We live in a text-happy world. Everyone from 8-year-olds to 88-year-olds seems to be texting!
Despite the prevalence of texting throughout society, many people still misuse and abuse it in their everyday lives. (I suppose it should come as no surprise; people have abused words as long as language has been around!)
We need some guidelines and some steadiness to help keep us grounded as to the best practices of everyday texting. Here are 6 tips that I found useful.
- Don’t be wordy.
The Jewish Exponent emphasizes how your text messages should be short and sweet. Text messaging is generally not the proper medium if you have long and complicated information you are trying to communicate to your friends, family, and associates.
“If your text reads more like a novel than a haiku, you’ll need to learn to control those thumbs,” says Ashley Papa of Fox News Magazine.
As mentioned in our previous post about crafting the perfect text alert, recipients get annoyed and bored when your messages are too long and too wordy. No one wants to read a text message that’s been split into seven!
- Don’t send “angry texts.”
I cannot emphasize this point enough. DO NOT SEND ANGRY/UPSET/EMOTIONAL TEXTS! The kinds of issues that warrant these texts should be discussed in person or at the very least via phone.
Angry texts will do nothing to strengthen your relationship with the other person and can, in fact, severely hurt said relationships.
Jewish Exponent contributor explains, “The last time I sent an angry text, my friend did not respond at all, which was the perfect reaction and of course her painful silence was exactly what I deserved. Whether or not I was justified in my original anger became beside the point. Never text in a rage. You will always be in the wrong.”
Again, I emphasize DO NOT SEND ANGRY TEXTS!
- Don’t take an unreasonable amount of time to reply.
Yes, we all know “that guy” – the guy (or girl) who takes FOREVER to reply. Sometimes it takes them days, weeks, or even months to respond to your text message (I am not exaggerating; this has happened to me personally).
Don’t be that guy.
Taylor Jankowski of the Butler Collegian suggests that “it’s common courtesy to reply to a message as soon as possible.” While I’m not sure if “as soon as possible” is entirely necessary, I do agree that it is courteous to respond promptly. Don’t take ten hours to reply when you could have easily replied within one hour.
- Don’t use too much incorrect grammar and punctuation.
Obviously it is unrealistic to expect everyone to use perfect grammar and punctuation all the time. But if you are constantly misusing the English language it can get extremely confusing for people trying to figure out what you are actually trying to say.
Patrick Allan of Lifehacker.com discusses how incorrect grammar can in certain cases “[make] the sender seem unintelligent and lazy” and Jankowski points out how skipping certain punctuation marks can cause your messages to be misconstrued.
- Don’t overuse emojis and emoticons.
Emojis (or is the plural “emoji”?) and emoticons can be fun and useful for aiding in communication in the absence of body language. They can really help let your recipients understand your intended tone for your message. The overuse of emojis and emoticons, however, can come across as annoying, unnecessary, and childish.
The Jewish Exponent states that, “You shall not use an emoji when the situation calls for words.” I think those are wise words to live by.
- Don’t be negative.
As Fox News Magazine references, texting is not the proper medium to unload all of your frustrations about life. It’s best to avoid whiney, complaining, or fearful messages.
Negativity can be draining enough when confronted face-to-face, and no one needs it inscribed in their phones. Just like with angry texts, if you need to have a negative conversation, do so in person.
While we’ve all been guilty of some (or all) of these from time to time, if we make it a point to avoid these pratfalls in our texting conversations, our relationships can only benefit! So text smart, friends.