The other day I was stood in the kitchen firing off numerous text messages. My wife wanted me to do something else but I had to politely ask her not to interrupt as I was busy “running the household.”
To the untrained eye, it may well have looked like I was simply firing off jokey text messages to my brothers or sending tweets to people I’ve never met. That couldn’t have been further from the truth: I really was managing the household’s affairs and I was doing it via SMS.
I got thinking about this and realised that staggering amounts of family business are organised this way. A quick check of my text messages reveals that, over the past few days, I have:
- Organised a play date
- Made numerous attempts to get a central heating engineer to visit the house
- Organised for a childminder to look after the kids on two occasions
- Made arrangements for my eldest daughter to do a show and tell at school
- Helped arrange a collection for the PTA and
- Organised a couple of social engagements around Christmas.
I think it’s amazing how we’ve slipped into this SMS-driven world. I am a massive advocate of face to face communication.
Yes, okay, that might sound a bit odd coming from a blogger who spends huge amounts of time on social media. Then again, I think that’s partly why I prefer dealing with people personally: I know I spend a lot of time online so actively want to speak to humans.
Then again, when I need to contact someone for something straightforward, I don’t necessarily need or want to have a lengthy conversation. A text message suits me just fine. If I am doing something like arranging dates for the kids to see a childminder, it’s useful if we all have the details written down for reference.
I find it amusing how quickly we’ve all become reliant on text messages. About 10 years ago, you could have counted the number of text messages I had sent on the fingers of one hand.
I then went through a relationship break up and found myself dating again after 10 years of coupledom. I entered a dating scene that had completely changed since the mid nineties. Through trial and error, I very quickly learned that you weren’t supposed to call someone the day after a date.
Oh no, this was too intrusive. You were meant to send a text.
From that point on I learned to love the text message. Several years later I am remarried and organising all manner of events using my phone to send text messages and I am staggered at exactly what I organise and the complexity of the tasks involved.
Before you say a word, yes I have tried WhatsApp. I fear the notifications drove me slightly crazy and so I prefer the humble SMS, although Facebook Groups has proved useful from time to time.
I may prefer face to face communication, but I am resigned to the fact the text message is a part of my life and it will become a bigger part of my life. After all, one day my daughters will have smart phones of their own.
How much time do you spend dealing with text messages? Is your household run via SMS? I know I’m alone in spending huge amounts of time staring at my mobile phone.