Messaging etiquette is such a mystery to me. Some of the brightest people I know professionally and otherwise use letters to stand for words. For instance thru for through U for you. Cum for come. W for with. C u tomor. Whas up w tht? It seems to be the cool thing to do, to let the reader guess what you’re trying to convey. I understand about not using periods at the end of a message, but it can come off looking as though you’re missing out on a detail. Pls give us sum messagin etiquette guidelines cause its gettin out a han n drivin me crzy.
How do I know if my message is annoyingly too long? How long do I have to wait before I answer? If I don’t shorten words does that mean I’m not cool?
–Steven, Boston, MA
Hi Steven. I get it. Thanks for your question about messaging etiquette. Communication has evolved rapidly into its own kind of pig Latin. It’s not really shorthand, it’s lazy. This morning I got these two messages: Sounds good, will c u @11:30AM! Then another: Kate is in 4 jus the 2 of u!
Whether it’s GIFs or stickers and emojis, time is marching on to a different beat. In many ways texting is succeeding in crossing cultures, but it is also dumbing us down. It doesn’t always help with autocorrect which can interpret the wrong word and, whoops, you’re embarrassed reading it back after sending. Here are points to consider when texting:
- When texting professionally, act in a professional manner. Be sure to spell out important facts–such as date, time, place, address, and name–mainly to verify that you’re on the same page about meeting up or reaching a deadline, etc.
- Be sure to identify yourself with the name the person is known to call you, if your name doesn’t appear in the lead of the text. For instance if they know you by your maiden name, but you’re using a business phone, then sign the text by your name.
- Texting with friends, by all means let your hair down, just be sure to clarify any pertinent info or you could end up at the wrong meeting place and/or at the wrong time, and that would be a real time waster.
- Answer a text with a text as soon as possible, because we all have busy lives and promptness is polite. Nobody wants to spend time checking their spam mail for your return text.
- On that note, be nice. Treat the person you’re texting as you wish to be treated yourself.
- Monitor the length of your text. If you have more to stay break your message up into sentences to send one at a time. If it is still too long, write an email. Or simply divide up a long text into smaller ones.
- If using symbols and emojis are part of your style, then use them, but not professionally, if you don’t know how the recipient will react to your cuteness or marvelous sense of humor.
- When waiting on info to forward, such as hooking up for drinks with friends and you’re all deciding where and when, be patient about not receiving a quick reply.
- On the other hand, if you’re driving or in a meeting and can’t text back promptly, when you have the time to text back say, “I was driving, yes, Tuesday at noon, tomorrow, at the Black Pearl sounds fun.”
- As in a phone call, where it’s polite for the person making the call to take on the responsibility of ending the call politely: the person who initiates the texting ends that text thread of the texting. Otherwise, like when a phone call gets boring, so does a long thread of texts.
Do text me any questions about texting,
or otherwise, at #917-816-0800.
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