COVID Special Issue

The Talker Versus the Texter

As the pandemic developed and we settled into remote living for the long haul, social life at UChicago changed significantly. RSO and house meetings moved online alongside instruction, and students began to structure their friend groups for online interaction to combat local stay-at-home orders. Pretty quickly into the pandemic, two competing social structures had emerged: the Talkers and the Texters.

First, there are the Talkers: the people who prefer catching up with their friends over Zoom or through phone calls. Talkers express themselves through vocal inflections and visual expressions, which we’re told has long been the gold standard of in-person human interaction, but suffer the downside of needing to find a synchronous time to meet that works for both parties.

For every Talker, there is a Texter. Texters largely communicate through text or Facebook Messenger, and performatively express their emotions through exaggerated text-speak and Facebook’s obnoxious ‘reaction’ feature. While Texters don’t need to find a synchronous time for social interaction, the intimacy of their connections are greatly reduced.

However, neither of these paradigms present the right model for social interaction at UChicago. Talkers and Texters spend too much time communicating with others and having to hear their whiny thoughts. Allow us to present a better model for social engagement at UChicago: the Thinker.

The Thinker is the best of both models. If you join the Chicago Thinker, your social life will exclusively consist of being yelled at by anonymous Texters in the comments section of the pieces you write, and of being passive-aggressively insulted in your HUM by Talkers who are also mad at you.

The beauty of being a Thinker is you don’t have to worry about the other side of the conversation at all! Your job is to Think, and to Declare, not to be Talked at or Corrected. Being a Thinker also doesn’t have synchronous commitments, because it doesn’t require a partner. You don’t need to make friends: pissed-off UChicago students will come to you!