IDK My BFF Jill?

Picture found on proudcanadianeh’s flickr


Do you love to text? If so, you are not alone. Apparently, the number of text messages sent daily is six billion and over 2.2 trillion yearly. And that is in the United States alone! Carpal tunnel anyone? Thank goodness for unlimited texting service plans! I love to text and I will admit I text frequently. I’ll also even admit I text when it is ill-advised such as driving, in class or even walking. Imagine someone texting and fall going up the stairs. Yes, I’ve done that. I have no shame whatsoever.

What’s The Deal?

When it comes to texting, what do you text? Do you “chit-chat” and have a small text-versation(totally made that word up) or are you like me who enjoy having deep, intellectual ones? Are you the kind that just texts your friend that you are in their driveway waiting on them? Are you the type to do sexting? In any way, shape or form, we all have texted one way or another. The problem is that texting is taking away and damaging our interpersonal skills.Over 75% of teenagers text making it the most common type of communication and this cuts out phone calls and face-to-face conversations. I know from my own personal experience that I prefer texting over phone calls or personal conversations because let’s all admit, we just do not have time to sit down and have a conversation with a family or friend.

Photo found on JHongosh’s flickr

IDK What This All Means?

Texting is human interaction, it’s just a different kind and thus, communication is everything! Texting is a form of Nonverbal communication which in the textbook, Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters by Julia Wood, it means this type of communication is everything but words. This can include symbols, body language, inflection, tone, facial expressions, etc. Nonverbal communication is arbitrary, ambiguous, and abstract. This means that a wink, for example, cannot be defined clearly because of different meanings. To some people, a wink can express a romantic interest to someone, a dirty signal or even a simple got-something-caught-in-the-eye. Now if we wink to someone in person, it still may clearly not be defined but through a text message, you can have a field day thinking exactly what that wink means 😉

I’m Sorry Vs. I’m Sorry

In this fascinating article, it basically says that texting is damaging people’s, especially children’s, interpersonal skills and those building blocks to making relationships. The article gave an example of someone giving an apology over text messaging which it basically boiled down to text messaging lacks the visual and audio cues of a sincere apology in person or over the phone rather than a bland “I’m sorry” over text messaging. I know from my experience of sending an apology over text messaging, that the other recipient of that text did not believe that my apology was sincere enough which later destroyed our friendship because of it. If I had apologized in person like I should have done, all the audio and visual cues of my sincerity would have been recognized and not lost in translation through text messaging.

What Did You Learn?

By continually learning about communication, one can learn a ton and can learn that even the most common things we do, we don’t know how it affects our way of communicating and its meaning especially in the sense of nonverbal communication which is a form of communication that is everything but words and meanings are hard to interpret. As seen in texting, we can’t tell what the other person is really texting because we can’t see the visual or hear the audio cues in their voice. Can you imagine texting something that someone took way out of context and you became embarrassed by it? Or if worse things could have happened? I hope you can see how important it is to know about communication and all about the various aspects of it. In this case, nonverbal communication and texting. I know I learned my mistake with the apologetic text a few years ago. As you can see, texting is taking over and is taking over communication. However, if we learn how to use texting and other types of this communication wisely, we can still hold a decent face-to-face conversation  Happy texting everyone! Don’t text and drive. 😉

3 thoughts on “IDK My BFF Jill?

  1. Jeffrey Reason says:

    Great job choosing a topic that really affects all of us. I think relating texting to nonverbal communication is brilliant because it definitely meets the criteria for nonverbal communication. I also agree that texting is starting to become more important than talking on the phone or in person all together.

    I think that you could also call texting ambiguous nonverbal communication to this topic. Ambiguous nonverbal communication is they type of communication that can hold different meaning from person to person. The reason I say this could be related to texting is because people read text messages in different ways. For example, I could write a text message with lots of question marks at the end and to me that could be normal for me when I ask a question but someone else could perceive it as me being really anxious and wanting to know the answer really badly.

  2. Leighann Curtis says:

    Reading your blog I couldn’t help but consider how we can miscommunicate through texting. Last week I was texting an male friend, I sent a picture of the bonfire I was sitting beside and simply said, “Baby backyard bonfire.” I was surprised and confused when he responded with, “WTH is with you? I have a girlfriend.” After much discussion I discovered he translated my text as, “Baby, backyard bonfire”. First he thought I was calling him “baby” (with would certainly not be a welcomed term of interment). Secondly he thought I was inviting him to the small (as I meant it) bonfire. In the text Julia T Wood explains that we need to interpret others nonverbal communication tentatively which means that we should be careful when attempting to understand nonverbal communication. In regards to the example given above, the outcome could have been much different if the text was not misinterpreted.

  3. Ashley Taylor says:


    I too am guilty of loving to text message. Sometime it is easier for me to send out a text than going through all the steps it takes to actually call someone.

    I wanted to talk about how you mentioned how the “I’m sorry” over text messaging might not be seen as sincere as the “I’m sorry” in person or over the telephone. I think a way to solve this problem is by making your non-verbal communication via text messaging intentional. In the text Wood talks about the similarities between verbal and nonverbal communication one of those similarities is making sure language is intentional. So if you were trying to show you were sorry in a text message you would intentionally put a sad face to indicate that you were sorry. Or if you were happy you would intentionally tell that person you were happy along with a smiley face.

    With that being said when you are communicating via text message you need to make sure all your language is intentional. This way the person you are speaking with will be sure of what you are trying to communicate with them.

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