Pulse

The Story of a... TXTn Whiz

Angel Conlon, 16, of Orlando, is one of the world’s most talented texters. Her rule of thumbs: No shorthand.

Photo By Norma Lopez Molina

“I would definitely rather text than talk on the phone. I only prefer talking on the phone to my friend Brittany because I feel like we have more fun via phone. And it’s great to hear each other’s laughs!”

Angel placed fifth out of 500,000 entrants in the LG U.S. National Texting Championship last year and came in sixth in the world finals. “I had never heard of a competition for something as insignificant as texting! It’s such a habitual thing. Who would think you could win $50,000 for texting? That’d be like the average person winning that much money for being an excellent teeth brusher!”

She sends about 3,200 messages a month, each written in the King’s English. Angel believes proper grammar is important and texts in complete sentences, refraining from using texting shorthand, such as “ur” for you’re, “u” instead of you and so on. A faster texter than writer, she also uses her cell phone to take notes during classes at The First Academy in Orlando and then sends them to her email.

In preparation for the LG Electronics competition she texted the entire alphabet on her phone, equipped with a slightly outdated numeric keypad, while blindfolded. Just before the competition, she could type her ABC’s in less than 10 seconds.

“In nationals, we competed in a series of challenges, including blind texting, texting a long phrase with lots of characters and numbers, translating text talk and sending 10 messages one at a time the fastest. Accuracy was the most important thing. You can be fast but if you make a lot of typos, that goes against you.”

“I think girls are better at texting because we have more to say, in that we’re very emotional and sometimes open about our feelings. So texting can almost be like a journal to our friends. Boys text too, but I feel like girls text better.’’

In 2010 the National Safety Council estimated that 28 percent of traffic accidents involved drivers using cell phones and texting. Angel doesn’t text and drive. “The only time I really text while at the wheel is if there is a full stop or red light. I don’t like trying to text while moving because I know how dangerous it is, and life is too precious to throw away for just a text message.”

“I don’t think my thumbs ever get really sore. What happens is I just get tired and start messing up or something. I do have carpal tunnel slightly from using the computer a lot, so texting probably isn’t great for my hands. But, I mean, it’s life. I love what I do, and sometimes those things we love to do have consequences!”

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