I’ve seen people texting from a hot tub. (One false move and the smartphone is in the water!)
I’ve seen people texting while riding a bike…down a crowded, city street.
I’ve seen videos of people walking into fountains or statues or trees while texting.
Let’s admit it. Texting has a less than stellar reputation,, but it can be incredibly useful as well. Let’s talk about the benefits of texting and along the way we’ll also dispel some of the prevalent myths about texting…and texters.
Here are four questions with answers, for Boomers, to some of the most typically asked questions and assumptions about texting.
1. Why do I need to text someone? I already have email on my computer. Email and texts serve different functions, more complementary than the same. Unless you have a smartphone in your pocket, you won’t have access to email when you are out and about anyway. Texting gives you a more immediate connection with anyone you need to contact. A text message can notify you immediately when it arrives and you don’t have to open your email to search for a new message. Ease of use and access. And that is one of the biggest benefits of texting, being able to contact someone immediately and at any time.
Example: My wife texts me several more items for our grocery list as I am driving to the store. She doesn’t want to interrupt me with a phone call while I am driving. Or, I’m at the grocery store (hardware store, furniture store) and I can text a picture of an item to my wife at home to ensure that it is the exact item I am to buy.
2. Why do I want to to text when I can call someone on the phone? Of course, you can simply call someone and not worry about texting them, but what if they are not available? Do you leave a message, hoping they get it? How will you know if they received it or not? And there are many times when a person can receive a text when a phone call might be disruptive to the person on either end of the phone.
Example: I know my wife is in a meeting but I need to get a message to her immediately. I could call but she won’t pick up. I know that she will see a text message pop up on her phone and she will see it as I send it.
3. Isn’t texting for people without enough REAL things to do in life? Ok, lots of people think that texting is frivolous. (And for many it is.) People text about what they had for lunch today or how they are feeling at that very moment or when they will arrive at their destination! Is texting meant for people with poor planning skills? People who can’t plan ahead and need to be in constant contact? Let’s talk about intent. Boomers, unlike 15-year-olds, largely use texting for practical reasons like the following.
Example: I send approximately 30 texts a day. Yesterday I sent birthday greetings to son, Jeff; arranged a FaceTime conference call with son, Chris; asked my wife, Connie, to add dog food and dog treats to the grocery list; communicated with my daughter about a computer problem she was having, and; responded to another half dozen short inquiries about upcoming events. While not exactly “save the world” communications, they were each important within their own context. Most importantly, they allowed both sender and receiver to interact at a time and in a way that was convenient for both of them.
4. Won’t texting cost me a lot of money? Well, it depends. If you have an iPhone you can use iMessage and text for free with others on iPhones, iPads, or Mac computers. Other smartphones will have a cost involved depending on your phone and data plan. And frankly, it can range from not very much to way too much. Data plans are variable so talk to several providers before you sign on the dotted line. Here the decision is not so much to pay extra for texting (above your phone costs) but to consider the convenience of being able to connect with others, send information, and communicate with multiple people at once. For some of us, those benefits are worth it!
Example: My wife and I have busy lives with four grandchildren, a new puppy, two jobs, and many other responsibilities. We do not own a landline phone so the costs of having two smartphones and being able to call AND text at any time is priceless. We are able to text about changes in pick-up plans for the grandkids, appointments that have been rescheduled, emergencies, and occasionally just to say hello!
I’ve also seen people texting photos of July 4th fireworks instead of actually watching the fireworks display in front of them!
Why do Boomers text?
Why do you text?