Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iowa girl wins $50,000 texting, which almost covers her phone bill

15-year-old Kate Moore of Des Moines was the ultimate victor over what was originally a pool of 250,000 contestants for the LG U.S. National Texting Championship. I'm not sure why it's both U.S. and National, but it's not my contest. She was also awarded a trophy that appears to be a model of golden zombie arms reaching out from the grave to send the text message, "Aaaarrrggghhh. OMG."

Ms. Moore sends 14,000 texts a month, so if her parents didn't have some bundled plan, her bill would be around $2,800. Multiply that by 12 and it comes to $33,600, about the same as her prize money after taxes.

Her winning text was the phrase,
“Zippity Dooo Dahh Zippity Ayy...My oh MY, what a wonderful day! Plenty of sunshine Comin’ my way…ZippittyDooDahZippityAay! WondeRful feeling, Wonderful day!”
First, those aren't the lyrics to the song. But I'm guessing that if they had used the real words to "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," Disney would sue them. But "Zippity"?

But it is amazing that she was able to type out those 23 words, or 156 characters with spaces, in less than a minute on that tiny phone keypad.

But is that a real world skill? So some girl types fast and accurately on a device which is becoming an essential technology product for professionals everywhere.

But I'm the professional, with the library job and all. And I can barely type 20 words a minute on a full-size keyboard. Where can I get me one of these Iowa girlies? The way things are going with technology, I might need someone to type out my reference work for me on one of those mobile do-dads. Maybe I can do the research and Kate, or one of the 249,999 losers can follow me around and text the answers to my customers.

It's amazing that this is the 21st century, yet we are rewarding a skill which, at best, prepares women to get jobs as secretaries. Are we heading back to the days when working men had young, female assistants? When men smoked Pall Malls and wore gold pinky rings and drank gin martinis for lunch? Yeah, I hope so, too.

Part of this contest appears to be tied to something call the LG DTXTR initiative which states,
"Keeping up with your teen can be exhausting, especially when they appear to be conversing in another language – which is where DTXTR comes in. LG is committed to providing parents the interactive and collaborative DTXTR resource so you can decode your teen's texts, and stay on top of the texting trend.
LG Mobiles Phones considers LG DTXTR an educational site and credible resource. Please be aware of the adult language and recognize that the glossary may have offensive nature."
So the DTXTR Text Translator is educational and not just bullshit like most rational people would assume. The site translates "teen speak" into "English." As if people really want to know what teens are saying. For example, the scrolling text near the search box says IJPMP means "I just peed my pants." Hilarious, yet credible and educational.

And MSNUW means, "Mini-Skirt No UnderWear." But I already knew that one because it's my nickname here at the library. So guess who always gets the job straightening the books on the top shelves? It's okay, you can look, honey.