Appropriate vs. inappropriate uses for text messaging – Sofia SanPasquale

Text messaging etiquette is no different from etiquette in other communication mediums in our lives. Occasionally, people are thrown when new technology introduces a new way to keep in touch, but the most important thing to remember is that the manners you would normally use in a specific relationship also apply to text messaging.

For example, while it is acceptable to email your friends using abbreviations and informal language, it is unacceptable to email your boss or a company executive in the same way. Generally, a text message is a more informal means of communication and should be acknowledged as such. Text messaging can be a great way to start a follow-up conversation with someone you met at a bar or something, because it doesn’t warrant itself to the awkward silences that a regular telephone conversation does, and it is relatively immediate when compared to email-an email message requires a user to get to a computer and check their account, while most people carry their mobile phones with them. I would say that most conversations with authorities, like your boss, should be limited to actual phone calls or personal visits to his or her office, unless the message is short and simple, like “I’m running late, be there in 20 minutes.” In this way, a text message can be used as a courtesy, and this works with the friends you’re meeting for a lunch date too!

When a text exchange starts to get extensive, as in many text messages back and forth in a short period of time, that’s when it would be more appropriate for a call or visit to have the full conversation.

In my opinion, a late-night text is acceptable, because (1) I usually turn my phone off at night, or at least on a silent setting, so the incoming message won’t wake me up, and (2) it sure beats a drunk dial (just kidding). However, be warned that others may be offended or at least ticked off if they’re awakened by a text message at 2 a.m. on a matter that could have waited until morning.

As with other forms of communication, no threats or anything you wouldn’t say or do in person-text messages can come back to bite you perfectly, because the person you send them to has an exact image of what you’ve said. Also keep in mind that it is very easy for a text message to be misinterpreted, because you don’t get a feel for a person’s tone of voice, and being brief can also mean being vague.

As for more amorous text messages, a simple “I love you” can go a long way. Try to stay away from getting racy or vulgar; you never know who could stumble upon your girl’s phone inadvertently or otherwise. As long as you’re not texting your significant other in the middle of an office meeting to tell him or her how hot they look naked, use your own discretion and know what your comfort level is with the whole thing and you should be all set.

Be aware that it is probably not safe to text message while driving or doing similar activities that require all your attention, and in the state of New York it is illegal to be on a cell phone without a headset while driving.

Overall, use text messaging for:
-short exchanges
-courtesy messages
-informal settings.
Do NOT use text messaging for:
-long explanations or conversations
Don’t forget your common courtesies and manners!
Read more about the Author-Sofia SanPasquale