Well, it started off slow, a way to talk to somebody without having to actually speak to them. Yes, I'm talking about texting; the largely dominant form of communication between young persons today. It's great if you're in a boring class; you may be silent but your hands are typing at the speed of light under the table. Back when cell phones only had the "conventional" number pad, texting took forever, even if you were an expert at it. Nowadays, you are in a very small minority if you don't have a smartphone. Even the normal cells all have full keyboards now.
I think texting is great; in most situations I vastly prefer it over talking on the phone. At work, for example, I obviously can't whip my Blackberry out to make a call; yet I am constantly checking my texts every hour or so. I didn't think it made much difference until I lost my phone for two days. Those work days dragged on, and on, and on...jesus it was awful. I felt so isolated without my all mighty smart phone. I think I send around two thousand texts a month; hardly anything compared to some people.
Yet there are lots of times where I would vastly prefer a simple phone call. One of the things I hate the most with texting is the waiting; waiting sometimes hours for that person to get back to me. It kinda defeats the whole purpose of the speed and convenience of it. When you call someone, it's simple; they answer the phone and you have a conversation, say goodbye, then hang up. Conversely, I'll be texting my friends and sometimes waiting a day for them to get back to me; or we'll be texting back and forth and suddenly they'll just disappear only to respond hours later. Can you imagine virtually every phone call or yours dropping, then calling back for hours only to get a busy tone? That's how I feel sometimes; it can really drive me insane.
It's different than chatting online because whereas texting you have no clue if they are even looking at the phone when you send it, if you're chatting on Facebook or MSN you can see that they are online and even when they're typing a reply. I wish texting had the same features. It really bugs me (in fact it's in my top ten pet peeves) when I text someone and then wait hours for them to reply, or when they just disappear in the middle of a conversation. I mean, how rude! And the worst part is, with a few of my friends, they don't like me to call them so the only thing I can do is wait, and wait, and wait some more.
So while texting may have it's advantages, especially at work or school, I believe it truly can never replace the phone call. Too much waiting, tricky to gauge emotions, and don't forget you can't listen to your loved one's beautiful voice!