Email vs Text – Which is better?

Which is better – email or text? I had a friendly little debate on this topic with a good friend of mine. We’re both nerds, so what do nerds do over glasses of wine in between snack time and dinner time? Why, we debate which is better – email or text.

This whole discussion started because he gave me a hard time about not texting. I only email. He told me that he’d stay in touch with me more if I would participate in texting. We’d only had one glass of wine each, so my brain was not yet affected logic-wise by the alcohol, yet I couldn’t understand what he’d just stated: “I’d stay in touch with you more if you would just text.”

Our email vs text debate went a little something like this:

Me: What’s so hard about emailing that makes it too hard to stay in touch with me?

Him: Texting is so much faster.

Me: You mean the email program on your phone doesn’t allow you to type as fast as the texting program on your phone?

Him: No, no. I can type at the same speed. It’s just that texting is faster.

Me: You mean that an email might arrive a couple of seconds slower than a text because a server can slow down an email?

Him: That’s true, but that’s not what I meant by faster. I mean that it’s just faster to text.

Me: Dude, help me out here. You’re not explaining how it’s faster. Do you have to click twice to get to your email app but only once to get to your text app? Is that why texting is faster?

Him: Noooooooooo! If I’m in a meeting and can’t talk, but I want to share a thought with you, I can text you.

Me: How is that faster than emailing? It’s the same thought process, the same app-opening click process, the same typing process and the same sending process. The only difference is the infinitesimal (possible) server delay of two or three seconds for the email to reach me.

Him: NO! You’d read my text faster.

Me: I read English at the same speed no matter what program is open on my phone.

Him: NO, NO! You’d receive my text sooner.

Me: OK, dude. You’ve just replaced the word “faster” with “sooner” but you still haven’t explained how texting is faster than email.

Him: Because, damn it, when I text people, they respond to me instantly! We have a conversation by text. When I email people they take a while to answer. Or if I wait to email them, I forget and never share the thought.

Me: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. You’re assuming that my phone controls my life and that if I texted, I’d let my phone bother me constantly.

Him: Uh, yeah. I guess. You’re missing out on a lot of important conversations. We could talk a lot more.

Me: Even if I decided to text, I wouldn’t turn on my notifications. I’d never get anything done with all of those interruptions.

Him: But you’d be able to communicate better with me and talk about important things.

Me: All right. Let’s try this. Each time you think of something you want to tell me, put it in an email. Pretend it’s a text, but put it in an email. We’ll see how that goes.


Next week, I’ll share with you how our email vs text experiment went.

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