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This is just my little take on the world, it just feels so good to let loose with my ideas, thoughts and well-whatever! i appologise for poor spelling, still figuring out the spell check on this thing - all the views expressed below are my own!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

MiXed up!!!

Peace be upon you.

To all the fanatics and fanatically avowed “critics” of my blog, my apologies for the late posting of this piece. I have been extremely busy doing very little but somehow just didn’t find the time to post.

Thankfully, MXit was not one of the things keeping me busy. Now I know that almost everyone who reads this should know what MXit is but for the benefit of the older generation and those who just came back from Mars, I will first give a brief introduction before I condemn its very existence.

MXit (and it is written exactly like that-probably stands for message exchange it- or something catchy like that) is a new software that can be downloaded onto your mobile. It allows you to send messages of up to 2000 characters to other MXit users and also to people on their pc. It can be used globally and costs no more than 2c (South Africa) per message. More importantly however it is absolutely free to download and the only requirements you need to use this wonderful technology is a phone that has a GPRS modem and color screen.

Most of what I wrote above was wiffwaff I took almost verbatim off their website, now for the layman’s terminology: “It is a glorified chat program that takes chat from being an occasional pass time on the computer to being a free-for-all chat that can be accessed by any dimwit with any recently released cell-phone.”

Now don’t get me wrong, on occasion I am a die-hard chat fanatic and I am not some freak that believes all chat is wrong and wadda wadda waddda, but what I have noticed recently has disturbed me enough to pull me away from chatting on mIRC and write this piece. Everywhere I go, there are people (ranging from like 14 right up to mid twenties) that are busy wearing down their thumbs, making annoying clicking sounds and focusing solely on their phone. The only place this isn’t happening yet is in department stores where employees’ use of their personal phones is restricted by management when they are busy working and even then there are the occasional addicts unable to control their anti-social whimsical desires.

The first real revolution in youth-damaging technological communication was internet chat. This along with internet in general had people saying “Oh this is interesting” but not really understanding it entirely and the old dinosaurs as usual were up in arms over it. The reality however was that this was to become something significant yet did have a general kind of protection against dangerously destroying our lives as it was completely immobile for most if not all of young users. 3G wasn’t invented, nor were GPRS modems readily available for computers and almost no kid had a laptop, so unless they walked around with a 10Kg Pc and adapter cords and modems and big-ass screens internet chat was pretty much restricted to personal boredom time at home.

And why didn’t it destroy our youth? Well simply put, some users did become chat-abusers and some were even getting into weird stuff and meeting strangers and all that but by far the general population of young ones simply got distracted greatly from chat when they had the little opportunity of chatting maybe a few times a week. Here’s one of the scenarios; young boy sitting alone at pc has an option of becoming a chat addict or studying anatomy on Pamela Andersons’ website-no prizes for guessing what he chose. But besides that there were many other healthy and also unhealthy distractions and well even if all they did when on the net was chat, because of the immobility factor, it still was greatly restricted.

The next revolution was an almost complete and utter flop if you look at it in light of youth-damaging technological communication. What I’m referring to is none other than every Tom Dick and Harry having access to the latest top-of-the-line mobile. This new fad was amazing in that it was completely unmonitored and totally mobile, however, way too expensive to be abused enough to damage the youth, if the youth were going to self-destruct using this method, drugs would be a more fun way to go. So fine they all began having their own numbers and having secret luvvy duvvy conversations and sms chats but that just couldn’t be accessed all the time with the result it never took off in quite damaging proportions.

The third revolution, the MXit revolution, is in my arrogant opinion the true youth damager and this is the one that needs the dinosaurs up in arms and needs some serious intervention by all. Although I am going to speak only about MXit, I am referring to all forms of internet-based chat from a cell phone. This is very much based on the previous two with advantages from both less the disadvantages. It’s cheap, readily accessible and completely mobile!

Now why am I so ardently against this? There are many very bad side effects associated with any non-face-to-face form of communication. When you speak to someone over the phone-that is probably the closest or most similar to real face-to-face communication and is by far the best remedy for instances when face-to-face communication is impossible or inconvenient. Again I will say this, (so as to stress my point-duh), it is a remedy for when face-to-face communication is unavailable, not as a replacement of face-to-face communication. Email and sms are remedies for when even phone communication is impossible or difficult. Again, they are remedies, not replacements. The reality is that phone, email and sms (and even some instances of internet chat-like with someone oversees) are none other than remedies for when face-to-face communication is not a viable option-they are not forms of communication and should not be considered as such.

