Have great fear. Tiger Text is here.
As if practicing fidelity wasn’t hard enough, somebody saw fit to create an mobile app that enables spousal misconduct. As if Tiger Woods didn’t already suffer the ignominy, the app is named after him. As if Elin Woods, Sam Alexis and Charlie Axel (their children) needed another reminder that the leading man in their life is flawed. As if entertainers and politicians and anybody else needed anymore help in faithlessness; now they have the James Bond of cheating apps.
Welcome to March 2010, where altered social relationships coincide with the sustained miniaturization of technology. It is the continued Apple takeover of our lives and perhaps most importantly, another manifestation of where capitalism, market demand (this is actually a demand) and technological capabilities meet.
Tiger Text founder Jeffrey Evans claims that the name was in place before the Tiger Woods hullabaloo and its use is not for clandestine philanderers. It’s about privacy.
“People text like they talk,” Evans told Time. “And some of the things they say, taken out of context, can come back to haunt them.”
Right. And my grandmother plays the lottery just because she wants to fund college students’ education.
With this free app, messages sent and received are deleted from both users’ phones. The user can set a time limit on texts staying in the phone. Had this been around two years ago, Kwame Kilpatrick might still be the mayor and Chris Brown wouldn’t be a verb for pugilism.
(Not that this matters much to women dirt-doers. For some reason, women don’t generally get caught through the mobile text. This is definitely a male-driven invention, which further proves why Evans statement is dubious).
But this isn’t about a value stance. Or them capitalizing off an inept cheating golfer. Or the blatant misinformation about this having nothing to do with Tiger Woods and everything to do with privacy.
This exposes a real issue of technology and relationships. When we live in a society that places non-market values of kindness, love, intimacy beneath the market values of buying and selling, exchange of goods and services, that is a society that presents serious obstacles about the ability for its people to create fulfilling families.
According to Pew Internet and American Life Project, African-Americans are the most active users of the mobile Internet. Family life in the black community is already in peril without the help of the mobile device.
It’s more apparent now than ever that technology is the Alpha in our lives. If you have a high-paying job, chances are that you spend more time in front of a computer screen than with your family.
We embrace the avatars and numerical digits in a virtual world and create personalities with them. The line between what it real and what is virtual is nonexistent. Consciously, a screen name may be a screen name to us. Subconsciously, it’s not as simple.
The subconscious is, in a sense, dumb. It operates based of our habits and does whatever we tell it to do. So if we spend more and more time socially connecting with someone through decrypted text, then what else would our “hardware” be trained to believe?
With Tiger Text, this exacerbates our dependency on innovation. Instead of being up front with each other, or at the very least being able to use intuition and common sense to evade “capture,” we now have an app to do for us what we should be able to do ourselves.
I don’t expect the Tiger Text to increase cheating. In fact, this will have the same effect that the recent SCOTUS ruling will have on political donations or the possible legalization of drugs. Businesses were going to always indulge in questionable campaign donations and people are going to always smoke weed or dip into nose candy.
No new ruling would change that. Infidelity is a muscle that people will always exercise.
The larger picture is the grip that technology has on our lives. Tiger Text is the latest in an accelerating trend toward mobile apps. The number of app downloads increased 80 percent last year. With increased reliance on technology comes a deification of it.
In fact, that moment has come. One doesn’t have to recognize a god for the god to exist. If that’s the case, we’re – the black community – like the blind man and the elephant: It’s a lot bigger than what we’ve got our hands on, we just can’t see it. Relationships are deteriorating. Marriages are declining. The nuclear family is becoming an anachronism. The educational system is still clinging to archaic curricula that is increasing the ever-present achievement gap.
The writing on the wall couldn’t be more legible: In the social world, technocracy rules. Relationships be damned.