A person very close to me said that I’m the least emotional texter the other day. My knee jerk reaction was ‘how dare you insult my texting style’ but shortly after I realized that I do text like a 50-something and that I prefer such.
People my age, 18 – 24 years old, spend most of their time ‘on.’ By on, I mean always performing for some audience. As Chuck Klosterman explains in Sex, Drugs, and Coca Puffs, MTV’s Real World caused viewers to develop a sophisticated view of postmodernism, even if they weren’t aware of what the term means. Cast members look directly into the camera despite being instructed to act like they’re not being filmed. This behavior influenced viewers ‘real lives’ as they began to compare themselves and their friends to the one-dimensional cast members.
Today, most people my age are constantly a postmodern version of themselves. On Facebook and Twitter, we’re curating content to architect a persona. On Foursquare, we’re announcing that we’re present and broadcasting selected locations to Facebook and Twitter that once again support our desired image. On Gchat and BBM, we’re inserting as many emoticons as possible to substitute for our lack of physicality. We created an environment where we are required to always be on.
So when it comes to texting, I now recognize why my friend said my texts are emotionless. With so many options to create and join a conversation, I reserve texting for moments to ask, “Where are you?,” “I’m in the back.,” “What’s the password to the account?” and other banal, but timely questions and replies. However after surveying several friends, such behavior is not socially acceptable. I’m supposed to CAP words, add exclamation points and question marks and even insert a smiley face if the mood strikes me. Once again, media environments converge and create new expectations that supersede efficiency and utility.
I do not plan to change my modern texting style. If you’re looking to engage with the postmodern version of myself, hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, IM and perhaps even in-real-life.
I would love to know your thoughts on modern versus postmodern texting/media environments….