Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | December 18, 2007

Mightier than the pen

You know the joys of working in this paper?
The fact that just before the former news service chief resigned to take a career option of a higher calling, she left me with something really valuable: The company’s password for the syndicated articles of the New York Times News Service.
A lot of times, when there’s a lull in the office (shhh… that’s like 90% of the time I’m at my desk), I browse the NYT’s news features, which is really, to me, the strength of the paper itself.
Better yet, a lot of papers in the US have aligned themselves with the NYT news service, giving this paper a lot of access to the top feature stories in the leading papers in America.
Because it’s Christmas time and a lot of people will be on a text-frenzy mode to come up with the most humorous, wittiest holiday greetings, I’d like to share with you this article, which I hope reminds you that there is more to communication than just the electronic version.
Read on.
And, Happy holidays. Although I wish I could get the chance to greet all you Smallville residents in person.   

   c. 2007 Los Angeles Daily News
   Hello, my name is Melissa Heckscher and I’ve been text-free for 15 days.
   It’s true. After writing my last column — which, in case you missed it, was basically one long rant against our increasing reliance on the Internet and text-messaging and any other electronic medium that allows us to communicate without ever actually seeing or hearing each other in person — I decided to take action.
   I called my cell phone provider and asked that my phone be blocked from sending or receiving text messages. The goal being, of course, to cut away a piece of that invisible umbilical cord that’s keeping us all perpetually connected to anyone and anything but ourselves.
   It’s a radical move, I know, and one that most text-addicted folks (in other words, all my friends) don’t really understand.
   But I couldn’t be happier.
   Why? Well, for one thing, it’s nice knowing I’m not going to be woken up at 2 in the morning by some drunk-texter who would never have the nerve to call me but is perfectly Casanova-esque in his text messages.
   Call me crazy, but I actually like listening to voicemail messages. People who don’t want to give up texting because they like seeing those flirty little notes from their significant others (i.e. “last nite was gr8,”) must not remember the joy of hearing a lover’s voice on their answering machines or voice mailboxes.
   Of course, my friends have their arguments.
   “What if you’re in a meeting and you can’t call?” asked my friend Jay, 40, a Hermosa Beach engineer.
   To which, I say: Since when do we need to talk to our friends during meetings?
   “What if it’s an emergency?” countered my 31-year-old Malibu friend, Dustin. “Like if you’re in trouble and you can’t call?”
   Hmm. You mean like if you’re being held hostage, Jack Bauer-style, inside some terrorist clubhouse where talking on the phone would foil your plan to save the world?
   Well, all right.
   But most emergencies aren’t text-friendly. I mean, can you see someone scrambling with his cell phone to type, “My house is on fire!” as he’s stopping-dropping-and-rolling his way out of a burning building?
   I don’t think so.
   “What if you just don’t feel like talking?” asked my 30-year-old Hollywood Hills friend, Dillon. “Sometimes I just don’t want to be bothered.”
   Really, is it so bad to turn off your cell phone and just … be alone?
   Interestingly enough, since I’ve been text-free, my life has been notably quieter.
   There are the on-the-fringe-friends whom I don’t really hear from anymore. Mostly, they’re the ones who send those mass “Happy holidays” texts to everyone on their contact lists; so it’s no big loss.
   There are the on-and-off-again boyfriends who use text as a minimal-effort way to keep the door open but who aren’t so dedicated to that door that they’d ever actually call. Again, no big loss.
   And there are the texters who have now become e-mailers. I call them; they send e-mail responses from their Internet-equipped cell phones. How’s that for a fear of confrontation?
   All you can do is feel bad. After all, a study done by the U.K.’s University of Plymouth found that people who preferred texting over calling were more likely to be “lonely” and “socially anxious” than their phone-calling counterparts. In addition, the study found that texters were “more likely to disclose their ‘real self’ through text than via face-to-face or voice call exchanges.”
   I suppose it’s understandable. After all, it’s easier to be cool in a text message. You can be flirty, to-the-point, confident — and nobody has to know that every single word was picked apart and analyzed long before you hit the “Send” button.
   Which is why, if you ask me, it isn’t real.
   Real is being nervous.
   Real is leaving long, rambling voicemail messages and worrying about whether you sounded smart enough or funny enough or “yourself” enough. It’s worrying whether you said too much or too little and whether he’ll call back. Soon.
   Real is realizing (after all that worrying) that no matter what you said — at least you said something.
   Out loud.



  1. Texting bridged the great divide between the “haves” (those with a gift for gab) and the “have nots” (those who are poor in social skills such as myself).

    The pen (or texting) might afford you the luxury of choosing your thoughts and words more carefully but it doesn’t mean it’s not real. Mahirap pa rin magpanggap sa pagsusulat. Lalo na’t walang laman ang kukote mo, haha!

  2. yeah. my grudge over texting really lies on the fact that we’ve come to replace live communication and interaction with it. Para bang, okay na di kayo magkita for a day basta magtext ka lang.

    conversations, over bottles of beer perhaps, are a few of the simple joys of life

  3. has nothing to do with the entry, really but… i came here to reply the message you left on my blog. uhm, i just want you to know that i know you. well, i mean, i don’t. but i’ve read your entry about ely buendia on inquirer a few months back and thought it was really cool. yup, that was way before i even had a wordpress account. not to sound stalkerish or anything but i can’t believe you dropped by my blog and even left a comment. my name’s kring, btw. thanks! and look, you’re on my blogroll now, too!

    ps: you write really well! keep it up!

  4. cois, you have a fan. harharhar. one of the many? :p

  5. kiko…you write really well…


    (feigning surprise and pretending to not know you actually work for a newspaper so writing skills are pretty much a dead giveaway)

    lol. yep. i’m an ass. yesiree.

  6. This is why am not fond of forwarded text messages. Apart from the fact na sayang lang sa load … it doesn’t do anything at all, really. I mean, I don’t think it makes friends feel closer to each another, diba. Parang space filler lang pag wala nang masabi sa tao, a convenient way of keeping in touch without being too serious. Hindi naman kelangan maging serious all the time but I’d rather people say what’s really on their mind than beat around the bush. Mas masaya pa rin mag-bonding over, as you said, beer. Haha.

  7. Kring: Thanks for the link-up! And welcome to Smallville. Drop by often, ayt? And keep, vloggin! You and Happy Slip do a really good job.

    Tin: Ako ang fan niyan. Galing magsulat. Kakainggit pa because I’ve been tinkering with the idea of vlogging. Hopefully, next year. Hehehehe

    Nie: Thanks, thanks… hahaha. My regards to Japan!

    Rissa: Like I told the UP Cum Laude, laughters are better heard, smiles are better seen, than read. :)

  8. But most emergencies aren’t text-friendly. I mean, can you see someone scrambling with his cell phone to type, “My house is on fire!” as he’s stopping-dropping-and-rolling his way out of a burning building?
    I don’t think so.

    ahahaaha tangenang yun natawa ako ah.


    i get you perfectly. ilagay sa new year’s resolutions ang talk to people more, text less. no?

  9. Yeah, katie. Here’s to a talk-more-text-less 08!

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