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Are Chat and Texting Useful Forms of Communication?

Updated on June 12, 2012

Gurrrrrrrll how r u? =) FML that sux. 2nite? LOL! ttyl.

Chat and texting…new forms of communication that have changed the way we interact and manage our human social relations. Email already changed our expectations for staying in touch and the speediness of people’s responses. Now many people have qualms about chat and texting. Are we expecting things to come to us too fast? Isn’t the vocabulary sub par? Are we forgetting how to interact with people face to face? Is our children learning?

My argument would be no, that chat and texting fill a whole new niche in social networking, with many benefits. The following is an overview of the oft under-appreciated services that chat and texting provide us.

It Facilitates Social Interactions (esp. Romantic)

Chatting and texting lets you say things you might not say otherwise. People gain bravery behind the screen. For example, flirting becomes much more doable over chat and texting for when one faces shyness issues.

Ginny: Hey thx sooooo much for the card!

Harry: My pleasure. Hope u had a good bday?

Ginny: It was gr8t, wish u coulda been there. When can we hang?

Harry: U tell me, always game to see ur pretty face =)

Ginny: Awwwwww…

Dude...I got your text.
Dude...I got your text. | Source

Enables more Face-to-Face Time

But are we forgetting how to interact in person? No. I believe that chat and texting is a venue for conversations and interactions that never would have happened in person. In fact, it is a gateway to creating more face time with people, as texting is often used to plan a get-together.

Tara: Hey, what u up to?

Grant: Not much, you wanna do something?

Tara: Yeah, let’s hit the beach. Vball rematch.

Grant: Lol. c u in 10!

More Time to Think Twice

Chatting and texting gives you time to really craft what you want to say (in contrast to a phone or face to face conversation), and reconsider before you hit send. Some people might disagree, citing numerous times they or a “friend” have regretted a text they sent.

Ever REALLY regret a text or chat you sent...?
Ever REALLY regret a text or chat you sent...? | Source

Also, another issue with crafting your reply on gchat is that your communicant can see you in the process of thinking. It will say “(Your Name) is typing,” as you write and before you hit enter. This is usually a good thing, because it eases anxiety that the other person didn’t see your message and that a response is coming shortly. But…it also means the other person knows when you’ve decided to delete your comment entirely and refrain from saying anything.

Rose is typing….

Jack: Um, hit enter T.

Rose: Oh, nm.

Jack: What were u gonna say??


Maintain Your Social Network

Like Facebook, chat and texting allows you to stay in touch with people you might not otherwise. Some are skeptical of whether this is worthwhile. I say if you enjoy it, then it is! By not being as big of an investment as a phone call or email, you’re freed to just exchange a few casual words with people.

Mark: Hey Cleo babe, what's up?

Cleo: Omg, it's sooooo hot over here. I'm dying. What u been up to?

Mark: Bummer. Job searching.

Share Experiences in the Moment

It allows you to share life with close friends and loved ones in the moment. When something awesome happens and you want to share it with a close friend, you can do so right then. For friends and family far away, this is actually more natural of a social interaction than the long reports on our lives that we write in letters and emails. Texting or chatting, you get that person in the moment.

Jane: Hey mom! I got an A on the bio exam.

Mom: Congratulations honey! So proud of you. What was it about?

Jane: Primates.

Multitasking and Natural Silence

It's not an issue if you can't give your chat or texting interactions your full attention! The other day I was gchatting with a friend while texting with my mom while making dinner and buying a plane ticket. Also, usually I panic when there’s too much silence during a phone call and you need to invent things to say. Chat allows the natural silence to emerge.And then you can multitask in between.

Paula: Ever have sour cream pie?

Sent at 6:58 pm on Tuesday.

Paula: Mmmmm, so good.

Sent at 7:24 pm on Tuesday.

Guy: Hey Paula, sry, just out grilling. That sounds delish.


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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Love your assessment, Tara! I've been arguing all of these points- though the natural silence one had not yet occurred to me. Yet another reason why these formats can be quite convenient! Awesome Hub.

    • Bedbugabscond profile image

      Melody Trent 5 years ago from United States

      I like that texting gives me more time to think about what I am going to say. I know a lot of people complain about internet chat and texting, but they are here to stay. They are impacting social development and interaction, so I think people should learn how to use them for the betterment of their life.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 5 years ago from Pasadena CA

      Well . . . well . . . hmmm. I have to say, your discussion points are good. This comment section is a great case in point. I've also benefited a lot from chatting with my nieces and nephews on FB, when normally we would seldom have talked.

      However, it can totally screw up relationships at work, especially when chatting and email REPLACE face to face and even phone communication. Yep, it happened with me. I ended up feeling so frustrated that I left the company, thinking they wanted me gone anyway. They didn't. Oh well.