Friday, March 28, 2008

[mobiles] and the curse of the texter

Lifted virtually complete from fellow blogger Grendel, this sums up the issue better than I could:

I dislike mobile phones. The premise being based on your availability or the expectation that others may have of your availability 24 hours a day.

However I went on to say that the thing I really disliked was text messaging. The constant ‘mipping’ noise indicating that a new message has arrived. The daily vision of people hunched over their phones, their features seeming ever more gaunt when picked out by the LCD backlight.

Groups of kids huddled together all with phones in hand most likely texting each other. It seems that one can’t go for a walk, a bus ride a train journey without seeing people bashing away at the tiny little key pads as if their very lives depended on it.

‘Oh I must text because if I don’t text other people they won’t text me and than I won’t have any friends’.

And I’ve often thought that there must be something wrong with quite a few of these people. But as I found out today there actually might be something wrong with quite a few of these people in reality.

According to an editorial by Dr. Jerald Block, a psychiatrist at the Oregon Health and Science University published in this months American Journal of Psychiatry text messaging is becoming an increasingly commonplace compulsive-impulsive disorder. Dr. Block goes on to suggest that it should be added to psychiatry's official guidebook of mental disorders.

Block says users can lose all track of time or neglect "basic drives" such as eating or sleeping. Some may need psychoactive medications or hospitalisation to combat their over-reliance.

I personally detest them and ban them from anywhere in my space, at university or elsewhere. My ex-girlfriend knows very well that if we go out, the texter goes away.

Unfortunately I can't do much about private clients. One usually lays two or three of these implements out on the table in front of him and our "conversation" involves getting into a topic, losing it to the texter or mobile then trying to start all over again.

For a start, it is insulting to the person you're with. One or two girls have recently made a joke about being able to Multi-task. It's not multi-tasking - it's simply old fashioned insulting. If someone comes to you, then they should get your undivided attention, at least for a space in time.

Not possible says the compulsive texter/mobile obsessive. "I might lose business. I might lose friends." I'm afraid ths speaks volumes for the modern slide to zero respect for one another which manifests itself from everything from loud train conversations to road rage.

19 comments:

Verlin Martin said...

"For a start, it is insulting to the person you're with. One or two girls have recently made a joke about being able to Multi-task. It's not multi-tasking - it's simply old fashioned insulting. If someone comes to you, then they should get your undivided attention, at least for a space in time."

While annoying I dont' think insulting would be the word. Unless the person takes a call and makes you wait (instead of telling caller that he/she is busy). It is the same as talking to someone and someone else walking up and saying something.

You can either turn your attention away from person A to person B or you can tell B you're busy. :)

Nunyaa said...

Its all about manners, if you cant focus on the one you are with without taking calls on your mobile, what's teh point. Manners cost nothing but seem to be the hardest thing to live by.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Truth is somewhere in here, Verlin and Nunyah.

MJW said...

I set my phone to silent vibrate, and then if it buzzes when I'm in the middle of something I can decide if it's important or not. If its not I leave it to go to voicemail.

My real annoyance is with people who play music through the speakers on their phones rather than use headphones. Such people are invariably dysfunctional and mentally unhinged.

Swearing Mother said...

2 F R my frend, nuthin wrse thn complsve txters, n their stupid txt speak.

jailhouselawyer said...

I just wish mine would not keep telling me I have 10 unread messages when I do not have any unread messages at all!

Liz said...

Slightly off-point but to do with manners as well: I don't like it when I am talking to a mother and her child comes and interrupts. Instead of saying to the child, 'hang on one minute,' the mother then gives the child her full attention. I think that is being rude to me and not teaching the child good manners either.

(Obviously if the child is in distress or bleeding profusely, I might make an exception!)

oestrebunny said...

I'm a bit torn with my phone, I hate how it makes me constantly available but I remedy that by turning it off for long periods of time. I wouldn't be without it, I think they're handy to have. What if you have flat on a quiet road? You can phone for help instead of waiting what could be hours.

As for texting? Blessing and a curse, I like to text because I hate talking on the phone. Hate it. But it's not something I constantly do.

When I'm in company the phone gets switched off or put on silent and I discreetly check texts if -for whatever reason- whoever you're with, isn't actually in your presence.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Oh, don't start me on it! It drives me crazy when students put 2 or 3 of the things on the desk and off they go in the middle of lessons. And when the company is paying for these lessons, they know when they are, so you'd think they'd want the students to get the most out of them and leave them alone for the hour. In the college where I taught in Britain, it was a sackable offence to have your own on whilst teaching - and rightly so.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Yes, agree with all this. Liz - that thing about kids too.

Text I'm a bit more ambivalent as I do like google chat one-to-one. I've just been doing that now. And we use mild things like lol and :) and so on.

Skype I prefer not as it's a phone. Phones I really don't like.

CherryPie said...

It is all about manners. I always switch mine on to silent during meetings, dinner etc and switch it off at night. I always put it on pager setting when I am at work. I hate all the irritating ring tones going off whilst people are away from their desks!

And most of all I only give people the number if I know they won't abuse it.

I mostly only use it for texting anyway!

BobG said...

"One or two girls have recently made a joke about being able to Multi-task."

Very few people can actually multi-task. Usually what it means is that instead of focusing on one subject, they are doing several things all half-assed.

Colin Campbell said...

Very few people can actually multi-task. Usually what it means is that instead of focusing on one subject, they are doing several things all half-assed.

This is how I get through most work days. Funny.

Nunyaa said...

Disagree with bobg, just because you do more than one thing at once doesn't mean its a half assed job. Some are just better at it than others. Haha @Colin's comment

LordSomber said...

"Very few people can actually multi-task. Usually what it means is that instead of focusing on one subject, they are doing several things all half-assed."

I explain to people that the multi-tasking I do at work is like working in an extremely busy kitchen, working on more than one thing at a time.

With true multi-tasking, you can either do it right or not at all. No middle ground.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

No middle ground indeed, m'lord but who can do it well? Certainly not 90% of the people I see.

Me - I can only uni-task. :)

sally in norfolk said...

mobile phones... how did we ever manage with out them :-)

Nunyaa said...

Messenger pidgeons Lol.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Sally - we managed fabulously thank you.

Nunyaa - good suggestion. :)