Text Speak (txt spk)

I don’t understand text speak, or “txt spk” as the hip and trendy people call it.

It takes me longer to read a “txt” text than it does a real English one. Initially it looks like quite a simple method in that you seem to just omit vowels, but it isn’t; the rules extend to adding numbers and abbreviating things. It seems more trouble than it is worth.

My colleague recently got a new mobile. One dinner time she sent a text to her son. The text said “don’t 4get the milk” (translated, for typically un-hip people like me, as “Don’t forget the milk”) Earlier on that day, before leaving her house, she had noticed that the milk supply was low, and had asked her son to buy some on his way home. It was a reminder for him to buy milk. She had already asked him to get some verbally, and the text was just a reminder.

That evening when he arrived home, he came without milk. She pointed out that she had asked him in the morning AND sent a reminder text at midday, so was quite grumpy about it. Confused, he pointed out that she had asked him NOT to get milk and showed her the text he had received. It said “don’t get the milk”

In trying to type 4get she had pressed the number 4 to start, but mustn’t have left a long enough pause for it to move onto the next character, so as she had kept pressing the “4” had moved on to become the “g” instead. This problem wouldn’t have happened if she’d have typed “forget” in full.

That evening, they all sat around, sad, upset and milkless. Probably.

I have tried to adapt to the 21st century and use txt spk in my texts, but I can’t do it. I’m that used to using full, correct English that in order to type a txt I have to first type out a sentence in full, then go back and edit out the letters that seem to be classed as erroneous. Paradoxically, it takes me longer to write less.

In the same way, when I receive a “txt” I have to unscramble it by reading in the vowels so it makes sense, meaning the shorter and more abbreviated the message, the longer it will take me to translate it.

“Hi there. What are you up to today?” becomes “Hi. Wot u doin 2day?” It may be shorter, but it is more time consuming for me to read.

Texting is also THE most expensive form of data transfer on earth today.

When you text someone you incur a charge of roughly 12p. This applies whether you text a single letter or the full amount of characters.

In a standard text you’re limited, I believe, to 140 characters. 140 characters equates to 140 bytes in computer terms. One megabyte (1,048,576 bytes) of texts therefore equates to 7490 text messages, which in turn equates to a total cost of £898.80 per meg.

Sending a text is rediculously expensive! It is by FAR the most expensive method of transfering data on EARTH. If you’re paying that much, why wouldn’t you WANT to fill each text with as many characters as possible just to get your money’s worth?!?

Stop asking people “r u ok?” and start asking them “How the devil are you, my good friend? I do hope you’re keeping well. haven’t spoken to you for ages and thought we could catch up some time” There you go! Spot on 140 characters, making the most of the extortionate text rate that most providers charge.

The less words you send the less value for money texts are, and the less chance I will be able to read them.

4 thoughts on “Text Speak (txt spk)

  1. Here is a classic received by my daughter from a friend.

    “hey how are u and the bby and ya bf i ant seen u in time i miss u i really do one day we should meet up when u ant doing anythink i hope evarythink is going well for u xxx “

  2. Just a little “did you know”:

    Periodically your mobile needs to send a signal to the surrounding cell towers to determine things like signal strength and GPS location. This message contains a 140 character buffer that under normal circumstances contains a simple handshake message. The cell towers respond with a message that also contains a 140 character buffer containing a simple handshake response.

    Your phone does this regularly all day every day regardless of what your doing with it. So your text message is just piggy backing on a transmission your phone was making anyway.

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