Monday, July 8, 2013

The Taming of the Text, Tweet, and Post by Jennifer Strecker

The Taming of the Text, Tweet and Post
I’m sure when James wrote about the taming of the tongue he did not anticipate the social media blowout that would be Text, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now Snapchat. As I understand it, My Space is becoming obsolete. I guess to sum it up, my husband has often said to me, “Jen, it’s not what you say; it’s HOW you say it.”
My 19 year-old daughter, Sydney has become extremely adept at determining the mood, or as I call it, the weather forecast (fair to partly cloudy), created by a text, post, tweet, or chat.
She has had 2 teenage relationships in her short life. The first was in 11th grade. I remember her getting upset when she got a text from her then boyfriend which read as follows: “OK Sydney.”  When she showed me the text I reasoned that it was an adequate response to her previous text of, “Do whatever you want. That’s fine with me.” It sounded copacetic enough.  “No mom, you don’t understand. He’s REALLY mad!”
I didn’t understand. I still have difficulty understanding. However, I have garnered a slight edge for those of you who will need this ominous skill to assist your young daughters (and sons) in the future.
Response in text ( from the boyfriend)
Meaning in Context (to the receiver-girlfriend)
Meaning out of Context (To the Parent)
He likes me
He’s happy with me
That person can’t spell
He’s upset and it’s really not OK
That person can’t spell
Short form of OK
All is well
All is well!
The one text that actually means “OK”
He’s upset and it’s really not OK
That person can’t spell
Vernacular for OK
All is well
He’s mad
Do whatever you want (which is not what the responder wants)
Great! That person is flexible
You can do “whatever” you want
That person is open to all options
He’s mad
Fine! Do whatever you want (which is not what the responder wants)
That person can’t spell
It’s “alright”
You can do whatever you want
All is well OR…
He’s upset and it is really not Cool
All is well
All is well!
A cute sign off
All is well
Sounds Good
All is well!
All is well!
He’s mad
Are you serious? Really? Whatever!
That person can’t believe what you just texted
That person wants to know if what you texted is really true
He is mad OR
See you later
Something is going to take place at a later time
See you later

For those of you who have not understood Snapchat, it is a one to ten second video stream that your child can respond to or not. Unfortunately, if they opt for the latter, the sender can feel rejected and confused.  
“No man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison…. Out of the same mouth can come praise and cursing. “(James 3: 8, 10)
Put the word “text” into the previous sentence where you see the word “tongue” or “mouth.”  Encourage your children to communicate with friends, family and potential boyfriends/girlfriends in person. Admonish your children to confront their issues in real time, not in a “hashtag” on a tweet or Instagram. Explain to your children that subtleties in tone sent in a text effect the receiver just as much as if you have said it. Trails of sub tweets, Facebook posts and texts leave wounds that can be recalled instantly, over and over again.
It has been a daunting task to convince my daughter to call or visit someone in person when there is a question as to the intent or tone of a text or post instead of tweeting a subtle response for all to see.  My husband has said “any young man that tweets or texts a break-up message is not suitable for my daughter anyway.”  This, by the way (BTW), is a universal “no no.”
My Sydney is a lovely young lady and I am convinced she will be the wiser for taking some of our advice to heart.
I think I’m going to go tweet that! #loveher

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