3 On Your Side

Text messaging craze turning into 'infotainment'

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(Source: 123 RF) (Source: 123 RF)
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In this mobile device/social media world, our brains fluently process information in tiny snippets.

Heck, even our new president communicates in 140 characters at a time!

So, it’s no surprise the next generation of apps is taking texting beyond basic communication. Just ask Katie Klein. The young professional loves the idea of using texting technology in other areas of her life.

“It’s only natural that the way we consume information, whether it’s in the news space, or in the form of literature, it kind of takes the form of a text conversation,” she says.

That’s right—literature in the form of a text. It’s part of the texting 2.0 trend. One of the apps Katie uses is called Hooked. Basically, you read a story as if you are peeking in on a fictitious text conversation.

“It felt kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure story,” Katie explains.

Genres range from love to mystery. A similar app is Frequency—a text-based survival game.

If news is more your niche, Katie  scrolls through Quartz. The app delivers news in conversational, text-sized pieces.

Professor Amy Gonzales specializes in the effect of digital media on society. She says, “I think an app like Quartz, which condenses news, can be very beneficial because it speeds up our access to news, but the downside may be this loss of nuance and loss of depth.”

Gonzales says she’s not surprised that texting technology and entertainment are merging. “There is evidence that the brevity and condensed form of text messaging is, ironically, especially emotionally, influential.”

As for those story apps that allow you to peer in on pretend text conversations, Gonzales sees them as harmless entertainment as opposed to being voyeuristic.

Overall, Katie likes that these text apps fit into her busy schedule.  “I think we need to rely on things that serve up information on a quicker pace.”

Most of the apps we looked into were free, although some required payment for unlimited or premium use.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

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Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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