Parents, What Are Your Teens REALLY Texting

What are your teens really texting?  What are they actually saying to each other?

In this day and age, kids and teens have their own texting language.  Gone are the simple days when all you needed to know was LOL and BRB.  IDK where the time went!  Back in the day we chatted with our BFF’s and thought our texting lingo was the coolest thing ever!

Emojis

But the texting lingo is becoming more and more elaborate—and potentially dangerous.  For example, your teen’s innocent-looking emojis might be symbolic of drug use:

  • Puff of smoke emoji = marijuana
  • Green plant emojis = weed
  • Pencil emoji = joint
  • Mushroom emoji = general reference to drugs

Drug Euphemisms

In addition to emojis, other texting lingo that references drugs includes:

  • CID = acid
  • 710 = marijuana
  • Lean = drinking cough syrup
  • Loud = marijuana

Sexual References

Some seemingly harmless abbreviations and phrases can have shocking meanings behind them:

  • GNOC = get naked on camera
  • CU46 = see you for sex
  • Netflix and chill = having sex

Harmless Abbreviations

Beyond those more serious codes, teens have a whole dictionary full of slang texting language that they use to communicate harmlessly with peers:

  • JFJ = jump for joy
  • ROFL = rolling on the floor laughing
  • SMS = shaking my head

Bottom Line

Parents need to be informed as to what their kids are actually communicating to their peers.  Warning signs can pass right by you if you’re not careful.  Even if you’re monitoring your kids’ messages, what they’re really saying can be lost to you.  At the same time, you don’t want to be paranoid and lose your cool.

It’s up to you to find the balance between having a healthy concern for your child’s wellbeing and being overprotective.  It’s not always an easy balance, but you can do it!  Keep open communication with your kids and make sure you stay on top of things.

6 tips to avoid miscommunication in your text messages

Although texting is a convenient and useful means of communication, it admittedly opens the door for misunderstanding more than many other communication avenues.  The brevity, lack of body language, and lack of tone of voice can all contribute to confusion if we’re not careful.  Even emojis can be misinterpreted.  But never fear!  Simply follow these basic steps to help avoid miscommunication in your text messages (and avoid the awkward situations that might result!).

  1. Be precise.

Say exactly what you mean.  Don’t assume that your recipients will automatically follow your line of thinking.  What is obvious to you may not be obvious to the person on the other end of your text message!  Be clear about what you’re trying to say.

  1. Get to the point.

Although you should clearly specify exactly what you mean, you should also make sure you don’t go overboard on the wordage.  Don’t be overly flowery or long in your description.  Be as brief as possible while also being as clear as possible.

  1. Proofread.

Before you hit “Send,” look over your message for any mistakes in grammar, spelling, or punctuation that might make it confusing for your recipients to understand.  Read the whole message to yourself to make sure it makes sense!

  1. Know your recipients.

It’s important to be aware of your recipients and how they might react to what you’re saying.  A 75-year-old retiree might interpret things differently than a 20-year-old college student.

  1. Slow down.

Don’t be in a rush to send your message out!  Slowing down and paying careful attention to what you’re doing can help avoid mistakes.  It can also help you be more thoughtful in your approach.

  1. Keep your message as one text.

As much as possible, you should try to keep your messages from splitting up into two or more texts.  Not only do people generally dislike receiving and reading longer texts, having your message split can also create confusion as different parts of the message are not always delivered in the correct order.

 

Following these tips will significantly increase your ability to communicate effectively via texting!  Be confident in your ability to get your text messages across without any confusion.

Presidential Campaigns Find Texting Vital

Is texting important?  Is it an effective way to connect with an audience?  The 2016 presidential candidates seem to think so.

An article from Inverse.com compared and contrasted Hillary Clinton’s, Bernie Sanders’s, and Donald Trump’s use of text messaging during the recent New York primary.

NPR’s Take

NPR’s Scott Detrow also had a lot to say on the subject.  He said that “more and more than previous elections, you’re seeing campaigns really focus on text messages as a key way to contact voters,” and he used Clinton’s campaign as an example.  He continued:

So they’re asking people to turn over their phone numbers to the campaign. And then from that point forward, they’re sending a constant stream of information to these voters, providing information like future events and where to caucus, but also asking for money, things like that.

