It can scarcely be denied that one of the most devastatingly effective pieces of commercial technology has had a ridiculous amount of impact on our lives. The mobile phone is less a tool and more a way of life for most people in the western world. How many of us can honestly say that they haven't felt a phantom vibration in the leg or started walking to a lecture only to realise that you have forgotten your mobile and had to return out of sheer necessity. Its quite scary when you think about it like that! Our dependance on this little brick has grown and grown so much so that we feel uncomfortable without it being constantly in our pocket.
This begs the question - why? What ever happened to talking to people face to face? Sadly this isn't the question that I would like to attempt to discuss. But is it possible that text messaging is the key to understanding the next step in human evolution? When then first text was sent in the December of 1992 it read "Merry Christmas". Since that first, pioneering piece of communication came about there has been a ridiculous increase in the amount of people texting. According to Wikipedia (yeah I know...) in the year 2000, 17 billion texts were sent. By 2004 that number had risen dramatically to 500 billion annually.
We read every year around the national exam season about idiotic GCSE students who write their answers in so called 'text speak' as opposed to 'correct English'. Are these the same students that have shown an annual increase in the number of passes for the last 25 years? Are these the same people that are potentially sitting around us in our lectures and seminars at RHUL?
We have been constantly told that evolution is the natural process of development over time. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck proposed that organisms are transformed by their efforts to respond to a demand for their environment. If this is the case then humans are economical creatures, creatures that have evolved to find the easiest and less strenuous way to do everything. We invented the wheel to move with less effort and more speed, we developed big toes to increase our balance and expend less calories on movement. We are ultimately lazy bastards!
Therefore does it not follow that if we are increasingly reducing the language that we know and love to a more simplified version that it could be the fabled 'next step'? Helen Petrie, a professor of human-computer interaction at the University of York once said that “we have more information to deal with, and we pay less attention to particular bits of information, so it may appear attention spans are shorter.” She also notes that the brevity of text messaging is spreading to e-mails and other communication, rewriting English with simpler spelling in the process.
Now there will always be those traditionalists amongst us that view any change in the popular usage of the English language as heretical, but if it makes society more efficient with no detrimental effect to general levels of intelligence then who are we to stand in the way of evolution! Is the pride in our methods of written and spoken communication that important? If so, why? Now I'm not entirely convinced tbh, but when ppl start to lol in real life you just have 2 hold up ur arms and say "Meh!"
TTYL, & have a gr8 day!
p.s. for those sticklers that have trouble deciphering txt msgs y not check out http://www.transl8it.com.