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Back To Texting

So a NY Times article on texting mentions that people in hospitals are texting. Not patients awaiting a procedure but doctors, nurses, and patients while doing a procedure.

I don't understand the texting fad. Is it a fad or is it here to stay? While with my neice in September, a 30-year old professional, she texted off and on. First she took pictures and posted them to Facebook. Then she played games with friends and exchanged jokes until her mother, also with us, told her she was being rude. 

I think texting is permanent but it will run down and become another staple of die-hards while the rest will sometimes use it. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not a cultural warrior and don't readily adopt early technology. I used to be one of those people, back in my twenties. Most of technology's problem solving in America seems devoted to short term problems about making money or saving money. The long term issues require harder thinking and choices and we Americans aren't really into that. We'd rather slam one another with insults and write each other with labels. That's the new American way.

Texting is permanent but will run down because that's the nature of these new technology cycles. As people age, more become jaded about what the new technology will really do for them. If it's not saving money or really making life easier, then, well...why buy it? 

There is pressure to be one of the crowd. Some claim they must have the latest toy -- and they would resent it being called a toy -- because their job position and career requires them to be thinking ahead and doing what the public does. I think their impression of the world is drawn from television commercials, movies, and television shows. There's not much grittiness in their world. They believe the life styles on displays, the ripped bodies playing volley ball all day, then singing and dancing all night, all while drinking cold refreshing beer or mixers, with none of them getting the munchies, no one getting sick, passing out or becoming an obnoxious drunk. 

Sitcoms and dramas in America do get earthier but do the right thing playbooks are applied and most matters are quickly solved. Parents with impregnated daughters will fight but then take them back in, unless it's a crime drama. 

Others buy things becuase they've heard so much about it, and the price comes down and they're bored, and say, what the hell, let's see what this is like. Parents tell me they do like texting. It gives them an audit trail of what their child has been doing, who their friends are, and provides them substantial evidence that, "I called you and you didn't answer, so if you want to keep that phone, you'd better answer me when I text you."

But texting is new so a lot of what will come to take place isn't yet understood. Take the wayback machine to other items as they leaped onto the social scene - 45s, LPs, princess phones, microwaves, cassette tape players, VCRs, personal computers, fax machines, email, pagers, CD players, cordless phones, home exercise equipment, DVD players, cell phones, DVRs. People have these things but after the newness wears thin, they become less used. Technology crazes are part of the greater crazes that we used to see in the US. How many people can fit into a telephone booth? The hula hoop, tennis, golf, mountain biking. Cabbage patch kids. Video games.  Lots of these things now show up barely loved, offered and hunted at garage sales and flea markets. Some cause unforeseen issues, like what are we going to do with all that lead and mercury in computers, monitors, and videos? Questions about health -- how much radiation does a cell phone put out -- mental health -- does texting change the way adolescents develop -- security -- how much personal information is your phone revealing -- safety -- how safe is texting while doing anything else -- social manners -- should you text others while on a dinner date -- and privacy -- you can be tracked and monitored by your cell phone -- are all emerging. 

Yes, younger people will come along to get sucked into the vortex, but did you hear? There's some economic issues going on. Young people are having a harder time finding jobs. Those able to find jobs are often using the income to pay off small matters like student loans, or helping their families keep their home, or pay medical and utility bills. The middle class, upon which so much of these consumer goodies depend upon as a market, is shrinking in America.

You'll probably hear that none of that matters. Economic and marketing people will tell you statistics that show that texting is here to stay, that it's being absorbed as part of our culture. Well, I'm here to tell you that our culture is changing. Those marketing and economic experts are probably the same ones who said there are no housing bubbles so buy, buy, buy. The price of your house will never fall.

We are in the age of forgetting. It's less painful than remembering. But as these lessons burn in at emotional levels, people will become more staunch at remembering. Who best remembers the wars? Those that fought them. Who best remembers the Great Depression? Those who lived in it. 

So what will come out of this social, cultural and economic chaos now arising? I don't know. History does repeat itself.