2B? Nt2B? What was the question?
In another sign that the world as we know it is ending, a British mobile phone service is planning to condense classic works of literature into ‘text-speak’ claiming that it would be a big help to students. Im sure it will be. We had Cliff’s Notes, they have Nokia. But what I find interesting is that a whole new language managed to emerge right from under our very noses. Oh, I haven’t been living under a rock; I know about text-speak. Ive seen blog pages and Friendster pages written entirely in text-speak. What I never realized is the level of sophistication it has managed to gain ever since I got my first ‘Gud am ü’ message. (To which I replied, ‘Damn you too, you puwet.’)
For instance, check out this classic piece of literature in text-speak:
Jtries2kilRbtR's savd ByShipDat c's emergncySmoke.
Which brings us to text-speak. It seems that people who have meaningful conversations using this language have to have by necessity an empathy with each other, and with the cultural context theyre living in. The words themselves don't carry the meaning they wish to convey. You have to supply that yourself, and if youre not empathetic, if youre a words-as-building-blocks-for-logic person, you won't get it. You won't see the connections. Ive blogged about this difficulty once, claiming that text-speak isnt a medium for any meaningful conversation, but perhaps Im just not the kind of person to use it. Im a fuddy-duddy, and Im out of touch with the prevailing zeitgeist. Other people seem to be doing fine. In a way, a weeding out is beginning. Evolution is selecting people who 'get it' for survival. With the greater use of the internet and SMS to get dates, only those who can use it well, those who can find meaning despite the meaning-impoverished text messages, have a greater chance of getting laid.