Texting’s for copywriters, not just for Christmas

So I’ve finally given in. My 10-year old daughter’s getting a mobile phone for Christmas. She’s off to high school next year anyway, travelling across town, so it was kind of inevitable I guess.

So no more rants, ‘when I was your age we didn’t have a landline at home… and then when we did it was a ‘party line’’ (which just meant you could listen in on your neighbour’s conversations) or, ‘I didn’t have a mobile phone until I was 27 and even then it was the size of a breeze block and bolted in an Audi 80’ or, “I had to carry a pager and use telex don’t you know…’

I’ve succumbed to the pressure. After all, ‘everyone else has got one Daddy!’ In truth, on a frugal pay-as-you go plan, she/ we are really just going to be doing a lot more texting.

And there lies (or lay) one of my greatest objections. A year ago, pre her Christmas iPod Touch, I like many had a real downer on children texting, and admit to conforming to the hackneyed arguments as to why texting’s bad for children:

. Negatively affecting ability to spell, punctuate and use grammar correctly.

. The detrimental effect it has on ability to write eloquently.

. How it causes shorter attentions spans.

Seeing how easily she’s embraced texting, emailing (and the infernal face-timing) during the last year though, while simultaneously staying top of the class for English language and literacy, has altered my view. And then, on receiving a message from her on my wife’s mobile, ‘CUB48’, I was finally converted. Could there be any greater clarity and economy in a communication?

And as a copywriter, I now enter the GR8 DB8. Could there be any better training ground for the copywriters of tomorrow? Just think about texting:

. It keeps children writing outside of school.

. It’s spontaneous, causing children to write about anything, anytime, anyplace.

. It breeds conciseness, clarity and creativity.

All ticks in the boxes IMHO. BTW a UK study of children in the 8-12 age range has shown a causal link between texting and high performance in spelling tests. Let’s not forget too that the Oxford English Dictionary has already legitimised a whole bunch of text speak, BFF, LOL, TMI etc. And if, as it’s popularly reported, Churchill was sent an OMG in a letter in 1917, then texting’s OK by me.

FYI, as a purist, I still write everything in full when I text, but I’m starting to see the light. I was brought up speaking English, was taught Welsh at school and became fluent in French. Time to learn textese perhaps? BBFN and Merry Xmas!

Footnote: Just spell-checked this and the only words not recognised were ‘texting’ and ‘textese’ – irony indeed.