Luckily, we don’t have to rely on pigeons and postmen anymore. People used to admire e-mail, but now they communicate mainly through the cell phones (particularly TEXTING) zipped up in their pockets. It’s a great way to stay in touch with people no matter where you are and what you are doing. Even I text or leave a message when I have time, friends text back when they have time. It is so much easier than having to be free at the same time! Undoubtedly, cell phones have made communication easy and feasible.
‘TEXTING’ has emerged as a ‘social adaptation’ in Pakistani society. It might be an overwhelming surprise for many of you, that Pakistanis send 1.2 billion texts every single day. Lahore being the capital city of the most densely populated province of Pakistan (i.e Punjab), surely inhabits a substantial amount of ‘texters’ (the latest civilized term being used for ‘SMS freaks’). Among them, the youth is in the front row when it comes to ‘texting’. Lahori teens are addicted to this technological advancement and comfort, while their parents tag it as a ‘disease’. Most of you might be familiar with labels like ‘texting in the class’ or ‘back bench texters’. With the existing mobile service you can log on to your facebook account, view the profiles of some of your young, energetic friends and you will definitely find ‘texting’ under the option of interests and activities. So, it’s a ‘hobby’ in the youth circle – thanks to the monthly, weekly and fortnightly SMS packages. Don’t forget what made your grammar that weird – u shud nt use ‘slang’. Yes! –the reason you might end up deteriorating your writing skills is the excessive use of short words, texting jargons and slang.
What about ‘Drvng whl txtng’? Perhaps the only thing more popular than cell phones, is the argument about whether their usage distracts drivers. Substantial research demonstrates that texting while driving is dangerous. The problem isn’t that your hands are not on the steering wheel. It’s that your mind isn’t on the road. Owing to Lahore’s terrible traffic and jam-packed roads it’s our social responsibility that we should avoid unnecessary ‘texting’ while we are on the road.
However, this evolution in the communication world has its own benefits which are innumerable. Doctors are managing their appointments through the SMS service. Teachers are finalizing the syllabus for the upcoming examinations and scheduling their lectures through messages. Your barbers and home maintainers are also a text away! Donations for flood victims and hospitals are still sent through messages that were charged (Rs. 10 per SMS). This mode of communication is more popular in Lahore due to the high literacy rate of this zealous city. Constructive and productive use of ‘texting’ can extend the sphere of its positive impacts on the society. It shouldn’t be ignored as it contributes to the literary and social needs of people belonging to all age groups. Why can’t libraries send notices of new books to the readers via SMS? Homework/Assignment support and reminders can be sent to students if Universities and Schools can manage to establish an ‘SMS network’.
With its unprecedented popularity and penetration into our lives- ‘texting’ surely has propelled so many Lahoris to say: “I’m just a text away…”
Originally published in Phone World Magazine March 2012.
This post is also available on the website of Phone World Magazine