I was reading the article “Text messaging - Is it the new email?” written by Rob Whent on The Windsor Star, and because I was expected to sign up to comment on the article, I decided that I would just respond here instead.
Whent discusses the idea that there are so many different ‘text messaging’ programs out there that he loses track of which messages are sent from where, and that email has lost its effectiveness because of all of the spam. He also brings up the fact that his son uses text messaging more than email: while these may be observations, I disagree that text messaging could ever replace email.
There is a huge difference in my mind between text messaging and emailing. I will agree and say that, like Whent’s son, I never use email for my friends, because email is more of a professional medium for school or work. I would never send a text message to one of my professors, that’ involves knowing their personal phone number and that’s just weird. In an email, I would expect to see grammatically correct paragraphs, while with a SMS or MMS text message I see run-ons and autocorrect mishaps.
Emails also are so much more than a simple message. Emails can contain videos, links, files – while text messages are just a quick exchange of words. I find it hard to see text messages replacing email because text messaging is simply not capable of exchanging all of that so easily. I need a computer if I want to respond to a work email, just because of all of the other attachments that need to be included.
The author of the article also addresses the various other programs he uses, such as instant messaging systems. I would just like to take a quick note to point out that instant messaging is also different from text messaging. While closer to email, instant messaging is now capable of sending documents similar to emails, but at a seemingly quicker rate because both parties tend to be present while instant messaging. Instant messaging anticipates a quicker response, while emails are usually expected to be read and responded to later. I still see text messaging as strictly that: text. I do not expect plain text to replace the capabilities of emails anytime soon.
This article also states “ email continues to lose its effectiveness as a communication tool”, which I completely disagree with. A tool’s effectiveness is controlled by its user. It depends on the individual to make its use efficient. In conclusion, I would like to address the author’s biggest concerns with email, and how to fix those issues:
- “I get over 250 spam emails every day and constantly have to check my junk folder for emails that may have been sent there accidently. ” Don’t sign up for so many email subscriptions! Email addresses are so easy to create these days – I suggest creating separate emails for personal life and work life. I have an email that I use for work correspondence, to make sure I do not miss any messages from my boss or from clients. Then, I have a personal email for my blog notifications, newsletters, and coupons. I personally unsubscribe from an email list the second I get unwanted emails; if one stays on top of their emails, they do not need to worry about continuous spam in the future. Or, get one email for work, one email for friends and family, and another email for subscriptions. You won’t get spam if you don’t send your email out to random websites!
- “My son is 19 and very rarely uses email – he and his friends all text each other.” I’m 18, and I use email all the time. I will admit using texting for friends, but I have work and school that I use my email for. Just because you have a phone does not mean you should give up your email address. Email addresses are still important to have, even if rarely used for personal reasons. Your son isn’t going to be texted his job offers.
- “[texts are] very difficult to organize, store and retrieve messages that are important or worth saving” Again, I would not send my important messages through text anyway, as that usually appears unprofessional. It is similar to the idea of getting a promise in writing. If you want an agreement to be kept, you have to have it written. If you want your messages to be stored, then you should send them through email. I don’t want all of my text messages to be saved. While I love my friends, I’m not going to read our back-and-forth smiley faces in the future.
- “ I have to search through these various systems trying to find a message that I know I sent to someone” Keeping all work related communication through email, all friend related conversation through Skype, and all family notices in text messages can help organize that. Not everyone is going to register for a ThisInstantMessanger account, so it is better to stick to the generic tools and only use a particular tool for a particular group of people. This way, in your mind you know where to look first.
As an 18 year old university student, I do not see what the big deal is. Text messaging and emailing are completely different; and text messaging will most certainly not replace email anytime soon.
Emailing on your phone instead of your computer? Well, that is another post.