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Pet Text Messaging Peeves

January 6, 2010

Affectations in text messages

Come on! Isn’t text messaging all about keeping people connected? Why then do some people insist on being hard to understand or being downright incomprehensible? Some people give new meaning to “Mahirap ispelingin” (literally, “hard to spell”, but this is an idiom that roughly translates to “hard to figure out or understand”).

As a case in point, why would someone send me a message saying “Eow” where plain “Hello” would suffice (and be more understandable, too). I also don’t understand why some people prefer using unnatural text characters in SMS. Not only are they hard to read, they also hurt my eyes.

I can see how it’s probably a cool and hip thing to do when you’re under twenty, but please, try using complete (where possible) and unadorned (an absolute requirement) when texting the over-twenties crowd. Using “kUmu$t@?” instead of plain “Kumusta?” (“How are you?”) just because you can shows lack of purpose and hints at how you, the sender, likes to waste keystrokes.

Forwarded messages

I like receiving text messages, but I prefer messages that have a purpose. Ask me how I am in plain speak instead of  sending me a cliched quote pulled from goodness-knows-what site or book. Why?

Forwarded messages are usually fake. On the surface, they seem to indicate that the sender cares for the recipient. However, we also know that forwarded messages are usually part of a bulk-send. Thus, you’ll realize that the sender did not care enough to send a personalized message.  Instead, he was content to send one that had ben recycled a thousand times over and one that doesn’t call for a response at that. For this reason, recipients of forwarded messages usually do not respond – or they return the favor by replying with another recyclable and insincere forwarded message.

Forwarded messages have their uses. They are great during Christmas and New Year when greeting everyone in our phone book is a considerable challenge. Take a forwarded message, personalize it a bit and it should be ready to send. However, it’s much better, really, if you think up your own message and send that in bulk instead of copying somebody else’s sentiments and sending that instead. It’s much more thoughtful for one.  You’ll also not make the mistake of sending this type of greeting “Wish you and your family the best this 2010” to your sister.

[This is a true story, by the way. Received such a message from my own sister. I had to ask myself if I had been kicked out of the family and just hadn’t known about it.]

If your aim is to reestablish contact with someone, a plain “Musta na?” (abbreviated “Kumusta na?”) should suffice. This should also work for those who want to maintain contact with someone. Better yet, use the last message exchange between you as a starting point. Did you talk about school last time? If it hasn’t been too long ago, bring that up again and use it as an opening salvo. If it was a long time ago, then use a variation of “Kumusta na?”

No-name-included text messages

If it has been a long time since you texted someone, please do not forget to tell that person who you are. It’s arrogant to expect other people to have retained your contact number through the months of silence (sometimes, the numbers just get mixed up or lost when the recipient changes phones). By not including your name with your text message, you are putting the recipient in a tight spot. Does he admit that he doesn’t know you? If he pretends he knows you, he will probably get caught out sooner or later. If he asks who you are, he risks offending you. In such situations, the recipient will probably choose to ignore your message and not reply at all (this is my typical response).

Changing numbers 10 times a year

I’ve had this number since my 3rd (?) year in college so that makes it 10 years since I changed phone numbers. I was using a different number before , but I changed it only because I lost my SIM card when I lost my cell phone [stupid me: I was so engrossed playing Counterstrike in an Anonas gaming station that a snotty-nosed (but smart) kid was able to swipe my phone unnoticed]. After I got this number, I kept it even when I changed phones. After all, it is usually unnecessary to change a number just because you changed phones.

By the way, it’s also irresponsible to change numbers without informing people (at least those you’d like to stay in touch with) about your number change. If you do this then send a forwarded message without your name to an old contact, do not expect that person to waste a Peso to text back.  No person replies to a thoughtless message that doesn’t even call for a response from a person he apparently doesn’t know.

[And what do you know, just when I was finishing up this post, a message came in from an unknown number and it doesn’t have the sender’s name on it, too. It’s a simple “Musta na?” though, so I guess I’ll text him or her back, he he.]

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