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“Textiquette” – the etiquette of texting

By Paul O’Reilly

According to Nielsen, over 2.5 billion text messages are now sent every day in the U.S. While the overwhelming majority of texts are sent by younger phone users, many parents and grand-parents are now also adopting texting as a convenient way to stay in touch with family and friends.

However, like making a phone call, sending an e-mail or writing a letter (remember letter-writing?), there are certain rules and standards that should be carefully followed. While these might come as a surprise to the average 15-year-old that typically sends 150 texts a day, they are worth keeping in mind as an older generation warily adopts yet another new form of communication.     

So here are some tips on the “etiquette of texting”:

Put your phone on vibrate or silent mode when you are texting back and forth with someone. Everyone doesn't need to hear your favorite ringtone every time a response comes back.
Beware of texting when out with friends. It is disrespectful and gives the impression that you aren't paying attention to the conversation. If you're expecting an urgent text, let the people you're with know in advance, just as you would for an important call.

Similarly, avoid texting at meal times or during family time. It sets a bad example and will encourage your kids to think that also have to be connected at all times.

Check the recipient's number one last time before you hit "send." A slip of the finger could easily send your boss an intimate text that was intended for your significant other!

Don't use texting to avoid talking to someone on the phone or seeing someone in person. This is especially important if the communication starts to get negative, since nuances are often lost in translation.

Don't get into the habit of marathon text conversations. If you need to use more than 100 characters or go back and forth, just send an e-mail or pick up the phone.

Although a certain amount of shorthand is acceptable (after all, isn’t that why we text in the first place?), avoid using too much text-speak or confusing emoticons, since not everyone will know what they mean.

Be careful to use the correct capitalization. As with e-mail, using ALL CAPS can be interpreted as yelling!

Never text while you are driving!

Don’t text late at night, particularly after you have had a couple of drinks! Whether your feelings for the other party are hostile, amorous or anything in between, late night, spur of the moment texts are never a good idea and can often be disastrous.

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