Texting used to be a simple concept: a pure one to one communication that carried a message privately from person A to person B, but that of course has changed. Blame it on the we-centricity of web culture, a generation of crowd sourcers and the group mentality propagated by sites like Groupon and Living Social but the dynamic has shifted and our inboxes seem like they are becoming everyone else’s business.
Although I was hanging in NXNE last week, the news of GroupMe found its way into my newsfeed and stream more times than I was asked “Are you going to South by?” over the past month (insert eye roll here). For those of you who haven’t read about it, the concept is intuitive — you create “groups” in your phone based on an event or interest so you can communicate to everyone at once instead of replying and answering the same question multiple times. Just think about all of the occasions where you are trying to text, email and BBM with friends about plans and every time your phone “da-dings” or vibrates you become more textually frustrated because instead of a potential honey asking you to meet up you get a message from a friend asking for cross streets.
That being said, I had an ah-ha recently, realizing that the majority of texting that does happen today is some form of Group texting, not because it it supported by the GroupMe platform but because it is fueled by Group think. Here’s an example. I was out with a group of co-ed friends last week and one of our girlfriends got a text message from a guy and naturally read it out loud turning her inbox into a seemingly outward conversation. The guy on the other end asked a simple “do I get to see you tonight?” But instead of responding herself we all decided to weigh in and as she continued to chat back and forth with him their conversation was dictated by what we all had to say not what she really thought.
Among circles of guy friends I have, it is almost common practice to forward emails from girls and have rounds of conversations (and laughs) about what the response or “strategy” should be. I’ll even admit that I have been one to cut and paste hour long IM conversations with guys I have dated into emails to get a third party opinion from one of my friends. Is there strength in numbers or are we all clueless? Maybe the power of crowd sourcing our love lives takes some of the pressure off while giving us a platform to show our friends that we are desired by someone. Although I am not sure I have the answer in this post let it serve as a warning: from Groupon to GroupMe the way we think about our lives is often a result of Group think so think about that before you text someone to get your grope-on.
I’d also reconsider any baby talk. It just never sounds good when it’s read aloud.