Since the pandemic, social media apps and the breakdown of work-life boundaries have proliferated.
There are tons of opinions all over the board and most just seem like they have been developed on a whim. Let’s look into real live etiquette and how it can apply to texting in 2022.
Texting has become our default mode of communication, especially among Gen X’ers and younger. What may once have been a letter, voice mail, phone call or email now often arrives in a text — and that collapse of contexts makes it tough to know which rules to follow.
Group texts like a party line – what’s a party line?
Back in the pre-1980s, phone lines were much more expensive than today. You paid $0.25 per minute and more for long distance. Often times you could acquire a phone number that is shared with another (or more) customer – a party-line.
Group texts generate hundreds of notifications, they’re often filled with strangers, and there’s a lot of chatter that is not relevant to you directly. If you are starting a group chat, introduce the people to each other. Otherwise, there is chatter with complete strangers and no ID on the related phone number the text is coming from. Therefore, it becomes noise and not important.
Do you really care about punctuation?
Sorry, wordsmiths — this ship has sailed.
You don’t want to appear to be a complete idiot with a stranger, but with those you communicate with all the time only need a break in line or period from time to time. A good text makes sense to its recipient, but that shouldn’t require consulting an SAT grammar workbook. Even less so for millennials – it seems the trend is very little punctuation and spelling has turned into all acronyms. Again, write to your audience.
Responses aren’t mandatory, but acknowledgments are nice
The past few years have been hard, and there are tons of texts that just get pushed down in the queue and overlooked. If you really need an answer, send a kind follow-up.
On the other hand, keep in mind that unanswered texts make some people feel worried. A short note letting them know you saw their message and will respond when you have time can alleviate some text-related suffering.
It’s okay to get serious
But no break-ups over a text. Have some class and have a conversation – as long as the recipient isn’t a complete psycho – if so, change your number!
Prioritize listening and understanding over reacting. If you’re struggling to interpret someone’s tone or understand what they said, ask. Communicate! It solves 95% of the world’s problems, which are generally miscommunication.
Work related texting boundaries
Texting for business purposes is on the rise, but it’s still a personal communication channel above all. Before you fire off a message to a work colleague, make sure your team has talked about boundaries. Which hours of the day can you answer text messages? Would you prefer an email or phone call instead? Set your team boundaries and stick to them.
Thank you for taking the time with me to learn more about healthcare available for you and your and loved ones.
Robert Steele, CLU, ChFC
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