Messages That Matter: How to Use Your Phone For Good

I have an idea.

You might know my perspective on technology by this point: capable of incredible, staggering things, and yet — let’s be honest — the greatest source of distractions we’ve ever seen. Twitter! Facebook! Love them or hate them, we can’t deny that they are big. They’ve woven themselves quite sneakily into the fabric of our daily routine, for better and for worse, and the world we see all around us is the result.

People check their mail when they stand in line. People stop at a red light for all of thirty seconds and stare down at their screens for the duration of it. In an awkward social setting, we visibly withdraw from the conversation and into our easy escape: a world far, far from where we are, in this metaphorical cloud that we carry in our pockets.

Don’t believe me? Take a look around the next time you stroll into restaurant. Here’s a fun game I play: how many people are engaged in actual conversation, no screens visible, and how many couples, families, etc. are all staring down at the glowing rectangle in their hands? (I don’t have to tell you which side usually wins.)

For all of my pouting, though, I do think there’s a side of technology that we tend to take for granted. I’m speaking of communication. I’m referring to our ability, now, to stay connected with people both far and wide, with old friends, new friends, and that guy at the bar who might just be giving you a come-hither look.

Put simply? We can communicate like never before. Knowing this, and recognizing how even the smallest bit of communication can completely make your day, why not try a slightly different approach to texting?

Read on.

The Power of Text

Ever woken up and found a new text message waiting on your phone?

It could be a message from a friend, lover, favorite family pet, etc. The source, in this case, isn’t always as important as the implication — the realization that someone out there was thinking about you. Someone out there took some time out of their day to think about you, write you a personal message, and send it over for you to read.

That’s wonderful to think about. It’s also very kind. And, as you probably know, it can be a mood lifter like you wouldn’t believe.

This is a powerful realization. Why?

It’s just a text message. It’s a short string of characters and smiles, and yet it has the power to brighten your morning like few other things can. Realize this, and then realize that you have everything you need to spread the wealth. Ready to start?

What You Can Do Right Now

Send a text.

Scroll through your contact list, now, and find an old friend that you haven’t spoken to in weeks. Pick your significant other, someone you’re more comfortable with than anyone else in this world. Pick your family, the people you might not talk to enough.

Send them a message. Take one minute to think about them, wishing them well, and then punch that thought directly into your keypad. This doesn’t have to be complicated, folks. Here are some ideas:

  • Hey, (name)! Just wanted to say that I hope you’re having a great day. Let’s catch up sometime. :)
  • You. Me. Coffee/Beer/Whatever. I want to know what’s going on with you, man. When are you free?
  • Hey. Don’t forget to smile. :)
  • When was the last time I told you I loved you? Because it’s been too long, I think, and I want to fix that.

Cheesy? Yeah. Sure. But think, now, about the impact that message could have on someone who isn’t expecting it. Take some time and remember how amazing you feel whenever you get that surprise text message, and realize that you have a small device in your hand that lets you spread this kind of happiness and goodwill every single day.

Let’s not take this for granted.

Technology, like I said, is a double-edged sword. When it comes to our communication, though, I think it has the potential for endless, overwhelming good — even if it gets delivered piece by piece, bite by bite, one simple text message at a time.

Send a message. That’s all it takes.

4 Comments

  1. V says:

    I currently don’t have a cell phone, but I think the message can be applied to other methods too. I just completely agree the power a text (or email or Facebook message or whatever) can have and think your suggestions are excellent. Thank you.

  2. Joy Daniels (@AuthorJDaniels) says:

    I love this post! Thanks for reminding me of the power and ease of making someone smile. We often bemoan the dangers of modern tech – for good reason – but we can use them for good not evil if we chose

  3. Rebecca says:

    I feel suitably inspired, thank you!

  4. Topher Fangio says:

    Hey Matt!

    Great post man! I’ve been off the twitter bandwagon for a while now and it’s been very freeing. But, like you said, I’ve also lost contact with a few friends and that’s not good. Thanks for reminding us why we have this technology in the first place!

    P.S. When talking about technology, it’s “bytes” not “bites” :-)