Last month, I read an interesting article in the Washington Post about the impersonal nature of texting.  That summary doesn’t quite do it justice, so I encourage you to read it in its entirety.

I read this article through a bit of a different lens. I grew up in a household with two profoundly deaf parents. Before we had videochat or texting, deaf people relied on a clunky device called a teletypewriter to communicate via phone. tty If the other party did not have such a device, a relay operator would be used, or, in my case, I’d hop on the phone for my mom or dad.  I spent a lot of time on the phone as a child handling very adult things.

Flash forward 20 years and I can tell you that the number one way I communicate with my mom is via text message.  What I find particularly interesting is the ways in which the medium proves very effective, despite the fact that deaf people rely heavily on body language to interpret communications (I’d say ASL is about 50% body language). Not only does texting give a group of people a freedom that they have never had, it adds a level of convenience previously unimaginable.  It allows parents and children to be in communication,  it allows hearing and deaf people to communicate with each other, and it helps break down the barrier that exists between what is  known as the “deaf world” and the “hearing world.”

text with momI remember when my mom first learned to send text messages when I was in college.  It was strange at first, to think that she could reach me as easily as my friends’ parents reached them.  Now, it’s an important touchstone– for both of us.  How could it be any more personal than that?