That being said, I now turn to the reality of what “chat” is fast becoming-a replacement of face-to-face communication, i.e.: an entirely new form of communication. When I say this, I am not referring to the evolving manner in which people using their mobiles type words, this is part of evolution-as messed up as it may be-its nt dngrous,jus litl irtatin if u dnt undrstnd. What I am speaking of is the fact that people are forming a dangerous useless form of communicating with each other, much the same as how speech itself was invented or how animals began conversing with each other-the flaw however is that this is the first non face-to-face communication ever invented and it has serious ramifications. That subject as a whole however, I will not speak about now-saving that for when I need a 200page sociology thesis.

The first gripe I have with chat from a phone is that it is begging people to procrastinate. Whenever you just feel a little bored or have something that you need to do but looking for an excuse out-like studying-you simply whip out your phone and within about 20seconds you are hooked up with a good procrastination tool for the rest of whatever time you allocated to do something more productive yet less fun.

Secondly, and more importantly, it is an easy escape out of any situation a person would normally have to find another route out. That was a dam vague statement-I know. Let me give an example; you are sitting in a doctors’ waiting room, you are half an hour early while he/she is running an hour late, basically you have one and a half hours to kill. Normally one would now have to creatively find a way of occupying ones mind at this point in time. The usual options would be to find the most single looking attractive member of the opposite sex and strike up a conversation or read a few magazines, do a couple of crosswords, or even go outside and take a walk around the immediate area-many are now situated in shopping malls. Notice something with all the options I put forward, they all are about improving either your vocabulary and IQ or your social skills or some other useful skill (even if it’s something as trivial as walking around a shopping centre-its still stimulation for the mind). Now think about what kind of improvement (or lack of) will you be doing for yourself if you whip out your phone and start a fruitless boring chat with someone you either barely know or someone just as bored as you, also with an inability of creatively filling their boredom with something productive.

The third gripe I have against MXit and all the others is that it promotes a culture of communication behind an electronic, radioactive, cancer-inducing veil. This in effect seriously damages peoples’ ability to interact normally with other people when they are confronted face-to-face. It allows normally quiet and shy people to remain like that and although it may give people with insecurities the advantage of hiding behind anonymity it also teaches them about not confronting many issues head-on. Now, instead of having to face the big baddies when getting new friends and actually having to break the ice, they are simply chatting freely without knowing anything about “breaking the ice” or proper introduction to new friends.

The Fourth thing I hate about it – and yes I know I’m rambling on now – is the fact that if you don’t separate chat from reality you can grow serious feelings almost based entirely on how someone sounds on chat. Is this not a relatively flawed concept-you know, apart from the fact that you don’t even know the species of the person you are chatting to let alone the gender.

Many nights when I was bunking taraweeh during Ramadan and I would go outside the mosque to go chat with my buddies (other obsoletes that talk face-to-face) instead of seeing many young guys smoking it up, talking about their girlfriends or cars and just being guys they were now (majority, with few exceptions) all either sitting in cars or leaning against something busy clicking away their thumbs without even noticing me observing them in wide mouthed astonishment as if they were from a different galaxy. A friend of mine was out recently with a woman who was so obsessed with MXit that he recalls about a whole twenty minutes worth of conversation from about three hours spent together, in a restaurant! (Personally, I would have logged onto MXit found her and typed: “c u, thnks4nuthin now duck off!!!” – last bit predictive text) There have also been a few functions I have been to especially ones where there are more young people and most of them have become so dreadfully boring as everyone is literally sitting glued to their chat.

What is becoming of us? Are we all a bunch of freaks so scarred and useless at interpersonal communication that we resort to all this electronic stuff, even when in group situations? O’ people, I appeal to you this is really serious, I am certain that this new phase has already begun dropping students marks significantly and is really distracting them from studies and I also believe that we are entering a stage that is set for the dissolution or rather destruction of decent social etiquette and behavior which will be replaced by huge voids in minds gone lame from a lack of stimulation.


  • At 9:37 PM, Blogger saaleha said…

    i confess, i have 'mxited' it. However, i have since seen the error of my ways. You're correct in referring to the 'veil' of technology. It de-inhibits and makes random, impulsive acts not so, well, random and impulsive. Some have even taken to proposing marriage over Mxit. Who said romance was dead?

  • At 12:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    dear riyaadh
    i am sorry that you have so much of time on your hands that you sit at your pc and write a bayaan about all these dumb teenagers who don't know the difference between fantasy and reality anymore. I know, i live with one. firstly, why waste your energy, i know i tried. secondly you are the epitomy of a paradox. People, if you gonna trash all mxit users then at least do it in a way that will not contradict your own behaviour. You mentioned something about you sitting on chat rooms as well. Riyaadh, c'mon - msn messenger, chat rooms, mirc - I know your secrets. You and your pc have an intimate relationship that not even I can come between. For all those who don't understand that is a huge thing. But i must commend you, your vocabulary has definitely grown and fancy high words put in a fairly correct grammatical way tend to confuse any person who doesn't have time to analyze. Its fun though. Hows that for controversy?????

