Text Messaging Help
All About Text Messaging for Beginners
Text messaging is a great communication tool. It allows quick and easy messaging that's less disruptive than a voice call but more immediate than e-mail and it potentially allows for true two-way communication. However, for many people, text messaging can be a confusing language, an etiquette maze, a nuisance, a needlessly costly service, or an otherwise confounding issue. On this page, you can find all the text messaging help you need. We cover everything from the language and costs to blocking and messaging by voice and everything in between.
Text Messaging Abbreviations
Symbols, Lingo, and Abbreviations for Beginners
Text messaging is a language that by necessity, is abbreviated to make it fast and easy to use. If you are new to text messaging it is important to understand that all you can about text messaging abbreviations:
- Single letters or numbers often represent words. For instance, "Y" means "why" and "8" means "ate".
- Acronyms replace many phrases and sentences. An example is "ADBB" for "all done, bye, bye" and BRB for "be right back".
- Capitalization and punctuation are seldom used.
- Vowels are frequently left out in order to minimize keystrokes. For instance,"btwn" is typed for "between".
- Symbols are part of the text messaging language as well. For instance, someone might type :) to indicate a friendly or happy tone so that the receiver doesn't misinterpret the intention of a message.
There are a number of ways to learn more about text messaging lingo, symbols, and abbreviations via sites online. See below for some handy resources.
Texting Etiquette for Beginners
More Text Messaging Lingo Help
A listing of common text message acronyms and abbreviations.
A text messaging dictionary.
Common text message symbols/acronyms.
- Internet Slang Dictionary
Have text messages you don't understand? Type it in and get it translated.
A great online reference that can assist beginners in learning the text messaging vocabulary.
Another resource for text message lingo.
For help in either translating a text message received or figuring out how to compose a message.
Transclick can assist with text messages in other languages.
Cutting Text Messaging Costs
Text messaging can get expensive if you're an avid user. Need text messaging help to cut those expenses? The two most common ways of cutting the cost are to:
- Identify services that allow you to send at least some of your text messages for free (see below).
- Sign up for a cell phone plan that offers the best price for the amount of messaging you use. For many people, this is a cell phone plan with unlimited text messaging. However, if you use messaging sparingly an unlimited plan won't be your most economical option. The plan should match your usage.
Guidelines for choosing a text messaging plan are below.
Cutting Text Messaging Costs: Sending Text Messages Online
There are a number of ways to send a text message via an internet connected computer versus via cell phone, many of which will save you some of the cost since there are generally charges for both sending and receiving text messages on a cell phone in the US.
Most cellular providers have an area on their website where text messages can be sent to customers of their services. For instance, Sprint has this page, T-Mobile this page, Alltel this page, Verizon this page, and so forth.
In addition many popular sites have messaging services. Google , AOL, and Yahoo! all have such messaging services. There are also an increasing number of apps and free group messaging services that allow you to text message people in your contacts list for free. Beluga and GroupMe are examples.
There are also a number of online options such as textmessage.cc and onlinetextmessage.com which give users the ability to send messages for free; with charges going to the person who receives message.
How To Send Free Text Messages
Reminder: Text Message Limit
Generally, there is a 160 character limit per message. You can send a longer message but it will sometimes be divided up into multiple messages when received. In addition, if you pay per message, anything over the message limit will be charged as an additional message.
Unlimited Text Messaging
If you use text messaging sparingly, an unlimited plan is not the best route to cutting costs. It is better to match your usage up to the plan.
However, for those who make frequent use of the service an unlimited texting plan can save a significant amount of money. Such plans add on a predictable $10 to $20 per month versus a per message cost.
To find the unlimited plan that "fits" consider the following:How much texting will you use?Most cellular providers offer a texting option with a cap at several hundred messages which will be less expensive than an unlimited plan. Is out-of-network messaging included?Be sure the plan doesn't cover only in network messaging. Is picture and video messaging included?This is important only if you will be using such services. Beware the data transfer cap.Some "unlimited" plans still have a cap on how data can be transferred and charge more for any amount that goes beyond the cap.Note: Most unlimited plans don't include international text messaging. If this is a service you will use, be sure you know the cost.
Group Text Messaging
Most cellular providers allow users to send the same message to multiple people at one time for the cost of a single message. The user merely needs to set up a group and then send the message to the group. This can be time saving, fun, and economical.
International Text Messaging
Need text messaging help regarding international services? There are a few services online that advertise free or discounted international text messaging services.
The first, i-text.it allows users to send messages from their cell phone or PC to anyone in the world that has a GSM/GPRS Java enabled phone. Instead of being charged users must receive ads. The email2sms service also allows users to send messages via their website to cell phones internationally for no cost in conjunction with ads.
Another service is SendSMSNow which offers some free and some discounted messaging services.
See International Text Messaging for more information.
Advice on Blocking Text Messages
More experienced users may be more interested in text messaging help regarding how to block unwanted messages. It's wise to check your cellular service providers site to see about setting up texting filters. For instance VText.com allows Verizon users to set up texting preferences and on Sprint's site, users can go to their Online Tools, click on SMS/Text Messaging and then indicate their Settings and Preferences.
- Forum Discussion
Suggestions for T-Mobile and Sprint customers.
