#VicSRCvoices: On Snapchat streaks and talking in text...

Back awayyyyy from the emoji! Demi Tangri, a self-confessed Snapchat streaker, explores what happens when we look up once in a while and talk with our faces, rather than our phones.

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Speech is a vital, often under appreciated skill. Our ability to convey our thoughts and motives, explain our actions, influence others and socialise is all due to the wonderful world of speech. However, it’s not just words that enable us to converse with others, making and maintaining relationships. It’s our ability to connect with the people we’re talking to.

Owning a phone these days is the status quo; in fact, you stand out like a sore thumb if you don’t own one. The same applies for having a Facebook account, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. I am myself a product of the times; my life is on my phone. Contacts, photos, calendar, songs, snapchat streaks!

Recently, however, my dad said something to me that really made me think. I was texting in the living room, and he told me to give it a rest. I replied, “One minute, I’m talking to my friend.”, to which he said, “No. You’re not talking.”

No matter how much we try to replicate our emotions into plain text, use emojis to convey what we’re feeling, use GIFs to show what we’re thinking, it just isn’t the same as actually talking to people. We have grown uncomfortably accustomed to “talking” to each other behind a screen.

In the train, there are often groups of students sitting together. They all have their heads buried into their own phones, sitting together, yet not - and the sad thing is - I’m very sure I’ve been one of them. These are some of the excuses I used (note the past tense) to tell myself when on my phone around others: “It’s not like I don’t want to talk, I’m just a bit tired.” Or “If they wanted to talk, they would start a conversation first”. These excuses are common to for many of us, and we need to stop making them. All they do is limit us!

Talking face to face and making connections with the people we are talking to, is a dying art. Involving the other person in a conversation is as important as actually talking to them, and something that is slowly developed over a period of time. In the future, we will depend on our social skills to make relationships in our careers and workforces. If we are more comfortable talking to machines than humans, what does that say about us?

We are losing essential social skills which would boost our confidence and ability to sustain relationships. The irony is almost ridiculous; having more social media platforms than ever before, we are arguably becoming more detached from each other.

Our parents didn’t grow up like this, surrounded by screens more than actual people, depending on technology more than themselves, trusting spellcheck more than their own brains, changing fonts instead of their handwriting. We are privileged to have so many resources right at our doorstep, but we must use them wisely, and know where to draw the line.

Texting allows us to think about what we’re saying, and not blurt out things like we do in spontaneous conversation. When given a few seconds extra to thing about what we’re about to say, we have less of a chance of saying things we might regret, or that might hurt the other person. But somewhere along the way, the authenticity of what one’s saying is somewhat compromised. By extension, we converse in a mechanical sort of way, where the immediate responses get lost somewhere to perhaps the more “prudent” ones. 

Don’t wait for the other person to start a conversation! We don’t lose anything by extending a hand to others, so why not?


#VicSRCvoices is a rolling series driven by the stories and experiences of student representatives. It’s about who we are; what we value; what drives us to act; and what fuels our passions to advocate for what we believe in.

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