Text messaging is an extraordinary tool that lets us communicate quickly and efficiently when a phone call, email or personal contact is not possible or necessary. But, there is a time and a place for everything. And following a few loose ‘rules’ will help ensure you aren’t perceived as rude or annoying and your text messages are well-received.
Does your recipient text?
First of all, make sure your recipient has a phone that receives text messages without additional charges or at all, for that matter. Believe it or not, there are still a number of people with traditional call-only cellular phones and /or service plans. And, some simply prefer not to engage in text messaging. If in doubt, place a phone call instead.
When and Where Are You Texting?
Text at appropriate times. No one wants to be enjoying dinner at a restaurant or watching a movie with a friend who can’t seem to put his or her phone down. A good rule of thumb? If is not an appropriate time to make a call, it is likewise not a good time to be texting.
Keep texting from your place of employment or during work hours to a minimum. There is a reason they do not allow texting in most schools. The same guidelines should be followed in a work environment. Texting can be a quick way to check on your kids after school or let someone know you’re working late, but unless your job requires it, ongoing texting throughout the day will likely be frowned upon.
What Do You Really Want to Say?
When texting close friends and family members you can be more lax, but if sending general texts, it is best not to engage in too many shortcuts, i.e. ROTFL, etc.
Do not text in all capital letters unless you mean it. This practice is commonly perceived as the equivalent to yelling.
There are certain messages that should not be conveyed through a text. If you have to relay bad news or if you are ending a relationship, for example, it is in poor taste to communicate via text message.
Texting is considered a casual form of contact. Never send an invitation or make a first-time introduction via text message.
Avoid forwarding jokes or any form of spam via text message. These are even less kindly received by text than they are by email. Most people don’t have the time, money or wherewithal to deal with ‘junk-mail’ texts.
Be careful with your tone. Just as in email, sometimes it is difficult to express your emotion in a text. The brevity of a text message makes this even harder. Choose your words carefully to avoid them being misconstrued.
Texting Should Not Replace Communicating
Don’t send text messages in place of actual communications with family and friends. While it is a great way to keep in touch and communicate quickly, texting should not be relied upon to maintain your personal relationships.
Always Be Safe
Never, under any circumstances, text while driving. This is less a matter of etiquette and more a matter of personal safety, but it warrants mentioning every time texting is discussed. Your safety and that of other drivers and pedestrians depends on it.
Jared Billings is an iPhone fanatic and school teacher working in Miami. Jared is constantly encouraging his students and associates to proof their grammar and sentence structure using a grammar checker. He also regularly takes advantage of Miami printing when it comes to his schoolwork.