Fast fingers: CBU texting champion

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Sarah Jane O’Keefe – Reese Gonzalez displays his texting skills at the annual texting competition put on by the LG Corp. He won a $100 prize for his performance.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’m going to be in a texting competition?” For Reese Gonzales, senior mathematics major, this idea arose three years ago and has transpired into an annual pursuit.

Since 2010, Gonzales has participated in the annual texting competitions put on by LG Corp., and consecutively the prize money he has earned each year has grown from $50 to $75 to $100. Gonzales is currently ranked as one of the top-200 fastest texters in the nation.

It all began with his EnV “flip brick style” phone in high school. Right around the time he upgraded to the EnV3, he was notified that Facebook would be promoting a texting competition for LG, and the grand prize winner would receive $50,000. Without hesitation, Gonzales signed up for the challenge.

“Facebook had a page and you’d go to the national texting competition page,” Gonzales said. “I entered in the contest, registered my name and my phone, and then every week you text a (certain phrase or word that is played) on the screen and you have to text it back; you have a certain amount of time, and it registers it, and they track you … weekly through Facebook.”

The competition is based on accuracy, speed and punctuation.

“Whatever they had on the screen it had to be exact — it could be a long phrase, a short phrase,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales sends about 10,000 text messages a month and receives about that much. That averages to about 300 per day and four characters a second.

After getting a taste of the texting competition his first year, he decided to make a second attempt for that $50,000 cash prize. In his second year, he upped his speed by 0.5 seconds and walked away with a $75 cash prize.

In his most recent competition, Gonzales used his iPhone 4S and won a $100 American Express gift card.

Although a competition like this may seem straightforward, it continues to become more advanced each year. Now with the addition of blind texting, in which a person has something over his or her eyes and he or she cannot see what is being typed. The overall grand prize winner will be eligible to compete on an international level at the World Cup, where texters around the world will gather to battle for another $50,000 cash prize.

Gonzales has yet to make it this far in the competition; however, he continues to relish in his national ranking. “For something I do for fun, I feel I’m accomplished … (and) am very content with being top-200 in the nation of fastest texters,” he said.

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