Text Message and Texting Etiquette Rules

Text messaging is a way to communicate with others quickly and efficiently, but, just as rules and etiquette have emerged concerning e-mail, texting etiquette is important to follow. From how and where you send your text message to what you say, texting should be done the proper way. Be careful that all your communications with people are not sent via texting: There should be plenty of face-to-face (or at least voice-to-voice) contact in any relationship, whether business or personal.

Consider where you are text messaging. There is no excuse for texting while driving: It's dumb and dangerous. It's also considered rude to start texting when you are having a face-to-face conversation with someone. Appropriate times to text are when you have some time to pass, such as on the bus or in the doctor's waiting room. It's also fine to text when a live conversation via cell phone would disturb others, such as in a large auditorium or a library. Most movie theaters have rules against texting during the show, as the light emitted is annoying and distracting for other patrons.

When texting, think about the message you are sending. It is difficult to capture a tone via e-mail or text message, so be straightforward and clear. Sarcasm, for example, is difficult to convey, so steer clear when texting to ensure that your message will be understood. While a few well-known slang texts are OK to use, leave the heavy-duty coding to teens. Especially if you are texting for business purposes, stick to simple words and sentences that clearly convey your intent. Always use correct punctuation and grammar when texting and never text in ALL CAPS (the equivalent of shouting). Also, avoid forwarding spam via text messaging since it's just as unwanted as e-mail spam.

Use texting appropriately. Texting is considered a casual form of communication and therefore should be used to chat with friends and family on a personal level. It's even appropriate to use it in a business setting under the right circumstances, such as sales reps coordinating where they will meet up or to communicate on a factory floor, where noise is an issue. However, keep the casual nature of the communication in mind.

Text messaging should never be used for anything formal, such as invitations or initial contacts. It should also never be used to deliver bad news to someone. It is poor etiquette to use texting for any important conversations, such as breaking up with a significant other or sending condolences to someone. Such conversations must be done face to face.

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