I’ve always considered my dad as a tad bit more tech-savvy than the “average” dad (well, at least those who don’t blog). Heck, his cameras are way, way out of my league.

I guess I’ve been so used to seeing my dad salivate over the newest tech gadgets, that it didn’t seem odd when he started texting. My dad and I got our first mobile phones back in 1998 (you know, those really bulky Motorola phones? They seemed so cool back then), and our first SMS-enabled phone a year after. Once my dad and I learned how to text, we finally abandoned our pagers, which used to be the rave when texting wasn’t popular yet.

Texting text-messaging

Maybe the reason why I thought it seemed natural for my dad to be texting was because I’ve always gotten the “daddy-ish” messages from him like, “where are you” or “what time are you going home.” It was annoying, but at least it didn’t seem weird.

But when an aunt, uncle or grandma texts me, I can’t help but feel a bit strange—especially when they seemed to understand “text speak” better than I do.

It took me a while to get used to, really. But when we had a house maid who spent practically half her salary on cellphone load (rather than more useful stuff), I realized there really are a lot of Filipinos who are totally addicted to texting—grandmas, dads, or whatever. And it wasn’t just about keeping in touch with the people you already know. There are a lot who actually use text-messaging to meet new people.

What is it with Filipinos and text-messaging anyway? I know I use mine for work and keeping in touch with family and friends, but I don’t really get the thrill or whatever people get out of having “text mates.” To be honest, it really annoys me whenever I get a stray message asking me to be text mates. It’s kind of like the irritating feeling you get whenever the phone rings while you’re in the shower. You run like mad wearing only a towel on to answer it (probably even with soap suds all over). Then it turns out that it was just a prank call or somebody wanting to be “phone pals” with you. That’s the very same feeling I get whenever I wake up to a text message asking me to be his/her text mate.

Ah. Well. I guess it’s similar to getting into chatrooms huh? Maybe I’m just being anti-social, but really, I’d rather use up my cellphone load on people I already know.

How about you? Would you be willing to use up your load on getting text-mates?

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On a similar note… I attended a small get-together held by Aryty.Com in Makati last Saturday. Aryty.Com has been up for about a year already, but I think this is the only time they’re actually testing the viral effects of the blogosphere (they held the little party with the help of PinoyCentric).

Aryty screenshot with logo

So how’s this similar to text-messaging? Well, Aryty is a really cool web app that allows people in the US and Canada to directly send pre-paid cellphone load to a mobile number in the Philippines. I can’t help but say it’s totally cool… Wouldn’t you want to be the receiving end of the cellphone load? 😀 I would!

As I have said, I’m not an avid texter with text-mates. But I do spend a lot on load for long-distance texting to relatives and clients abroad. Although nothing still beats getting load from a nearby sari-sari store, I think a service like this could be quite popular among Filipinos working abroad and like to be regularly in touch with their families here in the Philippines. Like my aunts, for example. Dad always complained that long-distance texting is eating up his load… Well, he can now ask my aunts for load so he can text them regularly! Hehehe.

“Pasaload” and discounted pre-paid cards at nearby sari-sari stores would probably be the service’s main obstacles, but I think they would do quite well within the expat and the OFW communities. I’ve already designed online stores for clients where a person abroad can purchase online stuff like cake, mobile phones, cellphone load, chocolates, flowers etc., and have them delivered to a relative or a loved one here in the Philippines. They seemed to be doing quite well.

I honestly think Aryty is a great idea for a web app, and it seems rather profitable in the long run. Well, at least as long as the Philippines don’t run out of texters. Or expats don’t get tired sending load to their loved ones 😛

How about a “Donate me Load” widget for blogs, eh, Nils? 😀