    Rasheeda - You BETTER Half

  • At 4:55 AM, Blogger Muhammad said…

    Slms Bro... I think this brings the whole TV is haraam debate around... how? it's all Media. Contrary to popular (conservative, colsed-minded) beliefs, Media can not be haraam. The only thing that can be haraam is how you use it. IRC was the best time of my life back in the day... why? Because it was the tool that brought me so much closer to Islam.

    Moral of the story... Its not the media... YOU CHOOSE. so don't go blaming a piece of machinery for the misguidance of the population... if there's shit on TV and rAdio and Internet (1) you shouldn't be watching/listening/reading and (2) DON'T WATCH IT!



  • At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hey Riyaadh. recently when i was back in south africa (by the way i am back in the country), i did notice an unusually large amount of teens busy typing away like crazy on their phones, it is pathetic!

    i spend at least about 8months oversees and i honestly got to say that chat from a cell is not bad technology, its a cool way for me to stay in touch with my family and friends, esp when you just dont have time to go on a comp. but i think the technology is being abused just a little bit-my younger sis(who still asks about you), has trouble going out with some of her buddies because they like so distracted with mxit.

    as for the last comment, im not too good with muslim lingo, but haraam means forbidden right? - i dont think riyaadh meant to say that, i think he was referring more to the abuse of technology, much the same way one would speak against pornography on tv or the viewing of such material - its like nuclear power is great if it creates cheap electricity without too much environmental damage yet is really horrific in a bomb. but in M's defence you did attack a bit harshly at the technology-but we "obsoletes" understand your frustration!

    ps. send me one of those gmail invite thingys.

    thanks for a long read :)
    - Reece

  • At 10:36 PM, Blogger saaleha said…

    i take it back. i've sold my soul.

  • At 6:25 AM, Blogger Lara Croft said…

    Salaams Dear Riyaadh,

    I'm impressed with the debates you've startled, even the reality shockers, MXIT has become the fundamental essence that our youth are engaged in. I myself find it useful to keep in touch with friends and family- am i committing a crime? But why be judgmental? Have you too not used a chat room to elicit conversation, which may or may not have led you to interact with others? Come on, It's not ancient, and its no pandoras box either.

    I understand the fact that you believe chatting may be "hazardous" if any action is taken upon. The amount of cyber crimes committed is remarkable, and devastatingly frightening.

    But from a shrink in the making, would you not agree that rather than discourage users to refrain from the new found demon, why not find out why it is that these people do it. Ask yourself that.

    People in general seek to gain something from interaction, maybe friendship maybe more. If you really want to change the reality of cyber crimes, suggest options together with your thoughts.

    In my opinion, the fact that you got me debating the issue is a Damn good start!

  • At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Come on, dude, it is not that bad. You shouldn't go around blaming the technology, but rather, the people using the technology. We advance with technology. It is the ignorant people that abuse technology and lead to the destruction of mankind. I live on the West Coast and some of the people here can be quite different or let me rather say that they don't do things the way I do things. Chat enables one to meet others. What would you do if you were in a foreign country and nobody could speak the languages that you can speak? I don't use any mobile chat software, but I know people who use MXIT and it has spread like a wildfire. I would just like to find a chatsite like QQ or MSN Messenger for mobiles. On most sites, one can only speak to the people you know. Not new people you would like to meet. I agree that it can have negative affects, but then again, everything can (too much is bad for, too little is bad for you). I must compliment you on your vocabulary. Excellent.

  • At 4:28 AM, Anonymous said…

    i would like to mention that there is more dangers to mxit than meets the eye.i personally i know people whose marriages got broke up because of mxit.paedpohiles roaming the chat rooms pretending to be someone else.i hate it to have a conversation with a person while their thumbs are dancing on their cellphone.moreover i heard of a new thing happening on mxit foreplay or more commonly known as phonesex.i personally despise mxit.coz its destroying the youth

  • At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    dear riyaadh
    dude you have such a sad life that you write so much sgit!!! Get a life dammit!!!

  • At 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    HELLO you other freaks!!! you all have such sad lives leaving eachother chain messages!!! poor you, you probably wake up in the morning looking so forward to leaving eachother little messages how sad!!!!!

  • At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Claribal wat dink jy???

  • At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi my name is Clarissa and I hate Amy but I LOVE my little sister!!!


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