Teen texter from Toronto is all thumbs ahead of world championships in New York


Sat Jan 9, 5:42 PM

By The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Dexterously thumbing a sentence in under four seconds flat is a skill that has bestowed Kathy Spence the illustrious title of Canada’s fastest texter, but now the nimble-fingered teen will have to try something new if she hopes to win the world title.

She’ll have to use proper punctuation.

“The reason why I’ve been practising my punctuation is that I don’t usually use it a lot when I’m texting,” said the 17-year-old, sheepishly shrugging her shoulders and laughing.

For Spence “really” is actually “rly” in text-talk, “because” looks more like “bc” and punctuation is optional.

Having to avoid these shortcuts nearly stumped Spence last summer when she competed in the LG Canadian Texting Championships in Toronto, but the tech-savvy teen managed to plow through the irritating commas and laborious exclamation marks to win $25, 000 and a top spot at the international competition.

Spence is heading to New York City Jan. 13 to take part in the Mobile World Cup where she will have to compete against some of the world’s fastest texters.

Contestants from thirteen different countries will face off against each other for a chance to win US$100,000.

For Spence, the road to text champion began when she entered a contest at a local mall last year.

Officials were impressed with the bubbly teen’s ability to whiz through a text, as she hammered out one sentence in under four seconds.

“I was running around the house screaming,” Spence said, about her reaction after receiving a call from an organizer who informed the teen that she had made it through round one of the competition.

Spence went on to beat out contestants from across the country last June by texting “Of course you can say it backwards, which is Suoicodilaipxecitsiligarfilacrepus!”

At the time, Spence’s practice regimen consisted of sending about 200 text messages a day to friends and family, a training schedule that got her into trouble with her parents who preferred she focus more on her homework.

Spence, who normally sends about 2,000 text messages a month, has continued to stretch her thumbs out over the past few months by sending out text messages to friends and family.

“I’m into texting now too,” said Spence’s mom, who is also named Kathy Spence.

“When I text her and she doesn’t respond. I say ‘you are slow, I’m faster than you’,” the older Spence said laughing.

Amy Konecnik, 17, from Saskatoon was the runner-up in last year’s competition and will also be joining Spence in New York on Thursday.


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