When I text something along the lines of “C U soon,” or perhaps the classic “ILY,” I’m abbreviating. I’m busy. I’m at the gym. I’m working. I’m in class. I have a busy schedule, and sometimes I don’t feel it necessary to type whole words with their respective punctuations. Sometimes I don’t feel like staring at my iPhone any longer than I have to. Utilizing common texting abbreviations makes life a little easier for me. I see it as a few extra seconds I can channel into a different activity, probably one of more concern. I’m an abbreviator, as I’m sure a lot of you are.
What I am NOT is lazy. This is a frequent comment I receive from individuals of generations older than my own — relatives, teachers, etc. I’ll be texting, scrolling through the good ‘ole Twitter feed, and then suddenly, I’m accused of being a contributor to the disgrace of my generation.
“You kids are addicted to your technology!” “Instant messaging and texting slang teaches improper grammar habits.” “No wonder no one knows how to hold a conversation anymore!” “Were you really too lazy to type out real words in that message?”
There is some truth behind my elders’ commentary. Addiction to technology is a thing. A majority of kids and teens spend about 75% of their waking lives attached to a screen of some sort.
The desire for face-t0-face communication is dwindling. According to the Huffington Post, statistics from the Pew Internet & American Life Project show many people with cell phones prefer texting over a phone call.
Sandra Folk of the Financial Post says sloppiness in writing can lead to other forms of sloppiness. She writes in an article, “A sentence like ‘txtin is gr8 & quik & easy 2 rite’ looks terrible, and insults our intelligence as literate people.”
You can’t argue with the stats, but I will defend the integrity of my literacy. Abbreviating texts does not make me lazy. Technology is not so prominent in my life that I’ve abandoned formal language. I’m not melted into my couch, alternating from my iPhone to my iPad and sending you these quick worded texts. I’m on the go, studying up for my plant bio exam before running to work. I’m a busy girl that doesn’t have time to send you a grammatically concise sentence 24/7. No one should take that personally.
Language required for school and work is also not so easily confused with texting langauge. Switching between the two is generally effortless. A couch and a classroom are quite distinct, and I’d like to think that most people would know to use “to” and “you” instead of “2” and ‘U” in an essay or professional e-mail. We are intelligent people. We need some more credit.
Texting abbreviations are a result of technological advancement, it’s true. Without smart phones, we would have no need to abbreviate. But aren’t most of us grateful for our technology? Sometimes receiving a “sloppier” looking message is the sacrifice we make for the sake of our gadgets.