Is Texting Etiquette a Thing?

It’s no major news story that people are overly attached to their cell phones and literally have them fastened to their hips 24 hours a day.  We carry them around, we sleep next to them, use them as alarm clocks, place them on the dashboards for a GPS, use them in school to calculate problems, carry them at work to aid in our jobs, tweet and text and update statuses, foursquare and blog, use them as mirrors or flashlights, pass the time while in the bathroom or on a plane, entertain our kids on car rides, take pictures, Facebook stalk our ex-boyfriends, whatever.  With the world at out fingertips It seems like the general population is unable to control themselves and can’t hardly resist texting or smart phoning, especially during inappropriate times and places.  I’ve seen live tweets from a funeral, received texts from church, rolled my eyes as family members are clicking away during holiday dinner, and sure as eggs is eggs, not a day goes by when countless people are instagramming the view of the oh so glorious sunset or crazy exotic cars with 5 foot spoilers and truck nuts dangling WHILE DRIVING.  (Side Note: Stop doing that, it’s dangerous, what’s wrong with you).

Okay, so you get it, our phones have become our forever companion, all day long.  Most of the people I know can be reached and notified within a moments notice at anytime of the day.  I can get ‘round the clock medical advice, or childrearing input answered any time of day and night, because it’s safe to assume that someone I know at anytime has a cell phone in hand and is able to talk back to me on the spot.

So now I have this issue of: I know people have their cell phones, and I have something really important or maybe not even that important to tell them, it’s on my mind right then and there and I have my very own Smartphone in hand ready to send you whatever it is that is crossing though my brain, maybe some new meme is burning a hole in my digital pocket companion.  The new question is: should we, as the sender or texter, be mindful or cautious of when and what time we are texting them?  It used to be that I could call your house, leave a voice mail during the day and you would just get it when you got home from work and return my call.  Now I know you have the phone in your pocket, so there’s no question that you are going to be getting my call right then and there.  If I am calling you or texting you, are there texting etiquette rules that I should be mindful of?  For instance if I know you are in a meeting, or are driving, or  it is late at night.  Is it the texter’s responsibility to contact responsibly at decent waking non working, non driving, non churching hours, or is it the receiver’s job to make sure their phones are turned off in the movie theater or when they are sleeping and so forth.  I’ve had it happen that I’ve texted my sister and she yelled at me for texting while she was sleeping.  Was it my fault for texting her at 10 o’clock at night or should she just have turned her phone off before bed if she didn‘t want to be bothered?  Maybe texting or calling is one thing, but now that we can  set notifications to ring when we win an eBay auction or receive tweets or get tagged in an instagram picture, should I be mindful of when I tweet and Facebook them as well?  What if I know somebody is driving, should I not comment on their newly posted sunset picture for fear that they will not be smart enough to resist the dangerous urge to read and reply?  What about when my husband just left to run to the store and I really want to remind him to pick up some ice cream and it better be Death by Chocolate or else?  Should I text even though I know he is driving, or wait 15 minutes until he is safely strolling through Wegmans and possibly run the risk that he‘s already at checkout because I waited too long and then I‘m stuck with prison grade store brand vanilla?

Am I being selfish and impatient and inconsiderate when I am texting somebody immediately when I have an idea?  Should we abide by courteous rules and traditional hours of conversation or should I text away at my own free will and hope they turn their devices off during the times they do not wish to be disturbed?  One last thing.. Do these rules apply or become stricter when sending non work friendly material?  Oops.


5 responses to “Is Texting Etiquette a Thing?

  1. text away sister. just do not expect a response after 10pm 😛

  2. Text, call, tweet, update, reply, mention or anything else, anytime. If its after 9pm, my sound is off and I will get it when I get it. Otherwise, if I’m driving or whatever, I will see it when its safe. Its my choice to receive it, your choice to send it. That’s what I like about digital conversations.

  3. Ha! I didn’t see this before the concert, obviously. I agree that people shouldn’t be texting during anything you mentioned in paragraph 1. I think there are definitely times/places for using our phones. I think it helps to communicate why we are using/we “need” to use our phones when out with company too. Example: We were tasting beers at a local microbrewery with my parents. I explained to them that we would be logging the beers we were tasting into a cell phone app as a way to keep track of what we tasted, plus make notes about it. My parents, who are barely dumb-phone owners, seemed to see the benefit of this and didn’t hassle us about doing that.

    On the other hand, when we went to a nice dinner with them later, we either used our phones before we sat down or didn’t use them until after dinner to text/Foursquare/etc. I missed a phone call and a text from a good friend, but I would have solved nothing answering it in the middle of a nice meal. It’s knowing time/place.

    So I guess my thoughts are – know when it’s appropriate in your situation to text and don’t expect immediate gratification in the form of a response from someone because they might be in a position where it’s not cool to respond just yet.

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