Unabashedly personal, sending text messages is quickly becoming second nature to young and old alike. Etiquette rules governing texts may not be spelled out as decidedly as email etiquette, but knowing a few basic texting rules prevents jobs loss and raised eyebrows.

Augment cell phone etiquette with texting

If you are running late for a meeting, text other participants. Do not send an email, which may not arrive in time, and do not call one business contact and burden her with the obligation to inform everyone else. When having to communicate while being in a noisy environment, opt for a texting rather than a call.

Texting etiquette takes abbreviations into consideration (sparingly)

"Stay away from obscure combinations or sentences that have more abbreviations than words," cautions the McCoy College of Business Administration. Not everyone is hip on the latest texting lingo, and the boss may have no clue what you are talking about. Worse yet, some abbreviations carry a double-entendre, which can be a problem in the business environment.

Rules of texting govern when — and when not — to send or look at a message

It is gauche to text during a wedding, funeral, religious observance, graduation celebration, keynote address, date or while at the dinner table. Remember also that recipients of texts are frequently audibly alerted to them; avoid texting at 4 a.m. In the same vein, do not barrage the recipient of a text message with follow-ups if there is no response in five, 10 or 15 minutes. For all you know, he may be at a wedding, funeral or other event that makes texting inappropriate.

Rules of texting follow the rules of the road

Plenty of locales have declared texting while driving to be illegal. Obey the law, even if you personally believe that you can drive without actually keeping your eyes on the road.

Obey others' rules

In class, texting may be forbidden by the instructor. At work, the supervisor probably has a rule against texting while working. Heed these rules. Do not be fooled into thinking that texting is so quick as not to be noticeable; after all, who looks at their nether regions — concealed by a desk — and smiles? Only a texter.

Keep conversations light

Texting at work may be necessary in limited capacity, but bad news and important hiring decisions need to be discussed either in person or over the phone. The same holds true for personal situations such as deaths, surprise pregnancies and relationship break-ups.


McCoy College of Business Administration: "Texting Etiquette…The Do's and Don'ts"