Ditching Landlines and Phone Calls

This kind of texting campaign provides easy marketing to help each candidate gain support.  The steady flow of information to potential voters keeps the populace in the loop and is a constant reminder of who the candidate is, when and where they will be speaking, and what they stand for.  NPR’s report went on:

[I]ncreasingly, many campaigns see text messages as a primary way of getting in touch with voters. You know, more and more people are ditching landlines, more and more younger voters just have a lot of conversations on text and hardly ever call people.

Email and Internet

This statement should come as no surprise to most of us.  It’s plain to see that less people are using landlines or even calling in general.  But what about email?  Isn’t email an effective way to reach out to people?  Detrow addressed that as well:

E-mail is antiquated for a lot of young people. And many people access the Internet primarily through their phones. So because of that, a lot of campaigns are thinking hard about how to make these text message blasts seem like real conversations, real one-on-one conversations, which studies have shown are more effective at persuading people.

 

The bottom line is that the presidential candidates recognize that texting is the way of the future for them to connect with their supporters.  Each of the candidates would do well to invest in this vital means of reaching out to people.

What about you?  Are you investing in the potential of text messaging?

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Churches make up a huge portion of our customers.  Many of you are loyal customers that use our text alert services for your churches, and we are so thankful for you all!

Recognizing the ever-growing need for a text alert system among churches across the nation, we are excited to announce a new development in Mobile Text Alerts’ future: an additional, church-specific text alert system!

We are still in the brainstorming process of this new development, and we need the help of our customers!  For those of you who use text alerts for your church:

  • What are some features we could include that would be useful to you?
  • What improvements would you like to see to help make communication with your church better and easier?
  • What aspects of our current services would you like to see changed to better suit the needs of your church?
  • What do you like about our current system that you would want to remain the same in a church-specific system?

Feel free to give any feedback in the comments below, or send us an email at contact@mobile-text-alerts.com.  You can also visit our Contact page.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Tips and Tricks for Uploading Subscribers-2

The ability to import subscribers from a pre-existing list is a useful feature of your Mobile Text Alerts system.  Although the process is simple enough, here are 5 tips and tricks to help save you time and frustration.

  1. Make sure your column headings are in the right format.

The only necessary column heading is a PhoneNumber heading (under which you must list the phone numbers you would like to upload).  Optional column headings you can add include FirstName, LastName, GroupName, and Email.  The order in which these headings appear on your spreadsheet does not make a difference.

  1. Create your groups on your account before you upload.

Some people assume that including group names on their uploaded list will automatically create the groups on their account.  However, uploading your spreadsheet will not actually create any groups but will place your subscribers into groups that already exist on the account.  If the groups do not already exist on the account, then the subscribers will not be placed into any group.

  1. If your spreadsheet won’t upload, copy and paste the values into another spreadsheet.

If you are having difficulty getting your spreadsheet to upload, one thing you can try is to copy and paste the values into another spreadsheet.  The steps to do this include:

  • Select all the cells in your spreadsheet
  • Right-click and select “Copy”
  • Open up another spreadsheet
  • Right-click and select “Paste Special -> Values” to paste the values into the new spreadsheet
  • Save and upload the 2nd spreadsheet

This process can help get rid of any formatting in your spreadsheet that may be hindering the upload.

  1. If you uploaded a spreadsheet but forgot to include some information, don’t erase all the subscribers that you just uploaded.

Sometimes our customers will upload their sheets and then after the numbers are added to the account they may realize that they forgot to include a group name or an email or some other piece of information.  When this happens, some people think that they must delete all of the subscribers they just uploaded so that they can start again and try to re-upload.  This is not necessary.

The system is designed to not upload any duplicates, so if you need to add any information to subscribers on the account all you need to do is add that information onto your spreadsheet and then upload again.  The system will not add duplicates but will instead update the information for any existing numbers on the account.

