Thumbs at the ready, there’s a new competition going on in the US of A. I say competition, it’s billed as a National Championship, and I say new, it’s been going four years.
So why do you need your thumbs at the ready?
It’s the National Texting Championship. Or should that be the Ntnal Txting Chmpshp? lol
The 2010 championships has just completed with a thirteen year old fending off the challenge from 500,000 others to win a healthy £32,000! Unfortunately, at the time of going to press, there is no great detail about the 2010 competition on the championship’s website.
So, a quick look back at the 2009 championship will give you an idea of what goes on.
It was the third annual LG U.S. National Championship which took place over two days, with the final round and crowning of the winner in New York on June 16, 2009. During the competition, players competed in various challenges, including Text Attack, Blind Texting, Pressure Cooker, and Text and Dodge. Sadly, there’s no detailed explanation as to what each of these challenges entails!
All it says is that in each challenge, the contestants were typing in phrases on their LG enV3’s exactly as they appeared on the overhead LG plasma screens (you can tell it was sponsored by LG can’t you!). And they had to do this with no typos or abbreviations, trying to ultimately be quicker than their opponents. An additional challenge included Text to Speak where contestants quickly decoded everyday text abbreviations into phrases.
This was a knock out style competition, resulting in a two person final. And the final was a three round affair. The final round of the three was to flawlessly complete the given phrase, fastest. And that phrase was “Zippity Dooo Dahh Zippity Ayy… My oh MY, what a wonderful day! Plenty of sunshine Comin’ my way… ZippittyDooDahZippityAay! WondeRful feeling, Wonderful day! [sic]”
The winner completed it flawlessly in less than 60 seconds using a mobile phone which featured a full QWERTY keypad. I would probably take more than 60 seconds to type that using my QWERTY keyboard on my PC!
And if I did it on a mobile, it would take considerably longer.
I’m not a technophobe, but I have never really got into the whole texting arena. I can’t cope with the sort of predictive text which constantly suggests words you are not trying to use. Also, you may have noticed from previous posts, that I am a bit of a pedant when it comes to grammar and proper use of our language. So to abbreviate words into text speak, and not use punctuation is extremely foreign to me.
Maybe if I had a mobile with a QWERTY keyboard, things would be different. I’d be able to rattle off my texts in no time. Predictive text would not be an issue because each key only has the one letter value. Although I still doubt I’d get into the whole abbreviation thing.
Whilst on the train the other day, being bombarded with a ‘halfalogue’ ( see “I’m On The Train!” ), my ears were also assaulted by two other mobile phones. One user was either creating a huge text, or had a mobile on which she could do her emails. Her thumbs were negotiating the keys on her very tiny QWERTY at a reasonable speed, though I doubt she would have got far in the US Championships. The issue I had with it was that she still had the key sound option turned on.
She sat next to me for twenty minutes and never once stopped her ‘typing’. The constant beeping was akin to some kind of torture! I think I probably would have preferred to hear a ‘halfalogue’. At least that way, I could have had a little fun and made up the other side of the conversation! The phone was gripped in both her hands and every time she depressed a key on the pad, her phone would move slightly in the direction of the thumb which had pressed the key. She must have either been pressing very hard, or had incredibly strong thumbs and because she was ‘typing’ so quickly, the mobile moved round like she was waving a light sabre from Star Wars.
But she was not the only annoying beep that day. Another mobile user was, I suspect, playing some sort of game on his mobile. And this also involved constantly pressing various keys; however, it was also coupled with an occasional strange tone from the phone. Not a tone associated with any incoming communication, but a tone more like that of a successful hit or score of some sort.
One slightly interesting point to come out of all this texting is that in doing my little bit of research to find out what the texting championships involved, I found that the website had an online text translator. So if you, like me, are not a spring chicken, and perhaps are not as ‘down’ with the youth of today in texting as you’d like to be, you can now go online and check that you are abbreviating correctly.
You can check all sorts of abbreviations, most of which appear to just be the first letter of each word, or you can type in a text you receive for the translator to tell you what it really means.
Of course, some of these abbreviations are ambiguous, in that they could have more than one meaning. I used to get text messages from someone who would constantly add ‘lol’ at the end of the message. I only knew that to mean ‘lots of love’ and was a bit surprised that this particular person was signing off their messages to me with that. It just didn’t quite seem appropriate. Now, of course, I realise he was really saying ‘laugh out loud’! 😉
You probably think this is a CWOT. BWDIK?
If you want to know what I just said, the text translator is here!