Can You Hear Me Now?

Submitted By Coolcwit
Words: 1989
Pages: 8

“Can You Hear Me Now?” Cell phones have increasingly become a prevalent fixture in most Americans lives. Everyone from their grandmother to their young niece seem to have their cellphones with their fingers quickly texting a vital message, and obviously to someone who is anxiously waiting to receive it. It wasn’t too long ago that cell phones were rare, and only the top professionals carried them. With the ever expanding dialog that comes from the spreading ownership of cell phones, one might wonder how Americans communicated before text messaging became so popular. In review of this question, one could very easily bring a ton of social implications to light; in particular, human beings rely on a number of verbal and visual clues when engaged in communication. The inflection in the voice and the “metacomunicational” cues that cannot be sent via text message (Wood 29). Additionally, body language is a key part of how humans communicate, send and receive messages. Clearly, this critical part of communication is lost when the message is sent through an electronic device. One could certainly argue that text messaging has dramatically increased the speed at which humans are able to communicate, firing off messages at the speed of light, and allowing individuals to stay in touch at will. The arrival of the cell phone and people’s increased reliance on text messaging does however come with its flaws. Particularly, the loss of personal interaction, audio cues, and body language seriously weakens the quality and value of communication resulting from this method. In order to effectively emphasize this point, a thorough examination of the social implications associated with text messaging becomes necessary. Despite the many benefits in the lives of those who actively use cell phones and text messaging, the fact remains that there are profound social issues essential in their use, including texting while driving, inhibited social development, and relationship building. Many remember the early days of cell phones, when the antiquated device could be summed up as holding something the size of a loaf of bread to your face to speak. Amazingly, the first text message ever sent was in December 1992 to one of these same enormous phones. It is important to note that the recipient of this first text message did not have the capability of sending a reply because those first enormous cell phones had no way to enter a text. As the cell phone evolved, so too did the ability to send text messages. One short year after the first text message was sent, notable cell phone producer, Nokia introduced the first cell phone with messaging capability, but coverage was so limited at the time that messages could only be transmitted between two individuals within the same network. Interestingly, text messaging remained relatively a European phenomenon throughout the 1990’s as technology continued to advance. It was not until the beginning of the new millennium that texting took hold in the United States. By 2002 SMS text message really began to take off as the volume of messages being sent reached 250 billion that year. Continued advancements in technology, including the advent of the QWERTY keyboard, and the use of text messaging in United States Presidential campaigns led to use of SMS reaching a fevered pitch. By 2010, industry professionals estimated that 200,000 text messages were being sent every minute. This piece of information effectively illustrates just how dependent Americans have become on text messaging as a form of communication. Importantly, texting has not simply remained a tool for enabling more effective or efficient business practices. SMS has replaced a great deal of social interaction for many individuals, whether personal or professional. As a result, the increasing reliance on text messaging as a form of communication has had far reaching social implications. Despite all of the apparent extraordinary benefits