The title of this is not click bait. I’ll prove it using a brief chronology.
It started back in the late 1970’s and mid 1980’s when cellular phones were length of two regular sized bricks; just with half the weight and with seemingly equal density. It was expensive to get but not to use. This rose with pagers and the stigma of being a drug dealer rose with anyone who owned a pager. Pagers costs money, and was a means of keeping in contact, as well as a check on your lover, and mostly warnings using codes such as, “911”, “411”, “4311”, “69”, “848”, “666”, “777” and more.
Pagers were used by doctors, drug dealers, teens who wanted to stay out too long and more. You might be wondering, “How does a device that can only vibrate and show a tiny screen of numbers do so much?” If you know, great, but if you don’t, it’s easy. It was like your parents hollering out of the door for you, or anyone hollering out of the door for you. If you don’t answer, you’re ignoring them, or you had “best” be hurt.
In the mid 1990’s, the pager steadily died off and was replaced by two-ways, which didn’t last too long, and blackberries that (around where I lived) barely made traction. What did take over was the rise of cheap cellular phones. Back then, a new cellular phone was roughly 10 to 20-dollars. Anyone could get one, but not just anyone could use it. This is why the pager and two-way and such steadily died off. They were still cheap, and though not mass-produced, they were effective against the cellular phone’s call rate.
The call rate of a cellular phone was $1 per minute, and 10-cents per text. There were tons of plans from many companies. Some gave unlimited talk but $1 text. Some gave 1-cent text and free chat for the first hour of the day. Penny-Talk rose but their other fees were crazy. This is the beginning of the decline of 2.5 generations; a tradition that intentionally thrives today.
From the late-mid 1990’s to the early 2,000’s, cellular phone companies battled for supremacy. There were tons of upstarts, and with great competition, comes great opportunity. The battles were still ongoing, and yet, the prices had settled like dust over a warzone. People who had money like the middle-class didn’t care about text prices. People below middle-class, I mean honestly below middle-class did what they could to skirt any text prices. The lower-class: those making 28K and less not only set limits on their phones, but set limits with their friends. People had rules to “get by” with speaking with all they knew.
Lower-class people used the coveted “free nights & weekends” plan and never turned their devices on until Friday after 8:00PM. The same phones turned off Monday before 8:00AM. If a text was sent, it had to be important or informative. The idea was to make sure you got the most bang for your change. So using what was considered a joke in school to insult known purposeful idiots, became the very things moderately intelligent people used.
“Where are you”, something anyone can understand as a common question, broke down to “Where you”, and then further to “You at”, and then worse, “? R U”. Where I was, people found out that a space counted as text, so then you get “?RU”. It was not long before more experimenting happened and people discovered text were just 1 to 5 cents cheaper if you do not use uppercase. This ushers in “?ru”. It was common and to be fully honest with you, I never received those texts. I gave up text and such before it dumbed down that level. I never got many texts as most were not interested in talking to me. Even in the moment, I was felt lucky. That is another story.
As 2005 to 2011 arrived, so did the importance of MMORPG; Multi-Massive Online Role-Playing Games. There were lots of space for text, and a whole half of a generation spilling into it. A form of chat called “Leet Speak” became a thing. It was piggybacking off pager-chat, and the cheat-text-chat eras. During these years, the cellular phone company market was speedily monopolizing, and yet, was able to hide it by “allowing” people to open up their own cellular phone store. While you saw a different name; usually personalized, you also saw different “brands”. Many brands were bought out and used by one company per region so there was the appearance of competition.
Leet speak speedily died in three years as cheat-text speak gobbled it up. By the end of 2011, I took notice of the divide. The division were cheap-speak vs. educated speak. They used educated-speak to pick out who is older, and some of them even used it to judge educated people as “Nazis of Grammar”. I felt it a vile term back then, but honestly, I didn’t know why. Being labeled a “Grammar Nazi felt highly insulting due to what a Nazi was and the usage of the term. In all honesty, to first be a Nazi, you are obligated to not be of much intellect.
Kids, and teenagers used cheap-speak so much, that they literally became illiterate. When I typed, “what are you all doing today” no one fully understood except for a few people. So a friend of mine typed, “whut r u all up 2” and they begin typing with highly underdeveloped terms and when asking for help, would never render a location of any kind. When in a large online game with various boards, and sub-board, shouting, “Help” in a chat box doesn’t do any good. It’s just as bad when in the same area.
“Were r u”
“ur not on dar”
While I knew what it meant, it was painful to read. I was told to relax and understand that it’s “game-speech” and nothing more. I said, “This shit is stupid, and it’s more than a game, PROMISE.” I was told I was jaded for my outlook.
So from 2011 to 2018 I watched as people stopped thinking and started following. It’s all over social media. It used to be “member” but now it’s “followers” and it’s subliminal in the aspect of the reward for gaining, “followers” and “views”. So you then become the follower to gain followers and subscribe to gain subscribers and so-on. During these times, college students turned in papers with “game-speech”. People have used “game-speech” on job applications; not just those in high-school but those who are trying to intern at a small to large company. Speech has broken down so much, the comment section of anyplace you go to is painful to read and sometimes just as hard to decipher.
In this modern era, people are use to Twitter where one would try to get out as much info as one can in as little characters as one can. I have done this but I find it annoying. There is a balance between short and descriptive, and a thesis. Twitter was meant to update and move on. Then it turned commercially profitable, and now people try to have full conversations in 140 characters.
We must stop trying to fit into the mold of stupidity and find places like MEDIUM that allows us to say it all without restraint of characters, because when you accept the life of using fewer characters to describe your character, you minimize the importance of your true character.
Thank you for reading.