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Text messages bring down the quality of conversation

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By Katie Saltz

I think I recently contracted a case of acute text message syndrome. My fingers ache, I ignore my surroundings to finish a message and I will have whole conversations without actually speaking.

Alright, you probably know this isn't a real disease. But it might as well be an epidemic sweeping America. People complain about teenagers texting all the time, but I actually received a text from my mother the other day.

The scary thing is that I am the one who pushed the concept of text message communication. I would send her messages and talk about its convenience until one day she took the time to type out a message, and send it to me. But this is the same mother who, in the middle of one of my hour-long text sessions, shouted at me, "Don't you ever communicate verbally?"

Verbally? Actually call my friends? Who does that anymore, I thought to myself. But as I continued to think, I realized my mom had a point.

I compared the number of times I texted to the number of actual phone calls I made.

The ratio was shocking to me.

Now to those who claim texting does not hurt your conversational abilities, I beg to differ. Real life doesn't give you time to re-write what you mean to say. Relying on texting can make phone calls seem awkward if you are caught off guard.

I texted a new friend the other day, just to say hello. He immediately called me, telling me he would rather talk than text.

I stuttered through our conversation. But after I hung up, I thought how nice it was to hear the tone of someone's voice, and not have to rely upon punctuation and capitalization to decipher the meaning of a statement. Hearing somebody laugh beats "lol" any day.

So when people are busy or in a crowded place, texting is still a useful tool. I will still text my friends (and parents) when it is suitable. But when possible, I think we should pick up the phone more, and give ourselves the pleasure of hearing another human being's voice rather than reading a screen.