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Communicating through our fingertips

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By Jenny Blandford

Every day, I communicate through my fingertips, maybe just as much as I do through spoken words.

I do not remember when this became a normal day-to-day thing for me, but with constant increases in technology, I am not sure when, or if, it will slow down.

Like many others, I communicate through my fingers in a number of ways through various facets of technology and programs — from my BlackBerry cell phone to social networking sites to e-mail accounts.

In January, I got a BlackBerry Pearl. Like all technology products, once I get a new one, it’s like an automatic new toy to me. Ten months later, I am still addicted to my BlackBerry. I had opted for a BlackBerry instead of an Apple iPhone due to the price difference and how new the iPhone was on the market at that time.

My BlackBerry has become like a miniature “personal computer” in my purse or pocket. It is text message, e-mail and Internet capable. I consider myself a tech savvy person, but my “computer” does a lot more things that I haven’t figured out yet.

Each month, I easily use up all of my 200 text messages. As time has passed, text messaging has become increasingly more popular. Five years ago, I am not sure if I even had a text messaging capable phone. And now, I send and/or receive text messages everyday. For me, text messaging is more convenient than picking up the phone. Why call someone while you know they are at work when you can send them a five-word message such as, “I wish it was Friday” or “What time we meeting” or a longer message like, “Will stop by and c u in 10”?

I am not a huge texter who has “BlackBerry thumb” from texting every few minutes, but some days, it feels like I could.

I have some friends, though, who are anti-texting who refuse to utilize the semi-new technology. Some say it’s “not a real conversation unless you speak to the person.”

I have argued the point several times, knowing that communicating comes in two forms — written or spoken, non-verbal or verbal.

Besides texting on my phone, I use social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace to stay connected to friends I do not get a chance to see a lot of times. I have 200-plus friends on Facebook that consists of everyone from former to current co-workers and friends from high school and college, just to name a few of the categories friends fall under.

I even have the Facebook application on my BlackBerry.

Facebook and MySpace allow users to write quick, text message-type sayings on the “wall” that is available for other friends to see or to send a longer, personal message, similar to an e-mail. Facebook also has an option in which you can chat with friends if they are online at the same time.

Facebook was once for college students. Not anymore. Recent studies show more and more professionals and those age 30 and older are utilizing the site.  

On to the “oldest” form of communicating with my fingertips, I obtained my first e-mail account when I was in high school. Throughout the years, I have had three personal e-mail accounts, but am down to my Gmail account now.

Like Facebook, I also have access to Gmail on my BlackBerry. It’s easy to send a quick e-mail, or forward a funny e-mail from time to time. Gmail, like Facebook, also offers a feature in which you can chat with other friends who are checking their e-mail at the same time you are. Those friends have to have a Gmail account, too.

I guess for me, more than anything, communicating through my fingertips is convenient. Ten years ago, I would not have imagined the type of communication that is available today. I can only imagine what will be at our fingertips in another 10 years.