Yeah, but, um, weren't they all kind of right? With each piece of technology, communications or otherwise, you get benefits and risks. How each piece of technology above was used depended on the individual and also the society in which it was used. The telegraph was unlikely to shortchange communication clarity because of how it was used -- to communicate long distance quickly. And it cost. So the risk of an entire society going illiterate off of telegraphing, pretty darned slim. And there was no other way to rapidly communicate over distances, so the benefits were enormous. But I remember when, for example, answering machines first came out. The first blush, many people would not buy them. They thought they were rude. Most folks will laugh at that today. But the fact is, you lose something when you leave a message for someone rather than talking to that person face to face. Now, just like leaving a note on someone's door, if it's done for practical reasons occasionally, that's useful. But if you go from communicating with your next door neighbor face to face every morning at the bus stop to communicating with post-its on each others' doors once a day you have lost something. Now, here's where it gets tough. A lot of times what you have lost is a burden -- because the neighbor can be a pain in the rump. Hoorah! But if you make a habit of truncating communication with people who are difficult, you're going to wind up having stilted non-conversations with almost everybody. Because we're all royal PITAs, admit it! Texting is useful because it allows for the helpful part of human communication while cutting out the messy part. And that's exactly why it's hazardous. Particularly for our children, who potentially could grow up believing a relationship they have with someone on an online forum, for example, is the same as that with a person in their classroom. Or, worse, that it's better. There's a reason mom and dad rolled their eyes at long phone calls or limited them. Because when calling supplemented in-the-room interaction it was a boon, when it substituted for it, it was damaging. My friends, I talk to them a lot. On the phone. But it's not the same as being there in person, and when I'm with them in person I'm not JUST talking. I'm not even JUST listening. I'm washing dishes with them, or eating across the table from them, or watching them interact with their kids, or seeing the look on their faces that says "that lady needs a little extra attention right now". I know, as an adult, talking is not enough, and talking on the phone is not nearly enough. And kids are at risk of missing that if they are not guided. So, can texting be a good thing? Well, sure. I'm not mad at texting, that would be like being mad at a hammer. But I really genuinely see bad coming from many of the uses of it. As an example, I see a lot of folks saying they have more contact with family because of texting. That's good. But, and I can't say it's true of any one here, it's just a general idea, but often when we think we've got a need "covered" one way we neglect doing it any other way. It's why I hate the "eat dinner together" campaign, because it seems to me a nation that is taught that the family must come together once a day and eat one meal is being given an extraordinarily low definition of what family means. I think it has an opposing effect, and the mom who has a creeping uneasiness that her family is losing its coherence can shake it off with, "Hey! We eat together every night just like NBC says to do!" So with texting. I know that when email came out, we pushed grandparents onto it so that we could stay in better touch. And I do get a lot of emails from my mom. They are "informing you" sorts of emails -- very little to respond to. My MIL, hardly any emails ever. And maybe it's a coincidence, but now we live near her and see her dozens of times a year, but my mom I see once or twice a year if I'm lucky. Is email better than nothing? Sure. Did email help me reconcile myself a little too much to that nothing? Maybe.