Texting has become one of the most popular forms of communication. I know, because since I started writing this sentence, I’ve received five text messages and one of them wasn’t even intended for me.
As with all technological advances, texting has its challenges, one of which is knowing when not to answer texts — which is why I’m only into my second paragraph. However, I’ve scheduled a dentist appointment, arranged today’s carpool and confirmed dinner plans for the weekend.
Texting has not only changed the way we communicate, but it’s also changed our sense of what’s appropriate. Here are six dos and don’ts to help you better manage your texting habits.
1. Proofread your text before you hit send. There’s no ‘unsend’ button, which I learned the hard way when my daughter went off to college and a week later I texted her:
Me: Did you get oiliness?
Daughter: What? What are you talking about?
Me: Did you get cookies! Darn autocorrect! Did you get the cookies I sent you?
2. Double-check whom you’re sending a text to before you send it. We’ve all done it — sent someone a personal text intended for someone else. Last week I texted my son a message explaining where he could find extra cash in my pocketbook. It turns out I sent the text to his tennis instructor.
3. Keep it brief. If your text takes up so much of your screen that you have to scroll down to proofread it, it probably means you should have had a phone conversation instead.
1. Text sensitive information. Texting is the most informal form of communication. It is not an appropriate method to say to your husband, There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you . . . I’m pregnant! Texting should be reserved for more mundane messages such as: See you at the boring meeting tonight at 7 p.m. Or, if you follow rule #1 and proofread your message: See you at the board meeting tonight at 7 p.m.
2. Text in the presence of others. Texting may be convenient, but if it’s done in the company of others, it’s rude. My own kids used to break our ‘no texting at the table’ rule by sneaking texts under the table. That finally stopped when I bought a glass top table.
3. Text and walk. We all know the dangers of texting and driving, but texting and walking is also unsafe. A few years ago I read in the news that a teenage girl was walking along a New York street reading a text and fell into an open manhole. She landed in four inches of raw sewage. Texting while walking can be dirty business.
Practicing proper texting etiquette is as easy as 1, 2 3. Proofread, double check and keep it brief. Don’t allow autocorrect to turn your ‘dos and don’ts’ into ‘dos and donuts!’
Lisa Tognola is a freelance writer from New Jersey. She blogs at http://mainstreetmusingsblog.com, where she reflects on life in the suburbs—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
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