Friday, December 22, 2006

Txt Smrtns

I was surprised to hear on the morning news that the Samaritans now have a text-based counselling service which is aimed at younger people. It was launched some months ago and they claim that it’s quite popular, with thousands of text messages received each week.

You can see the attraction for the Samaritans - you could easily devise intelligent software to automate the responses, eliminating the need for round-the-clock volunteers. They will be able to provide a more extensive service at lower cost.

But I find it hard to imagine someone who needs the help of the Samaritans choosing to communicate via something as impersonal as text when they need someone to talk them down off a tall building or bridge.

Personally, I hate the abbreviated txt msgs favoured by youthful texters and those silly hieroglyphics :-) which often accompany them.

I can see myself manning the phones some evening and trying, in vain, to decipher a call for help written in this gibberish. In my dream I finally snap and, in frustration, text back “Jump, you worthless turd”.

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