Instant Messaging: Phone vs. Computer

Instant Messaging on your Phone vs. Instant Messaging on your Computer

Text based messaging on cell phones has become wildly popular, and very useful in the daily life of increasingly busy people. It has allowed for quick, efficient conversations that do not even require people to be free at the same time to communicate instantaneously. Instant messaging platforms like AIM and Yahoo were quick to follow suit, integrating their chat platforms onto mobile devices soon thereafter. While the software and interface of the instant messaging clients and their smart phone counterparts are very similar, the affect on their users can be very different when on the go.

Shorter messages:

When using an instant messaging client on a mobile device, the ability to type in long and well composed messages is hindered due to small keyboards or a complete lack of a physical keyboard altogether. This makes for shorter and shorter messages from the person using the mobile based messaging client. Along with these shorter messages can be increasingly hollow conversations that do not produce very meaningful and deep interactions. Add in the fact that we can communicate with the person at any time, and the time actually spent communicating with that individual may not be as enjoyable or cherished.

Effect on Relationships in Real Life:

This is perhaps the most critical issue in the mobile instant messaging realm. So often now, people will be out and about, getting a drink, having dinner, watching a sporting event, and a good portion of the people will be messaging other people who are not physically there. In a way it is a bit sad, as for centuries people have gone out with the intention of being social. However, now with the invent of smart phones, it’s as if no matter who we are with, the person on the other end of the electronic device is more interesting or worthy of attention than other individuals we are interacting with in the same environment. I have done this in the presence of my fiancé, and she, rightfully so, becomes upset. Mobile messaging is handy, but it should not our default mode of communication, especially in the presence of others in a social setting.

Smaller Social Circles:

Ironically, if people are using these mobile messaging clients too much, our opportunity to increase our social circle by starting relationships with people we happen to meet while we are out and about will decrease as well. More and more people are staring at their screens and messaging other people, when there are plenty of other interesting and worthy people out there in real life who are perfectly capable of having a pleasant conversation. By limiting ourselves to just talking to people on our phones with those we already know, we miss getting to know new people who might become wonderful acquaintances or friends.

Instant messaging is a powerful and useful tool. Whether on the go or at home, they allow us to communicate with almost anyone at anytime. However, just because we CAN communicate with anyone, anywhere at any time, does not mean that we necessarily SHOULD. When out and about, put the phone on silent every now and then, and just enjoy the people around you. The messages will be there waiting when the appropriate time presents itself.

This was a guest post written by Daniel Offer, Daniel is the owner of the Facebook download, Chit Chat for Facebook. Chit Chat enables its users to chat on Facebook from their desktop. Lately, Daniel has written about Facebook Status Tips and has reviewed Farmville, the Facebook Game.

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