Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Neither a Hobby Nor an Interest

Self-disclosure can be funny.

In one of the writing classes I taught last week, we had a short discussion about how using texting language is inappropriate for when you email certain people. We were working with an example of texting language creeping into an email that we have in the basic writing textbook I've written/I'm revising with one of my former colleagues from St. Louis.

To use an example about audience awareness for my students, I told them that I don't text. In fact, I don't think I've texted anyone. Ever. I've gotten a couple of messages and read them, but I'm not using a phone to write. I dislike phones regardless of whether they're land line or cellular, so the specter of using a phone to write smacks of torture.

It was not hard to predict how the students would react when I dropped that little nugget of info on them. One young lady audibly gasped, a few students giggled, some smiled because it was strange to them, and a few others' mouths dropped open in amazement.

On the very first day of class when I asked these students to write down their hobbies and interests along with their names, hometowns, and academic interests on 3x5 notecards, two of them wrote down "texting" as a hobby/interest.

How the @#$% can texting be a hobby or an interest?

Or as Amanda, the wife of one of my friends said this Saturday, "How can that be an interest? It's an addiction."

My anti-texting behavior probably isn't a surprise to some people who know me as an wannabe Luddite. I still like and depend on many of the old technologies such as road atlases, maps, CDs, and (gasp) letters.

Now I have gotten with the 21st century by finally getting an iPod to complement my iTunes, but I can rationalize that move to simple economics. It's cheaper to download music than to buy CDs. That move is just being fiscally responsible I tell myself.

But with texting, I don't see myself going there.


fern said...

When two people (in the same demographic?) see texting as a recreational interest, that starts to look like data. That is really worth thinking about.

fern said...

Or you could make cell phone use hobby-worthy:


fern said...

fyi ~ I was telling this story to Jean this morning and asked the student worker what she thought about it. She definitely thought that texting met the criteria for an interest or hobby. She described it as an engaging and recreational activity, not primarily something one does for practical reasons.

So...is blogging a hobby?

Quintilian B. Nasty said...

I would say running a blog is a hobby/interest, and for some it's a profession. But if one considers talking to friends via a device for communication as a "hobby," I guess texting would fit the bill.

For a comparison, I don't consider using email to talk to my friends a hobby. It's just something I do under the wide rubric of communication.