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To Text or Not to Text

To Text or Not to Text

Just about everyone does it. Know the right and wrong ways to text effectively

By FamilyTime

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As a form of communication, texting seems here to stay — or at least until the next technological advance comes along. Whether you send dozens of texts a day or only when forced to (usually by a text-happy child), there are some rules to make it more effective.

As helpful as it might be for you to understand texting etiquette, it’s equally important your kids do, too. Texting is social interaction, albeit casual, and anytime we engage others, there are ways to do it right — and not so right.

Here are some texting do’s and don’ts:

Do keep texts short and casual. Like a Tweet, a text should be relatively brief and to the point. Longer messages should be emailed or phoned.

Don’t communicate important news via text. This includes bad news, business dealings, and emotional utterances.

Do consider some texts preludes to longer conversations — be they on the phone, in person, or via email.

Don’t expect immediate responses. Just because you are in a position to text someone does not mean she will be able to answer you right away. If it’s important, call.

Do use correct spelling and grammar, when possible. It’s okay to shorten a few words now and then, but leave the cute text vocabulary to the kids, who change it so quickly you can’t keep up with it anyhow.

Don’t text when you wouldn’t call. In other words, don’t text during meetings, in church, at the movies, or in class. You may think it’s a silent way to communicate, but others will be distracted by it. In a darkened theater, your phone’s light is annoying.

Do check the number you are calling. It’s easy to hit the wrong contact on a small phone and then dash off a text.

Don’t send texts without identifying yourself unless you are certain the recipient will know who you are. Announce your identity up front in the message.

Do respond to mistaken texts. Let the sender know you got the text in error.

Don’t text anything embarrassing, confidential or too personal. Texts are not as private as you might believe.

Do pay attention to your tone. The recipient may not “get” sarcasm or hyperbole. Keep texts simple and straightforward.

Don’t text in front of others. If you are talking to someone or sitting with a group, don’t text. There are exceptions to this, but for the most part, don’t text if you wouldn’t make a call in the same situation. It’s just rude.

Do respond to your text messages in a timely manner. You don’t have to respond in kind; you could call or email.

Don’t — and this is the most important of them all — text while driving. Ever. Never. No exceptions.

Texting is great. It’s quick, immediate, saves time, and keeps us in touch. Do it right, be considerate of others, and you will get the most from this speedy form of communication.

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