Electronic devices are now part of our every day life. 10 years ago pagers were very popular, now we hardly ever see them because our little cell phones now have that functionality and a lot more. I still remember when a cell phone had to be carried in a briefcase because of it size. Some of you might even remember the cell phones that looked like a brick and were just as heavy. Now days no one would want to be caught carrying one of those.
With pagers we used to have codes to communicate with each other. I am sure you remember how people used 911 but it was never an emergency, it was always fun to freak someone out if they had a pager. I remember a certain dialer script that would page someone constantly. It seemed like text was the way to go back then.
Little by little cell phones starting to get cheaper and easier to carry, everyone now had a cell phone and it became the norm to talk on the phone everywhere during the 90s. It seemed that you could not escape a cell phone conversation in any public place. I am not saying this is not still happening, maybe I have become somewhat numb to that fact and it does not annoy me as much because I do it too.
I say at the start of 2000 the pager made its second entrance, with two-way pagers. Something that reminded more of a kid’s toy that used to send text across a room, than an actual consumer device. A lot of cell phones also added this functionality to their repertoire. During the next couple of years it seemed like “texting” was all the rage.
Computers started using text communication from day one. It was only logical right! Computers for a while were thought of just upgraded typewriters. Text was the medium that was used the most once computers allowed us to talked to each other. 14.4k modems really did not allow for much data to be transmitted, but that changed during the 56k era. It seemed that more and more people started using both voice and video chat. I never really did much of video or voice chat, I stayed with text as a norm. Now with broadband it is very easy if you have the equipment to carry on an actual voice conversation with even video.
The standard with computers and most of its users to communicate is instant message (IM). High School kids race home to IM their friends instead of picking up their cell phones and making conference calls. Even corporate America has started to use IM systems to let their employees communicate.
Then there is the gaming community. It is very common now for people that game to use a gamespeak or ventrilo server to have conversations with others during games. I still think that most people still use text messages during the game, but depending on the type of game voice is picking up even more. Fast paced team combat is much easier when you are talking instead of typing.
The invention of what is now called a smart phone marries the functionality of the “texting” of a two-way pager, all the features of a cell phone and the IM and email capabilities of a computer. I do not have one of these devices yet, and personally I switch from voice to text all day. I like text better than voice, but it seems like more and more with technology advancing the way it does in our age, that it will not be a logic option to communicate via text. Voice will eventually become the only option, especially once it is married with video in a portable way. I am sure a high school kid has no concept of what turning a knob to change a channel is, think of the future when your grandkids will look at you funny and ask, what is a keyboard?