Even ‘txtng’ has rules

Even txtng has rules

by Mark PleissFlipside Editor

On the list of things we students admit to and those we never would stands a special act of communication few ever brag about.

It’s like a hot relationship with a plumber or that extra little helping of Pfeiffer bean-and-tot casserole. Whatever it is, there’s something delightfully devilish about it, a pleasurable fix that secretly makes us want more, all while you want no one to know about it.

We all have Facebook, and yes, we know it’s evil. But yes, we still all use it, update it, make groups reflecting how clever we are and even find time to post inside jokes and quips on each others’ walls, like:

Now that’s what I was talking about: the wooden spatula.

Other aforementioned pleasures include walkie-talkie modes on cell phones, writing long e-mails, instant messaging and, the most delightful of pleasures, text messaging.

Most standard cell-phone plans use text messaging as an additional charge, so from the outset, bill-paying parents and their finger-happy children are doomed to skirmishes concerning monthly overages.

Perhaps this explains the surreptitious nature of text messages from the get-go. Like any illegal substance or car incident, kids simply don’t want their parents to find out they’ve been doing it because it means trouble from Mom and Dad.

That may explain keeping the secret from our parents, but what about our friends? We know they do it, so why do we have to make fun of ourselves to justify it?

The answer I believe is found in the abuses of text messaging. There are certain rules we must follow to share a cordial, collegiate-level text messaging experience, and if those rules are broken, knowledgeable text messaging is given a bad name.

Rule #1: You can’t break up with someone using a text message. This also applies to Facebook. Some things should be handled face-to-face or maybe by phone. There’s a good chance you didn’t meet your lover through a text, so there’s no reason to end it that way.

Rule #2 Nothing over a paragraph. If you really have that much to text, maybe you should just make the call. After all, too much text can make your text-typing talents a little too developed, and no one should pride themselves on that.

Rule #3: Any text after 10 p.m. must be implicational. If you receive a text after 10 p.m., especially on the weekend, he or she probably isn’t asking to borrow sugar. Plus, you also shouldn’t use language that expresses your real interests. Implications always work best. Here are a few good ones: U stil up? We need 2 tlk. U r a CreP.

Rule #4: No conversation should last more than four texts either way (or two for weekend nights). Unless you’re training for a speed-text contest (see rule 2), a text-message conversation need not be long.

Rule #5: Inter-male text messages will always be weird. I’m very aware of gender roles and stereotyping, so I’m not saying it must be avoided, but I’ll declare any text made between two males that isn’t regarding an update on a sports game is kind of weird and probably deserves a second thought.

Now, to write out all the rules of text messaging would be to dabble in the impossible, but I hope we can all at least get a feel for what a good text message is opposed to a bad one. If you follow these rules, you’ll gain not only valuable social skills but also priceless life skills that will help in all relationships. Also, you won’t have to feel bad about text messaging, and maybe one day we can all come to an understanding that yes, it is a rather impersonal and strange form of communication, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Txt me if u hve qstns.