Making sense out of SMS or text messages

Okay – I will admit it – I am not a member of the under 20 crowd, I am not a member of the under 30 crowd, I am not a member of the under 40 crowd. But that is as far as I will go.

My five children fall into some of those age groups, and they are much more likely to embrace new technologies a bit more quickly than I do. However, being a technologist means that I have to stay current to help you.

One of the newer things is text messaging. Everyone under 30 seems to just get it, and those over 50 probably need a little help in figuring this one out.

Three of my children don’t have land line telephones. Their cell phone is the only way to reach them. They also attend lots of meetings and appointments when having their telephone ring is not appropriate…
Okay – I will admit it – I am not a member of the under 20 crowd, I am not a member of the under 30 crowd, I am not a member of the under 40 crowd. But that is as far as I will go.

My five children fall into some of those age groups, and they are much more likely to embrace new technologies a bit more quickly than I do. However, being a technologist means that I have to stay current to help you.

One of the newer things is text messaging. Everyone under 30 seems to just get it, and those over 50 probably need a little help in figuring this one out.

Three of my children don’t have land line telephones. Their cell phone is the only way to reach them. They also attend lots of meetings and appointments when having their telephone ring is not appropriate.

Just a quick message

Those of us who are older would just leave a message – and then we would play phone tag. Think about some of the messages you might receive on your phone:

  • Hi Bob, this is Pat checking in…Let me know.
  • Hi Pat, this is Bob. About…how would that work?
  • I Bob, this is Pat, returning your call. That won’t work. How about…

We all know the pattern. Each message needs a quick answer. And using the telephone means having to check voice mail. If the person is not available, that is yet another 2 messages back and forth.

Of course, this would be much easier to handle through an email, but we don’t always have our computers handy.

So, let’s see how it would go if I could simply send a quick message in a text format that Bob could receive on his cell phone.

The same information would have to be communicated, but even in a meeting, it is often possible to fire off a quick response. It is certainly less disruptive to quickly read such a message.

On my iPhone, text messages appear directly on the screen. If I do not catch the ring, or if my iPhone is in the vibrate mode, just tapping the On button will cause them to appear.

Important information


So when can you send a text message? The messages can only be sent to cell phones. They will not work to land line phones. (Now you know why it is important to specify what kind of telephone it is in your address book.)

While not all cell phones can receive SMS messages, it is estimated that 74% of all cell phones can send and receive them.

Text message must be under 160 characters in length. In fact, it is probably better to keep them a little shorter.

You can send a text message via email to someone’s telephone. Here are the email addresses to use for some of the most common cell phone providers. Replace phonenumber with the person’s 10 digit cell phone number.

  • AT&T - phonenumber@txt.att.net
  • Sprint - phonenumber@messaging.sprintpcs.com
  • Rogers - phonenumber@pcs.rogers.com
  • T-Mobile - phonenumber@tmomail.net
  • Verizon - phonenumber@vtext.com
  • Virgin Mobile - phonenumber@vmobl.com

How to say a lot in 160 characters or less


Of course, having such a few characters available in each message has led to a whole new set of abbreviations and acronyms. If you are attempting to communicate with an experienced SMSer, you may need a good dictionary to unravel the meaning of the message. An excellent online dictionary can be found here:

http://www.webopedia.com/quick_ref/textmessageabbreviations.asp

At Bob LeVitus Consulting we do lots of troubleshooting and training. If it involves a Macintosh or an iPhone, we can help you troubleshoot problems or teach you how to do something new. Give us a call at 408 627-7577 or send a message to urgentrequest@boblevitus.com.

Happy Texting–

Pat
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