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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

3 Rules For Texting

Remember when text messaging just seemed like too much of a hassle? When it was the sort of thing that only the kids who were busy customizing ring tones and decorating the outsides of their phones with rhinestones were doing? Back then, sending 160 character notes to our friends seemed just a shade more mature than passing them a handwritten version in homeroom while the teacher’s back was turned and with only slightly more utility than ten or so numbers you could get on an old school pager. But, alas it has become a text messaging world.

The once impersonal cell phone call has become surprisingly intimate in this brave new era of communications. While the previously benign SMS message has become a staple of modern conversation – and the latest smart phones have made it even simpler than its nearly antique predecessor, the e-mail. As with all forms of communications – text messaging has become nearly ubiquitous (i.e. my dad does it), and just like the others, seems to have its own secret rule book. So here they are, the 3 essential rules for text messaging:

1. The Unwashed Masses. Despite what you think, a mass text message is easier to sniff out than a checking scam in an e-mail from a “Nigerian bank official”. These are a bad idea to begin with. Because, the chances that you are important enough to warrant this form of communicating with friends are slim enough; and if you are, you probably don’t need to worry about text etiquette, anyways. For the rest of us, if you can’t help yourself, just be sure not to include anyone that you have a dream of seeing naked. Or else a dream is all it will ever be.

2. End of the Road. Unlike regular conversations, it’s hard to know when a text conversation is over. This is because of a variable amount of time between each message. Some say they never really end, and you can pick them up or leave them as life dictates (as if that's somehow the best part about them). However, even the simplest of things in excess can become tedious. For those text partners who can’t seem to get the hint, an unaccompanied smiley face (just like in person) always seems to do the trick.

3. The Stalker Number. The number of texts you are allowed to send without a response is three. If the other person hasn’t responded by then, they either can’t or won’t. Seriously, put the phone down and step slowly away. Your phone does a thousand other things and now is the time to do one of them. If your phone doesn't do a thousand other things, wake up and smell the 2010. Honestly, your vintage flip phone is about as cool as wearing leg-warmers or a Swatch watch. As a good rule of thumb, if you're wondering whether you've sent too many texts, you have.

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The one great thing to come out of text messaging is how valuable it has made the actual phone call. Marginal phone skills notwithstanding, the time you take to dial a number and actually speak can say more than you could ever hope to with your catchy acronyms and cute emoticons, and that's before you've even said a word. The world's gotten impersonal enough, give your thumbs a rest, and use that phone for what it was intended for the first place: making a connection.


Karen Soltero said...
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Jen and Tonic said...

Karen took the words out of my mouth. My friend sent a naked picture of herself to her GRANDPA who was, at the time, in the hospital dealing with heart issues. The whole thing was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Your first rule was spot on. I was at dinner with friend a couple of years ago when all of our phones went off at the same time. A friend sent a mass text that said, "Hey, I was just thinking about how long it has been since I've seen you. Let me know if you're free tonight because it's always awesome to hang out with you." That would have been flattering if it had just been sent to one person, but it clearly showed that the "friend" didn't have any plans and was looking for the first taker.

Anonymous said...

Texting drives me nuts sometimes. Have you ever had a text fight? You can never really tell someones tone when you are texting. I have gotten into more arguments than I can count just from that.

I also love when someone sends you a text that wasnt meant for you. Bryant sent me a wonderful text that was intended for his girlfriend at the time. I was able to pick on him for DAYS!!


Anonymous said...

Not only has texting made conservations seem more valuable, but it has turned email back into the letter equivalent. Email is now for when people have something serious to say, it seems.


andrew speaker said...

gotta check the 'to' field, like when one of my divorce clients brought up the text his wife had sent saying she had a great time with him last night when he was out of town........... at least it's fun to bring up at mediations

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