The Beauty of SMS
First I’m going to include some quotations from Smart Mobs by Howard Rheingold that I find interesting:
“Even before the launch of i-mode, Finnish adolescent courtship rituals and the social norms of Finnish business managers had been transformed by the use of short messages” (12)
“Through SMS teens hate, gossip, mediate, and express longing, even when the writer lacks the courage for a call or in situations where other communication channels are inappropriate. The text message is the backdoor of communication… Text messaging is a way to share relationships” (16)
“Stockholm, in May 2001, was buzzing with mobile culture. My hotel hosted weekend private parties, open only to those who could display the right SMS message at the door. One of the party organizers told me that this floating network of hundreds started gathering at a different locale each week after each of four founders sent SMS invitations to everyone in their address books.” (20)
My first experience with text messing occurred when I was in Croatia for a summer (summer of 2000 I think). I was with a friend who seemed to be burning up the keys on her mobile every time the thing beeped, or about every five minutes. I was amazed by this. Given she still received phone calls, the amount of short messages that arrived to her mobile amazed me. Immediately I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Sms-ing has become such a major part of so many cultures. I have friends in Croatia whose parents have also learned how to text message!!! I don’t know many parents in the US that do this. Also, there are many songs (none that I have heard from American artists, but Italian, Spanish, and Croatian) that have incorporated something about short-messages into their songs… even as simple as the beep made when a mobile receives a text message. While in Croatia, I began borrowing her phone to text friends I was planning on visiting while in Croatia. This was fun!
As soon as I came back to the states, I began to use text messaging. My options of who I could text were limited, since not many people had embraced the technology. These days, however, I find myself sending text messages daily. I have a few people I text regularly which consists of my family and my closet friends. As I have mentioned in class several times, I often find myself sms-ing my international friends. Usually when I send a message, it is covered in my monthly allowance of text messages. I have also found websites that allow me to send messages directly to a friend’s cell phone overseas. I frequently send text messages to wish someone a happy birthday, let them know that something exciting has happened with me, or to simply say hello. This is much more convenient than calling my friends because doing that with my cell phone is ridiculously expensive (although prices are drastically dropping) and when I am usually at home where our international phone plan is amazing, it is usually too late for me to call anyone in Europe).
Then I got to thinking… why text messages are amazing…
- They can be used during class and are less disruptive. They don’t require you to speak and if you are in a large lecture hall, your teacher may never know you are sending someone a message.
- Allow people to avoid actually talking to someone. When sending a text you ask what you need and that’s it. No obligation to say more… most messages are only 160 characters long, so you are limited to what you can say and there is no need to waste it on unnecessary babble.
- Allows access to a greater number of people. Although I have never tried it, my phone enables me to send the same text message to multiple people in my address book
- Phone numbers can be easily sent through a sms. This way it is easier to copy right into my phonebook.
Needless to say, my thumb is very proficient at texting.