Sending a text message is a form of communication which has, in recent years, evolved into one of the most significant and commonplace methods of staying in touch, even surpassing phone calls for casual conversation and the passing of information. As with other methods of communication, there has evolved a generally accepted etiquette for sending text messages, despite its informal use of language and grammatical structure.
Sending a text message at an unreasonable hour, including the middle of the night, is considered rude unless agreed upon as acceptable by the recipient, or unless it pertains to an emergency, as it may wake the other person. Likewise, typing in all caps is generally considered rude, as it is the equivalent of shouting. Many of the rules that apply to online communications, such as emails and instant messages, also govern what is and is not acceptable when texting.
The practice of forwarding chain messages, advertisements, and other communications which are irrelevant to the recipient is considered spam, and should be treated as such. When forwarding humor, make sure it is appropriate for the age and gender of the recipient, and avoid sending a series of these types of messages at once. It should also be noted that sending any text message multiple times is considered rude and excessive, and should not be done until the previous message fails to send. If you have a bad connection, try again later when you are outside or in an area with better reception.
If you have a long message to convey, try to break it up into smaller sections and send them one at a time. Likewise, when sending pictures or video, understand that these will take longer to send than a text-only message and will take up more space on the user's phone memory or SD card. If you have several photos to send, consider uploading them to a mobile picture album which your friend can then access from his or her phone.
If you and your friend are having an argument or disagreement, texting is not the ideal way to solve it. Not only is it more time consuming and less personal than face-to-face communication, it leaves much room for misunderstandings, compounding the situation. You can call the other person and attempt to resolve the conflict on the phone, or the two of you can agree to meet at a time and place which are convenient for you both, letting you air your problems in person to arrive at a resolution.
The ways in which text conversations begin and end are less formal than phone calls or in-person meetings, but a simple, "Hello," is a good way to start, followed by an inquiry into whether or not the other person is busy. Likewise, interruptions happen more frequently in this mode of communication because most users are multi-tasking, whether fixing dinner or carrying on a conversation with someone else in the room. If you can't respond right away, let them know you'll be right back, and it is usually best to end the conversation with a goodbye or similar appropriate greeting.
When texting someone for the first time, be polite. You should clearly state your purpose in texting him or her, and your familiarity with this person will dictate the tone of your conversation. These and other commonsense rules of social etiquette will help you to text without being rude or becoming an annoyance.
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