Friday, March 13, 2009

Play It Safe: Text Messaging Do's & Don'ts

Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 2:28 pm
By: Te-Erika Patterson,

So you just upgraded your cell phone plan by adding unlimited text messaging. No more rationing out your texts and getting frustrated when you can’t text back. You now have instant access to everyone you know at any time of the day or night. Don’t go buckwild and think you can do whatever you want to do. Just like with everything else, rules do apply. Slow down, pay attention, and take heed to the following do's and don'ts of text messaging.

Do remember the three Gs if you’re trying to make your special someone feel cherished. Send good morning, good night and good Luck texts when appropriate to keep the love flowing. Maybe if Kanye’s ex had listened to this advice instead of being so Dr. Evil, his album would have been called "808’s & Sexcapades.

"Don’t spam your friends with updates from your daily escapades. That’s why Twitter was invented. Sign up for Twitter, and amuse your followers with eye catching updates like “headed to the store."

Do use Quick Texts. On my way. Running Late. What’s Up? Call me. Too busy to call or too lazy to type out 150 characters? Quick Texts are saved messages conveniently stored in your phone and take a minute to access. They’re in there for a reason. Use them.

Don’t send a three-page text asking for a hookup if you’re creeping with the next woman’s man. Your name may end up in a high profile police report like the reluctant, now-intimate muse reported by TMZ to be behind the Chris Brown/Rihanna fight of the century. Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame; make sure it’s for something good, okay?

Do remember to send a text message to everyone in your phone when you change your number or else you’ll be sent straight to voicemail when you try to reach out to your friends. No one answers numbers they don’t recognize.

Don’t forget to include LOL when you’re making a joke via text. Sarcasm doesn’t go over well in text messages.

Do send mass text messages for the holidays. Even though it’s impersonal and sometimes annoying, you don’t have time to call 100 people to say Happy New Year. At least they’ll smile knowing you thought enough of them to click their name.

Don’t dismiss someone because they misspell a word in a text. It’s text messaging, not a college entrance essay. Lighten up. And yes ... texted is a real word.

Do vote for your favorite on "American Idol." They need your support!

Don’t send anything that you don’t want other people to read. When the relationship goes sour, sometimes dirty tricks surface, and your words may become evidence against you in myriad of ways.

Do be extra mindful when replying to your boss. Don't slip up and think you're texting to one of your homies, or - even worse - a potential love interest. Those are wires you do not want to get crossed!

Don’t let your texts be your main method of communication with a person of interest. If you meet someone you like, don’t text them right away. Call first. Have a real conversation. Use text messages for the nasty afterthoughts.

Do use codewords if you’re doing undercover deeds. Replace sex with ice cream or ask “Did you let the dog out?” if you want to know if it’s okay for you to come over.

Don’t send a text message like, “I love you," freak out when you don’t get a response and then, five minutes later, send a follow-up text saying, “Sorry, I texted the wrong person.” If you said it and you meant it, don’t back down. Life is so much spicier this way!

---Te-Erika Patterson is a freelance writer in Miami, Florida.

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