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Texting Etiquette – What’s Appropriate to Send Via Text Message?

With nearly everyone sending text messages these days, you may be wondering what kind of texting etiquette to practice. What is and isn't appropriate to send via text message? Learn some fun facts about texting etiquette in this helpful guide.

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At SimpleTexting we spend a lot of time thinking about text messages and text marketing, from helping nonprofits to working with successful businesses. But what exactly is in a text message? And, more specifically, what news or information is acceptable to say in a text message? In a world where phone calls are rare and a text often feels like the best way to communicate just about anything, are there certain things that shouldn’t be said in an SMS or text message? We conducted a study to dig into the question of texting etiquette, and found that the answers can vary from generation to generation.

Texting Etiquette by Generation

When it comes to what information it is and isn’t ok to send via text, the survey revealed deeply disparate attitudes across generations when it comes to one thing in particular: breaking up with someone.

Have you ever broken up with someone over text message?

Unsurprisingly, Millennials are the most likely age group to end a relationship via text, with nearly 70% of millennial respondents saying they have done just that in the past. So not only do America’s youths think breaking up this way is acceptable, the majority have actually done it themselves!

Interestingly, a bit of a pattern emerged when evaluating the survey results of older respondents. Going from Millennials to Gen X resulted in a 21% drop in those that said they have broken up over text before, a reasonably expected falloff. What was more surprising was the emergence of a pattern between all generations, as the downturn from Gen X to Baby Boomers was 19%, nearly mirroring the change from Millennials to Gen X. While less than 30% of Boomers said they have broken up via text before, given the commonly held belief that those of the Boomer generation were raised with a more traditional sense of chivalry, that number is probably higher than many people would have anticipated, and it shows us that using text messaging for this task has become more acceptable at a surprisingly consistent rate.

Have you ever been broken up with over text message?

When considering how many respondents have ended a relationship through texting, the percentage that said they have been broken up WITH that way is another interesting result of the survey. You see, the numbers in this category are slightly lower than those that in the previous graphic, which brings up the prospect that some people out there just aren’t getting the message even when they are literally getting the (text) message!

Public Opinion on Texting Etiquette

Those are just two of the illuminating results produced by this survey, but by no means are they the only ones. Responses revealed attitudes about group chats, sharing identifying details like social security numbers, the best ways to share different pieces of information, and more, all of which can be found below.

Opinions on how to share important personal news.

57% have broken up with someone via text message.

53% have been broken up with via text message.

Difference in men vs women of having been broken up with via a text message.

65% don't like group chat messages.

Opinions on the etiquette of apologizing via text message.

82% say texting etiquette should not include notifying loved ones of a death via a text.

60% would not send a Social Security number via text message.


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