Text Etiquette and Knowing the Boundaries

Everyone is doing it these days, texting and messaging on social channels like Facebook have become a popular way to reach out and communicate. Being a marketing geek and lover of communication, I am all for connecting with others and sharing information. Whether we are talking on the telephone, sending an email or text message, the importance of communication has always been clear. Effective communication is an important life skill that enables us to better understand one another. Through words we gain trust, resolve our problems, share creative ideas and show that we care about one another.  No one debates the importance of communication, but there is an elephant in the room that needs to be discussed when it comes to texting and messaging one another, text etiquette.

We learned it quickly when we were kids when our parents would yell at us if a friend called after 9pm. Being one of six kids I heard the lecture multiple times that a call after 9pm was not appreciated or appropriate.  The same was said for a phone call to our home before 8am because it would wake my Dad who worked long hours and deserved to sleep when he could. So the elephant in the room is that not everyone today uses these same boundaries or rules of etiquette for their communication via text or message on Facebook. I am not someone who chooses to sleep with my phone so I am rarely subject to the negative side of random text and messages, but I have heard from numerous others who have their sleep disturbed from a weather alert text that goes off at 2am or an annoying chain message that comes via Facebook messenger at random times of the night.  We all love to hear from our friends, but a message late at night or in the early morning hours might not be appreciated.  Think about the message you are sending, the time of day and who you are sending it to. But sending texts at all hours of the night and day is not the only faux pas happening. The following is a list of 10 text etiquette to consider:

1.) Keep the message short, but clear to comprehend the intended meaning.

2.) Proofread. (Note that many cell phones have an auto-correct feature, but that feature appears to have a mind of its own when it changes a word completely to another word.  Proof before hitting send.)

3.) Don’t send a Group Text if possible, but if you are stuck on a Group text be kind by not replying to all.

4.) Add an ending to the text conversation so that there is a clear meaning that you are done.

5.) Don’t text in all caps. It not only is difficult to read, but it implies that the sender is angry.

6.) Don’t annoy people around you by texting in an inappropriate location. (movie theater, funeral, while driving, wedding ceremony, job interview, during a date, etc.)

7.) Don’t abbreviate or use text slang. Not everyone will know what you mean.

8.) NEVER text about a death or something that might upset the other person and would be better left to a face to face conversation.

9.) When texting a person you have not texted in a long time be sure to include who you are. Nothing is more aggravating than receiving a text and not knowing who it is from.

10.) Be kind, if you receive a text that is obviously meant for someone else alert the sender that you received it in error.