THE BLOG

Texting: The First Regression in Human Communication

08/10/2012 01:00 pm ET | Updated Oct 10, 2012

Human beings are unique in that we are exceptional communicators. We have established languages and alphabets, which have enabled us to express our thoughts and feelings to one another, and over the past 250 years, technology has substantially increased our ability to interact. In 1792, Samuel Morse invented the telegraph, and with it, established a way to communicate with people across the globe in writing. Around 100 years later, in 1876, the electrical telephone was invented, making it possible for us to hear other people's voices who were miles away, and in 1914, we established cross-continental phone lines, thereby making it possible for someone in England to hear an American's voice. By the 1990's, cell phones were common throughout the world, and in the late 1990's, we achieved the ultimate dream: communicating face-to-face on the Internet with something called video conferencing. Then, in the early 2000's, we invented telegraphing. Confused? We call it texting now.

This is the first time we (humans) have actually regressed in our ability to "talk" to one another. I don't doubt that Egyptians -- who used hieroglyphs (little pictures) as their form of writing -- felt that the Greek's invention of the phonetic alphabet would take away from the hard work they put in to become literate. And I know that when the phone was invented, people thought we would lose the intimacy of writing letters. But what truly makes texting a step backwards for the human race is that -- unlike alphabets vs. hieroglyphics and letters vs. phone calls -- texting is MUCH more difficult and time-consuming than talking. The anti-Edison who convinced AT&T to start putting texting in their phones must have been the Pat Riley of technology salesmen. I mean, this is the sales pitch the poor guy had to make:

"What if, instead of taking place in the effortless activity of using pulmonary pressure to produce sound out of the vocal track (speaking), humans sent messages to one another by using the muscles in their fingers to press down on a set of nearly microscopic keys (sometimes up to three times to produce just one letter) in order to contact their friends. Sold?"

Nope. And even though many of my friends continue to prefer to text rather than speak on the phone, I think it's time for a communication revolt. While I'm totally down with Retro Jordan's and old photos, there's no need to "kick it old school" and telegraph one another. So, here's my plea (it's not a complicated one): stop texting! The next time a friend of yours sends you a text, pick up the phone and call him/her back. Something pretty spectacular will happen: you'll actually hear each other's voices. Pretty cool, huh?

And if you still insist on texting, just make sure not to do these things: