ANDREW HOLOTA: Reach out and don’t touch someone

It seems there is no end to the nuances of social networking.

The latest revelation to blossom upon my awareness involves the phenomenon of texting, or more to the point, the etiquette of same.

Somehow, an informal discussion of which I was part had come around to a comparison of emailing versus texting – specifically, students using either when communicating with teachers.

Sending someone a text is the same as shooting off an email, I opined, and was sharply corrected.

“No way! Texting is personal!”

Stunned, was I.



Personal? How could an arrangement of letters sent by one electronic device to another digital gizmo be remotely “personal?”

And what makes texting any more humanly intimate than emailing, which involves precisely the same process?

Is it because the message is received on one’s phone, or iTouch, or NoTouch, or YouTouchMePlease … whatever those things are called?

Oh yes, there’s intimacy for you.


(Which roughly translates into, how are you doing, what are you doing right now, and are we having fun yet?”

My personal favourite is PUTDPACM. Pick Up The Damn Phone And Call Me!

Somehow I don’t get the warm and fuzzies from acronyms.

And even spelled out, words don’t seem to have the same appeal as the tone and timber of the spoken word, even if it’s over the phone.

I don’t get that part, either. Why do people text, instead of call? I mean, they’re texting on a phone, for crying out loud!

I have virtual cranial bleeding when I watch my teen daughter and her friends whacking away at their keyboards, sending out a stream of emails and texts to other friends.

Why don’t you just call these individuals, and get it over with?

No, belay that. Phone calls involving two or more young female teens very rapidly erodes into non-stop giggling, ranging from staccato bursts to all-out hysteria. No wonder they have to text. It’s hard to communicate complex thoughts via hyena-like braying. Then it’s actually more efficient just to type LOL (laugh out loud).

Actually, there does some to be some sort of digital communication hierarchy in existence. My daughter’s bashful “boyfriend” – oh, don’t get me started – used email to ask her to date him. That was the formal approach. After she agreed, the “relationship” – really, just drop it, OK? – advanced to texting.

Now, she jumps like an electrocuted bunny every time her iPod goes “bing!”

Not to worry though, folks. Dating at the 13-year-old level – at least in my rulebook – involves eye contact, and that’s pretty much it. My daughter calls it “sort of undating.” I have no clue what that means, but it sounds right.

However, back to texting.

I suppose it was inevitable that with all of this technology, which no longer requires human beings to actually speak to each other, some sort of structure had to be developed to bring a range of social interaction into the process.

Y’know what I find really ironic, though? If texting is more intimate than emailing, why is one of the most popular devices used for the purpose, called an iPod Touch?

It really should be called the iPod Touchless.