Every time I turn on my computer, I hear that Monty Python song about tinned meat, and it’s not just the piles of unsolicited ads (“Lower your mortgage”, “You deserve sexual pleasure!”, “Money for you, Please to send account numbering to Nigeria bank”). I’ve also got accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and multiple blogging sites, and if I were to keep up with every message I get on every one of them, I wouldn’t have time to work, write my own blog, or deal with the kids who inspire the blog, much less eat or sleep.
So I was astounded to read an article in today’s paper about texting, which included the statistic that average teens send 2,000 texts a month and a case study of one 14-year-old girl whose parents cut her off when she hit 15,000 a month, and confiscated her phone until she promised to keep it under 5,000. (That's not a typo.) Even assuming that the girl’s texting skills are infinitely superior to mine (given that I take 20 minutes to send a single text, so I don't get much practice), those numbers are still both disgusting and impressive – disgusting because to rack up 500 messages a day, she had to be texting in class, at meals, and in her sleep; and impressive because she stayed so incredibly caught up with her messages.
I have no plans to start texting on a regular basis, TYVM, and I’m learning to delete the emails with cute cartoons of kittens, or touting ‘Free Shipping’ from stores I don’t patronize. And frankly, I don’t need to respond every time someone on Facebook lets me know she took the ‘What Musical Theater Leading Lady Are You?’ quiz. But I do want to get better at catching up with business emails, networking sites, and connecting with the old friends I’ve rediscovered on Facebook - you know, the point of all this internet access, right?
I imagine the 5,000-a-month whiz doesn’t fret over her piled-up inbox, she just responds quickly and concisely to the messages she feels are important enough, so that’s the one part of her story I do want to emulate. (The other good part of her story is that I was starting to get angry at my 15-year-old for exceeding his prepaid text limit of 200 – he looks really good by comparison, and now he’s won his argument that he really is saner about it than most teens.)
And I will no longer feel guilty deleting chain emails ( “Add your name to the panty-of-the-month club” – which I didn’t make up, even though it sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit . . . )