By Maria Grund ’14

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To respond or not to respond? That is the question. You know they’ve seen your messages (the read receipts prove it) yet still nothing. Do you send another text, or will that seem annoying? Maybe that pesky period you used caused this debacle. Did that make you seem angry or upset? These are the questions that haunt us as we try to navigate the murky waters of cellular communication.

As teenagers, just about all of us use technology– especially our smart phones– almost constantly. A text here, a post there, and everywhere a Twitter update. With the ability to constantly communicate comes the creation of some unwritten rules. For example, a period at the end of a text means you’re mad despite its proper usage in English class. Or texting someone too many times in a row means you’re clingy and probably annoying the other person (hence the lack of a response). Selfies on Sunday are a one post ordeal– unless you’re trying to lose followers, in which case just keep those mirror pictures coming!

Despite the large array of social media sites available to the current generation, texting seems to cause the most discrepancies. This is mostly because teens read too deep into meaningless conversations and refuse to actually talk on their phones. How many times have you sent or received a text that was more fit for a Charles Dickens novel than a cell phone? When you receive these lengthy updates on whatever is going on in the world, details tend to be confused and often times misinterpreted due to autocorrect or sloppy finger-touchscreen coordination. In these scenarios, save everyone the hassle and just pick up the phone– isn’t that what it was originally created for anyway? Besides, isn’t it against the “rules” to send obscenely long text messages?

With all these social communication restrictions someone is bound to break them, resulting in more problems. I suspect the invention of the read receipt was created just to start drama. Want to let someone know you’re mad? Turn on your read receipts and then don’t respond. That will show them. Or don’t wish them a happy birthday on Facebook. That’s a truly deep technological burn.

When did wishing your friends a happy birthday turn into such a precise art? Who really cares about the difference between two exclamation points and one? Are the emoji police going to come and arrest me for the abuse of smiley faces? The answer is no. Proper grammar and punctuation of a text message should not signal that you are mad (if it does, I’m sure my teachers must hate me). So everyone should just loosen up a bit with all these unspoken rules of technology because I think if we did, life would be much simpler.

Image By Sheridan Hendrix