Click, click, click. Look around at any given moment in any public space...at a party, in the classroom, at the movies, on the train...even in church...and you're bound to witness texting in action. Text messaging is fast, easy, and cheap, replacing its first cousin instant messaging as the preferred method of communication between friends. With roughly a billion messages sent each day, the rules for texting are unclear. We are under the illusion that other people don't notice us as we text, that we're wearing some kind of invisible cloak...but we're wrong. While society tries to deal with how new technology sometimes clashes head-on with common courtesy, it's important to remember that thoughtfulness never goes out of style. As the rules for texting evolve, here are our top 10 suggestions for righting rude behavior.
Rules for Texting 1: One thing at a time.... Texting while conducting a face-to-face conversation or listening to a speaker isn't cool. Even if you can manage two things at once, you are making it clear that the other person is less important than the one you are texting.
Rules for Texting 2: NEVER text and drive. Talking on the phone is bad enough. You won't know what hit you...or what you hit...if you're pounding out a message on your keyboard.
Rules for Texting 3: NEVER text in the movies. You'd be surprised how bright a cell phone screen can be or how distracting your message alerts can be in a pitch black theater.
Rules for Texting 4: If you are forwarded a mean-spirited remark in the form of gossip or a joke, keep it to yourself. Sarcasm is very hard to interpret by reading. Don't forward anything that could ruin another person's reputation. And remember, unlike anonymous emails, text messages can be traced.
Rules for Texting 5: Keep it light. Texting is informal and fun. Keep your messages short and sweet. According to Verizon, anything over 160 characters should be an email. Bad news, invitations, and serious conversations should be reserved for face-to-face talks or actual phone conversations.
Rules for Texting 6: Like a burger from a drive-thru window, texting promises near-instant gratification. But relax your expectations. Not always does your text get to your recipient the minute you hit send. And not everyone responds immediately. If it's really important, call.
Rules for Texting 7: DON'T USE ALL CAPS! IT'S HARD TO READ, AND IT SEEMS LIKE YOU ARE STANDING AT THE TOP OF A MOUNTAIN SCREAMING.
Rules for Texting 8: Nobody's grammar and spelling are perfect, but really bad grammar and sloppy spelling are like bad breath...it doesn't bother you but it bothers everyone else.
Rules for Texting 9: Be aware of others schedules. Just as you wouldn't call at all hours of the night, nor should you text.
Rules for Texting 10: As far as boy-girl communication is concerned, texting is great for breaking the ice or flirting or relaying a quick note about time and place. It should not be used for more emotional messages.
Remember that your phone does have an off button. There are very, very few things in the world that absolutely can't wait.