A sea of text
Tags:
August 7, 2013
Tags:
August 7, 2013

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Texting is arguably the prime example of the power of the peso, that is why it has ingrained itself into the life of an average Filipino who cannot survive a day without sending a text containing a barrage of emoticons, or a text pleading for more load. Thus, this phenomenon has caused economic authorities to include load as a basis for inflation, along with the usual basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing.

When cell phones were first introduced in the late 90s in the Philippines, not many people would have imagined the staying power and influence of the aforementioned rectangular gadget. Fast forward to the present, a cell phone is considered an extension of a human being’s existence. That screen with little buttons and icons is a different world, a world that makes everything on Earth invisible. It really doesn’t matter where a person uses it, since it is what is inside that lit square that truly matters for that person. Even in theft prone areas like the LRT or bus stations, most people whip out their phones and type away, unaware of the danger lurking.

In fact, a US study showed that an average Filipino sends 600 texts messages in a month, making the Philippines the texting capital of the world. What does this tell about us Filipinos?

That the texting culture will, sooner or later, take over the Philippines.

 

The other side

Texting, in essence, has become a necessity for many Filipinos. Telecommunication companies, in turn, make profit out of their need for socialization by providing their plethora of promotional services. Prepaid users are not strangers to these promos, which are bundled with free texting and calling combinations for a certain duration. Nowadays, these promos also include internet service. Combo promos maintain the growth of the well known local telecoms, like Globe, Smart, and Sun Cellular by making these promos easy to procure and affordable to compel the masses to use. Postpaid users are not bothered by these promos, however, they are the target for the data plan bundles telecom companies offer. Living off of the sociable nature of Filipinos, plans also offer internet services along with the usual text and call.

 

A smart future?

Since the existence and swift proliferation of the miraculous Internet and social networks in the past decade, one would think that the texting culture would at least start to die down here in the Philippines. Just recently, we see woodland creatures orbit around the Central Plaza, apparently marketing a messaging application via the internet, no load or even phone numbers needed. Despite the ease of access, cute emoticons and creatures, will this medium be available or even sustainable for all Filipinos? Usefulness, availability and cheapness are the top three characteristics Filipinos look for in any kind of purchase, so unless the Philippine government provides WI-FI in every corner of the Philippines, texting will remain to be the best choice of Filipinos in communicating over calling or the internet. It is still good ol’ text that will save the day.

Although, with Filipino OFWs and their families, internet undoubtedly trounces texting by a million because of the existence of numerous sites and applications that are much cheaper and more available (at least for those with internet connection).

According to Dr. Edward Tory Higgins, a leading psychologist in social cognition, a person compares himself or herself to an ideal self (the comparison is sometimes unknowingly done by the person), this “ideal” self is entirely created by this person and may be totally different or just a version of him or her, this theory is called the Self-discrepancy theory. Simply put, it is what this person wants to be or appear to be. Texting provides a person permission to be someone else entirely, without anyone, even yourself, ever knowing. Frankly, it results in too much self-actualization wherein the said “ideal” self takes over the real self and “soul” of the person. Higgins says that when a person invests too much of his or her time and attention to this ideal self, emotional and psychological discrepancies will ensue within him or her.

Texting is addictive, there’s no argument against that. It is addictive because it can be an avenue of another version of the texter. What he or she cannot speak or do in real life gets to be voiced out to classmates, blockmates, orgmates or work colleagues without the hassle of being embarrassed or shy.

Communication is a natural thing. Whales sing songs with unique voices, wolves howl, ants use pheromones, and humans have language and logic to communicate. For humans though, texting is becoming a major mode of interpersonal communication and there is no sign of it slowing down. It is either we humans control it or it controls us.