Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rethinking Texting

In an earlier posting, located here, I wrote about my reservations concerning texting.  After having thought about the matter further, I have some additional thoughts about the matter I thought I would share.

Twitter, much like texting, limits you to less than 140 characters or so.  If you have an important message to convey, this forces you to focus intensely and be as frugal as possible with your words.  This can mean cutting through the nonsense of ordinary conversation and getting right to the point.  During a busy workday, sometimes a text can save the receiver hours of small talk which is a necessary part of regular human interaction.  While these niceties make for the grease of human social relations, sometimes they are simply too expensive in terms of time.  For example, if I am readying for a court appearance, a text can save me several minutes worth of conversation.  Throughout a workday, this can add up, particularly when I am crunched for time.

Of course, not all messages are appropriate for text messaging.  Many are not.  This is the benefit of email.  Email eliminates the problem of synchronity--namely, you being ready to talk at the same time the other person happens to be calling.  If you don't have a secretary or assistant, this may be quite a bit of the time.  I actually prefer email when dealing with client matters because it is easier for me to remember discussions and detailed facts.  As far as productivity, email is much more efficient for me than discussing something on the telephone.  Plus, I can send document attachments, videos, and other files through email.  Email, assuming it is encrypted, is much more safe than discussing personal information over a cellular phone.  Cellular phones which are not encrypted are unsafe and easily hacked.  Interestingly, Linus Torvalds, the co-developer of the GNU/Linux kernel, does most of his complicated software development and task management through email.  It is my understanding that Microsoft also heavily uses email to coordinate their massive operating system development projects.  This sort of information is highly detailed, complex, and demanding--just like law work.

Email also saves my clients money if they are being billed on an hourly basis.  I can read very quickly, but I can only listen to a legal problem as fast as the person can tell me the problem.  Oftentimes, the client doesn't know which facts are legally important and which are not.  Therefore, they can sometimes get lost on a tangent.  These tangents take awhile to correct, which uses up more time.  With email, I can ask for specific facts and the client can give me specific answers without the increased risk of getting lost on tangents.  And, as Martha Stewart would say, "That's a good thing."

Texting is sort of like a modern haiku--with much less art.  It may be the fast food of literature, but sometimes a Nacho Supreme just hits the spot.

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