Jim's Blog

Thoughts and Happenings

Text or Talk?

Posted by Jim Rector on January 5, 2011

Do you like to talk or text? Or maybe some other type of communication? I know that personally I’d rather just email someone than pick up the phone and call. Is this terrible? Am I anti-social? What can this mean? I’ve always thought myself a friendly person. I never thought that I was socially challenged. But bottom line is that I’d rather just communicate in writing.

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I think it started for me when I had a job from about 1985 through 1997 where my job was done exclusively on the phone. I was a System Controller for Houston Lighting and Power company (Now Centerpoint Energy) and spent my days giving switching instructions to personnel in the field or talking to power plant operators directing generation levels and gas burn amounts. After a day of that the last thing I wanted was to talk on the phone. I think I frustrated my wife (probably still do) when we needed information from someone because I would make her call. I hated calling, still do.

At work now I would much rather open Microsoft Outlook and write an email than pickup the phone and call someone. Even if it’s just a small request or question. I think a lot has to do with being so busy that I don’t have time for small talk. I just want to cut-to-the-chase and address the topic at hand. It’s easier to cut through the extra conversation with email.

So I guess technology is a two-edged sword. On the one hand it’s caused us, me a least, to forego verbal interaction for written communication. On the other hand this “social” communication has caused me to be more in tune with friends and relatives. Because of Facebook I know more about my family in Upstate NY than I ever did before. I’ve connected with childhood and teenage friends now as folks never did as few as five years ago. One area of face-to-face verbal communication I enjoy is Skype or "FaceTime” with my son and his wife (Even her folks!) in California. So while technology has probably stifled my verbal communication with others it has provided increased social interaction that I would never have had without it.

What do you think? Would you rather talk, text, tweet, Skype, or email? Do you feel more in tune with friends and relatives now or less?

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