- Stopping Spam
Learn about stopping SPAM which generally originates from computers.
- Options for AT&T Customers
Setting up your preferences can restrict text messages.
- Tips for Stopping Spam
General tips to reduce SPAM.
- How to Stop Unwanted Calls and Messages
An overview with many tips for preventing and stopping unwanted calls and text messages to your cell phone.
- Text Guard
A downloadable program to monitor and potentially block incoming and outgoing message. Free 60 day trial.
Safety: Blocking Text Messages (and Calls) While Driving
If you're a parent, you may be more interested in seeking text messaging help that can prevent your teens from texting and driving. DriveAssist is new software being developed for release in 2009. It is said to sense when the indvidual is driving and automatically block calls and messages.
Parents will reportedly still be able to send voice messages to their kids despite the block and 911 can always be reached. To learn more about this software from the developer visit this video link. Taser, the maker of the stun gun type devices, will soon offer a product called Mobile Protector and another called Driver Protector that allows parents to have control of their kid's cell phone. These products offer many parental control options, but blocking text messages is one of them. Driver Protector specifically allows parents to block calling and messaging while driving if desired.
Another product in development is Keys2SafeDriving which is a Bluetooth device that will allow parents to embed car keys within it. When the key is in use, the teens cell phone will cease to function, both voice calls and text messaging will be unavailable. Designated numbers and 911 will still be accessible and passengers in the vehicle would still be able to use a phone. You can learn more at the link above. This product will likely be made available through cellular providers.
Hands Free Text Messaging While Driving
Certainly distracted driving can be deadly. Many states are moving to ban text messaging while driving for good reason. Some advocates feel that hands-free texting poses much less of a threat, but some studies show that it still results in distracted driving.
However, for the time being, if you must text while driving and can't wait to pull over and stop, then texting hands free will at least allow you to keep your eyes on the road. Automakers are said to be considering the addition of voice-activated capabilities. Right now however, there are other voice options for hands free text messaging as you drive. Dial2do.com allows you to text, e-mail, record reminders, Tweet, and more by voice using any cell phone. You can listen to your messages as well. Vlingo.com also offers a product that allows hands free texting with a number of popular smartphones.
Another free application that Android phone users (and eventually iPhone and Blackberry) can try is StartTalking which allows users to listen to and send text messages by voice, without touching or even looking at their cell phone. The app does more than offer text messaging help though. For instance, users can also send and receive audio messages up to 10 minutes long. The receiver does not have to have the application.
Here's a free download that will read text and e-mail messages on your Blackberry or Android Phone. It also delivers a message to the sender to let them know you're driving.
Safety: Parents Can Monitor a Kids Text Messaging
Additional text messaging help for parents concerned about predators and harassment is available through current third party products. There are now services that allow concerned parents to monitor their kids use of text messaging(as well as calls and e-mails). My Mobile Watchdog from RADAR is one example. It allows parents to track any unapproved calls/messages and keeps incoming and outgoing messages.
A new product was recently announced by TextGuard that reportedly monitors and potentially blocks text messages, as well as allowing parents to monitor messages without kids being aware of it. In addition, Taser's upcoming product, Mobile Protector will allow parents to monitor calling and messaging as well. Parents can have the software alert them anytime an unknown number calls or messages their child, they can even block specific number if desired.
Sending a Text Message to a Landline
With "text-to-speech" technology it is possible to send text messages to landline phones. For the sender the process is the same, the receiver gets a computerized voice call on their landline, and the sender gets a confirmation that the messge was received. Telemessage is one such service that provides such capabilities to providers.
Voice to Text Messaging for Those Who Don't Like Pushing Buttons
There is even text messaging help for those who can't or don't want to push tiny buttons to send their messages. It's possible to send text messages by voice. One route is to use a service like Jott which allows users to call a number, speak their message, and have it translated into text, and sent. The service works for e-mail and for text messages.
Another product, is StartTalking from AdelaVoice. It allows users to send and listen to text messages without touching or even looking at their phone. In fact, users can also send and receive audio messages as long as 10 minutes with this application. It's both hands and eye-free. It will work with Android phones and is slated to come out for BlackBerry devices and iPhones.
Air Writing Your Text Messages?
Don't like typing? The PhonePoint Pen, using an accelerometer, may allow you to simply write with your phone to send messages in the very near future. Read about it here
Other Sources for Text Messaging Help
Just some general text messaging tips for beginners.
A bit about text messaging privacy.
Lots of tips about how to use text messaging to your advantage.
A few quick tips for grandparents just starting out with text messaging.
- CIO article
10 great texting tips for adults to improve productivity.
Photos can not be used without attributing the work to the following creators. No work is to be altered.
Introduction Photo Credit: b_d_solis
Text Messaging Abbreviations Photo Credit: timsamoff.
Cutting Text Messaging Costs Photo Credit: Joshua Davis.
Sending Text Messages Online Photo Credit: i am jae
Unlimited Text Messaging Photo Credit: nate steiner.
International Text Messaging Photo Credit: smellyknee.
Sending a Text Message to a Landline: star5112.
Voice to Text Messaging: Cazimiro.
Safety: Blocking Text Messages (and Calls) While Driving: Benimoto