“It [nonverbal communication] is equally as important, if not more important, than verbal communication (Gamble, 2003)”.

Please take a moment to listen to the song at the following link. Turn up and enjoy 🙂

Did you get my message?

Text messaging has become a phenomenon in its own right. In today’s society, you’re automatically expected to know how to text message–it’s just weird if you don’t, right?

The thing about “texting” is that you can’t read all of the nonverbal forms of communication that you’d normally be able to observe when you’re speaking to someone in person. So, without the nonverbal communication that makes up “65 percent of the social meaning of our conversation (Gamble, 2003)”, what are we left with? Mixed signals and a handicap added to the forms of communication between people. For example, I can’t tell you how many times my friend Linsey and I have gotten into serious arguments over the misinterpretation of a text message–she thinks I’m being sarcastic and I think I’m being flexible.

Jason Mraz’s song Did You Get My Message? is a wonderful acknowledgment of these types of miscommunications between people as a result of intercommunicating via electronic forms of communication. Though the song refers to mostly calling and leaving actual messages, I think it’s important to highlight the fact that text messaging is the newest form of communication limitations via technology. Let’s refer to a couple stanzas of the song that refer to text messaging:

1) Do you ever wonder what happens to the words that we send
2) Do they bend, do they break from the flight that they take
3) And come back together again with a whole new meaning
4) In a brand new sense, completely unrelated to the one I sent

5) Uh oh, where did it go, must have bypassed your phone
6) And flown right outta the window
7) ooh well, how can I tell?
8) Shoulda called the operator maybe she know the info
9) But whether or not if my message you got was too much or a lot to reply
10) Why not try this for a fact
11) Should you ever come back I’d relax and be relieved
12) of all my panic attacks

Here, Mraz is talking about the misinterpretation between people when it comes to text messaging. The first section (lines 1-4) refers to the different ways someone can interpret text messages, lines 5-7 refer to the same thing. It’s also an interesting side note that Mraz refers to the operator as a woman–operator being a traditionally “female” job position. This could be a result of the unconscious gender stereotypes that we carry with us as well as a good example of the ways music can subtly influence our gender stereotypes (Gamble, 2003).

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Mraz, J. (2005). Did you get my message?. Mr. A-Z: CD. Burbank, CA: Atlantic.

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