Why I Blocked Texting on My New Handset

Instant messaging has really taken off here in the States, just as it has across the globe. But I've blocked IM on my phone for a couple of reasons, and I doubt I'm going to change my mind about this.

I finally replaced my aging Samsung Omnia, which I never was very fond of, primarily due to the clunkiness of Windows Mobile 6.1, with a shiny new Samsung Fascinate, which is easily the best handset I've ever owned. More on that shortly, but when I ran through the checklist of options with the nice Verizon salesperson, I just said no to texting. First of all, Verizon charges a fairly high price for texting (another $20 a month); Sprint has a much better deal here, but my family plan is with Verizon and it was new-every-two time. And I'd rather put the money into tethering (you guessed it; $20 a month), a far more useful option that allowed me to buy a cheaper iPad and save, of course, on the AT&T data charges I would otherwise incur. Indeed, any of my Wi-Fi devices can now access the Web (and more) from anywhere, and of course Verizon still offers unlimited Ev-DO Rev A service at only $30 a month. And that includes, of course, unlimited e-mail.

So, then, I've got e-mail; why do I need texting? Text is yet another cost, another messaging modality to check, and I'm simply not personally amenable to push-based messaging regardless. I'm not interrupt-driven; I'll check for messages when I so desire. I'm always a bit perturbed when, sitting in a meeting, someone's handset vibrates with an e-mail or text message and they focus on that rather than the topic at hand. Ditto, of course, for those who text (or even talk) and drive.

And I'm also irritated that, before texting was blocked, I'd received so many spam text messages, which cost me $.20 apiece (c'mon Verizon, can't we cut the nickel-and-diming, at least in this case? Please?). And why can't the carriers deal with this kind of spam? Hey, guys, another opportunity for fees, and it's easy, using the same technology as e-mail spam blockers.

Anyway, don't try to text me. But e-mail works just fine.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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