When New Tools Require New Rules: Text Etiquette

Saturday, 24 March 2012 12:03 PM Written by 

Have you ever noticed how differently people text?  Or, how they respond to texts?

Some people write so much you wonder how they can crank out all that copy on a little phone.   Others simply reply with a curt note.  Yet others, use such a modified version of the English language you wonder what all their acronyms mean.

I personally wonder about those who “simply reply,” are they having a bad day, are they upset about something, or, why are they being so cold?

A New Lexicon

Those that over acronymize (acronym + economize) really aren’t making our text convo anymore efficient when I have to ask them what MIL (mother-in-law) might mean. Phone_Text_Msg

When I discuss this with my husband he thinks I’m reading into things too much but it came up the other day with my girlfriends and the conversation was very different, so I got to thinking about text etiquette.

There is actually a website entirely on the topic of text etiquette and it has an exceptional lexicon of abbreviations entirely alphabetized.  One of my new favorites is BBQ meaning “be back quickly.” I would have definitely confused that with food and grilling.  I also found this one WDALYIC  “who died and left you in charge” which is clearly used by the disgruntled, experienced texter.

What Would Emily Post Say?

Marie Claire has an article called, “5 Rules of Text Etiquette,” dedicated to the topic  of texting at the beginning of a romantic relationship or involved in a relationship.  How great that text etiquette niches exist too! For those of you who don’t click through all the links in a blog post here’s the most important nugget, “If you like a girl, ALWAYS text the day after the first date.” Along with don’t text before ever meeting in person unless it’s too arrange the details of a date.

For deeply detailed and even more niched information on post-dating etiquette a must read can be found on How About We on a post appropriately called “Post First Date Text Etiquette.” Unfortunately dear readers, one of their first rules counters Marie Clair’s, Under no circumstances should a man plan his second date with a woman through text.” So read up on the rules young lovers.

Who can write a post on etiquette without mentioning Emily Post, who by the way, loves texting! For those of us that feel that a text requires an immediate reply Emily says to reply either by phone or text as soon as you have a chance.

What's Your Text Personality?

When I think of my own texting habits and those of my fellow textees’ it becomes really clear that there are various personalities of texters.  You can really tell a lot about a person based on how they text.

I have one friend whom I can never reach for a live call. She only texts.  Sometimes I call her when she’s texting me but still no pick up.  To her defense she’s a mother of 4 less than 7 years of age so how could she have time to actually talk?

Girl_Texting_BicycleAnother friend will just randomly talk about her intimate feelings, physical conditions and any other thought or drama of the day via text.  The funny thing is she is just like that in person too.

Then there are those who use Siri (Apple concierge) to help them text and their messages may not exactly come out they way they intended.

I have relatives who randomly send me a single word text as reply to something I asked, emailed or sent days earlier.  The text “Thanks” on my phone 3 days after something I’ve done always leaves me thinking “huh?, for what?”

So keep one thing in mind when texting – keep it simple, but provide some context.  That’s how to keep it efficient for you and your texting friend. BBQ!









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