Tuesday, May 20, 2014


More people in more places can now compete, connect and collaborate with equal power and equal tools than ever before.
~ Thomas Friedman

I'm learning a new language: Spanish shorthand. It's found mostly in texting. It's similar to Spanish, except that spelling doesn't matter, there's no time for adding in accents, and abbrevs. are all the norm. There's a steep learning curve. Or, as we say in Spanish text language, "x apre."

Here's a typical text message from a friend in Playa del Carmen

The same message in regular (aka longhand) Spanish would read 
"no te preocupes" or "don't worry"

My learning of shorthand comes mostly in the form of instant text messages sent to my iPhone through the wonderfully popular global app "WhatsApp?" The beauty of WhatsApp, aside from its surprising dependability, is that all messages are free. It doesn't matter where the messages are sent from or to whom they are sent. All you need is a smart phone, a WhatsApp account, and the phone number of all your friends and acquaintances. It really is that simple. Videos and photos are instantly sent and received via cellular service or an internet connection. I love the pictures I've been getting from Mexico.

Vero sent me a photo of her son Ian making pot holders!
She is great about sending out photos and videos from her phone.

I'd first heard about WhatsApp on the cusp of its impending sale to Facebook. What I've recently learned about WhatsApp is that it has existed for years. And, more impressively, so solidly has the product established itself, that it has become a part of everyday conversation around the world. Its global recognition is up there alongside Facebook. When I'd meet someone new in Mexico, something that happened several times a day, introductions were always followed by "tienes wassap?" I'd pull out my phone and enter in my new friend's contact information. I even got really adept at knowing which country codes to add. +1 in iPhone speak equals 011. Sneaky, huh?

With WhatsApp I am in constant communication with my friends over in Mexico. I love being able to practice my Spanish and learn Spanish texting shorthand. But I don't love the constant pinging of my phone. A ping means I have a new message. Although it's never just one ping. It's typically a steady stream of messages coming through. And the now all too familiar pinging sounds are definitely not restricted to occurrences solely during daylight hours. 

But this is not a shortcoming of WhatsApp. It's the price I pay for keeping my phone on, with the volume up, letting the pings come through and distract me. What can I say? I like being connected.

Want to try WhatsApp? https://www.whatsapp.com/download/

Look me up and send me a message. (Just try to make it during a reasonable hour). 
I'll get right back to you.

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