lead to “’maintenance expectations,’ like expecting a fast response from a text, which can increase over-dependence and can lead to decreased satisfaction in a relationship,” (Hawkes, 2012). People have come to expect to receive information at a blazing pace, and when they are denied their expected speed of response, they can become frustrated with the other person. In addition to this, the use of text messaging can lead to a person having to maintain a number of relationships to the point where that person has no close relationships. The person has to maintain such a large number of different relationships that he or she is unable to, by time constraints or other means, have a close, personal relationship (Hawkes, 2012).
Even with the use of technology in forming a romantic relationship, the over use of text messaging can be detrimental. Modern times allow for a person to meet individuals from setting that are no longer face-to-face. With the advent of internet dating, a person can meet someone new and form a relationship based almost exclusively on emailing and text messages. The problem with forming a relationship in this matter is, as Dr. Liang states, is that an individual will likely form unrealistic expectations and standards of the person based on their electronic interactions. People have a preconceived notion on the manner of another and will assume they will act a certain way before they ever meet face-to-face, as opposed to meeting some the first time face-to-face and forming opinions about them based on the way they act (Hawkes, 2012).
Additional reading: Click here to read about social relationships among young adults.
The invention of text messaging has revolutionized the way in which people can communicate on a regular basis and the field of communications in general. From the early 90’s simple message of “Merry Christmas” to today’s smart phones that literally allow a person to “draw” the words they wish to send, the advancement of this piece of technology is astonishing. The power that it gives to society is nothing short of awesome in that it allows for instantaneous, efficient means of having a conversation. However, with this great power that text messaging offers society; there comes a great deal of responsibility for correctly and safely using it. People need to be able to efficiently manage the use of their text messaging. We must be able to hold ourselves accountable for texting at appropriate times. We have to be able to know when it is a right and wrong time to engage in texting. If we do not, the government will continue to have to waste its time, effort, and resources to ensure that individuals are not abusing the power of text messaging. So, it is on a personal level that society must correctly use this awesome power. When driving a car, a person must have the clarity of mind to put down their phone. When their body physically hurts from over texting, they must put down the phone and take a break. We have to remember that our relationships are real, physical things with others and are not confined to only being used on a cellular phone. The text message has so many potential upsides that it is crucial that society learns to be responsible with this power. Only then, can we realize the full potential that the text message has.
Broaddus, Adrienne. “Frequent texting can be pain in the neck.” WISHTV. (2012): n. page. Web. .
Eng, James. “Texting while driving: Connecticut, Massachusetts to use police spotters to catch culprits in federal test.” NBC News. (2012): n. page. Web. .
Hawkes, Ethan. “Technology takes a toll on relationships.” Daily Titan. (2012): n. page. Web. .
Minshall, Kristin. “Thumbs are Talking: Addicted to Texting.” the Papyrus. (2012): n. page. Web. 18 Oct. 2012. .
Urmann, David. “The History of Text Messaging.” Articlesbase. (2009): n. page. Web. .
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