You’ve got 30 seconds before the lights change. You need to get a message to your mate: tell him/her you’re going to be late. You pull out you’re mobile phone from your pocket. What are you going to do: 1) Send a text message to their mobile number or 2) Check your contacts list to see if they’re online. Damn it! You forgot to fire up your mobile Instant Messenger. Fire it up. Click, click, click; where is it? Java: Extras? Or is it in Collections? Aaargh! Ah, found it! Damn it! You forgot to add your mate as a friend! OK – so type in your mate’s address and invite them as a friend before the lights change. Damn it! It’ll take ages before they accept you as a friend. Damn it! The lights have changed! Too late: you gotta pull off! Damn it! OK: You already had them as a friend? Fine. You already had your mobile Instant Messenger fired up? Lucky you that your battery isn’t dead yet: OK, OK, OK – check to see if they are online: Damn it! He or she is not online? Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Too late! The lights have changed. Gotta go.
(Taken with my cameraphone at a traffic junction in West London.)
You could be in your car at the traffic lights, you could be on the top deck of the bus just before your stop. You could be in between lectures at college. You could be just about to dive underground to catch the tube. We’ve all been there before.
The moral of the story is that mobile Instant Messaging is just plain damned inconvenient when all you wanna do is just send “i m going 2 b l8” to your mate. A text message would have been 1) simpler 2) quicker and 3) would have got the message across even if they weren’t staring at their phone at the time.
So much to all those geeks who think that mobile Instant Messaging is going to kill text messaging.