  1. Break larger spreadsheets into smaller chunks.

If you have a larger spreadsheet to upload (a sheet of several thousand numbers or more), the process can sometimes take a little while.  And if something happens to interrupt the upload, such as the internet connection timing out or you accidentally exiting out of the window, you may be left frustrated.  Although the system should pick up where it left off when you attempt to upload again (and it won’t upload any duplicates), you still might find it easier to keep track of things if you break your larger spreadsheet up into smaller chunks and upload each chunk at a time.

 

As always, if you ever have any questions or issues feel free to let us know at contact@mobile-text-alerts.com or on our Contact page!

There are many upgrades available to you in addition to your normal Mobile Text Alerts services.  The “Upgrades” page on your Control Panel gives you a list of upgrades you can purchase.

upgrades- navigation bar

All Upgrades

Clicking the “All Upgrades” link will give you a list of all upgrades available at a glance.

all upgrades

You can click on the link for each upgrade to get further explanation.

 

Shortcode Keywords

Included with your Mobile Text Alerts account is a keyword on our long code (662-200-4303). Sometimes, it is more convenient for your subscribers to be able to text in to a number that is a little shorter.  For $15/month you can purchase a keyword on the number 48421. This will allow your subscribers to text your keyword to 48421. This tends to increase subscription rates by making it easier for your subscribers to add themselves to receive your messages.

Clicking on the shortcode keyword link will take you to a page in which you can type out and purchase your desired shortcode keyword:

purchase shortcode

When you click “Purchase Keyword,” your request will be processed and we will contact you when your shortcode keyword is set up and ready to go.

 

MMS Messages

When you send out a normal text message, it is called an SMS (Short Message Service). SMS messages are great for text, but it isn’t possible to send images or audio files this way. MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. Sending an MMS allows you to include pictures, video, or audio content in your message.

With our MMS message service, you can select a file from your computer and “attach” it to the message. When it is sent, your recipients will receive not only the message you enter, but also the image, video, or audio clip that you attached to the message.

Clicking the link for MMS messages will take you to a page from which you can select an MMS package for purchase:

mms packages

Click “Sign Up Now” for any of these plans to purchase it as addition to your regular service.

 

Phone Alerts

“Phone Alerts” allow you to send out mass voice messages that you record.  This is ideal for subscribers who do not have access to text messaging, or in situations where voice recorded messages would be more appropriate than a text message.

After signing up for a phone alerts account with Mobile Text Alerts, you are able to call in to our system, record a message, and then send it out to your subscribers from your Mobile Text Alerts control panel.

Clicking the link for phone alerts will take you to a page from which you can select a phone alerts package for purchase:

phone alerts plans

Click “Sign Up Now” for any of these plans to purchase it as addition to your regular service.

 

Mobile Surveys

With mobile surveys, you can send out an SMS text message that allows for multiple responses. When your recipients reply the message with one of the available responses, the totals are counted up and reported back to you.

You can see an example of how this works here.

Clicking on the mobile surveys link will take you to a page from which you can select a mobile surveys package for purchase:

mobile surveys plans

(Note: For these plans, 1 survey is equal to a message sent to 1 subscriber.  For example, 500 surveys could be 1 message sent to 500 people or 2 messages sent to 250 people.)

Click “Sign Up Now” for any of these plans to purchase it as addition to your regular service.

 

Text-to-Speech

Our text-to-speech feature allows you to type in a message that our text-to-speech system will read to your subscriber when they answer their phone.

You simply type in the message you would like to send and click ‘Send.’ The Mobile Text Alerts system will call all the recipients of the message, and will read the message that you typed out.

You can select from one of the following text-to-speech plans:

text-to-speech plans

 

Other Upgrades

Some other upgrades we have done for customers include:

  • Additional keywords
  • Happy birthday texts
  • API access
  • Custom phone numbers for sending text messages
  • Custom text-in numbers
  • Added fields for subscriber information
  • Automatic inclusion of subscriber names in messages
  • Custom text messaging projects

Feel free to contact us if you ever have any questions or need more information!