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Texting Shortcuts and Etiquette

Texting Shortcuts and Etiquette

Fuzzy Fusaro (August 19, 2010)
Fusaro 2010
Yet Another Bloody Acronym?!

Is there a general rule to follow when sending a text in the professional world? And how about all those texting abbreviations and acronyms, where can I learn them all?


In the era of cell phones it’s ironic how typing messages has become the norm. Texting: It's back to the future.


Remember pagers?  In those days before cell phones we were limited to receiving call back numbers.  If you were away from your telephone and someone wanted to contact you they’d page you.  They would call the telephone number assigned to your pager from their landline, enter their phone number using the phone’s keypad and then wait by their phone for you to call them back. And you couldn’t call them back until you got to a landline yourself.  In order to free ourselves up, we created numerical codes so we could communicate immediately without having to wait for a call back.  Are you old enough to remember some of them?  Here are a few to help jar your memory.


121 I need to talk to you


123 I miss you


143 I love you

220 Why haven't you called?

221 Where are you?

30 This is getting old


45 Good night


406 Hugs and Kisses

477 Best friends forever

5012124 Sorry


56 Sweet dreams

601 Happy Birthday/Anniversary


603 Hope you're feeling better

607 I miss you

609 I'm mad at you

611 I'm sorry

612 I'm thinking about you

6000_6 Good Luck

911 I Need To Talk To You Now!

There was even a few that created an optical illusion when you held your pager upside-down:  these numerical combinations appeared to spell the words out literally.


07734 Hello*

1134_2_09 Go to hell*

17_31707_1 I love you*

14 Hi*

It’s amazing how creative us humans are when it comes to communicating with one another.  But once we got a hold of cell phones and the freedom to contact each other without restrictions, the idea of going back to coded type seemed as antiquated as Morse code.  Boy, were we in for a surprise.  Today we communicate more via text messaging than we do by voice.  What seemed at first an absurd novelty is now the norm.  Limited to a standard telephone ten-button keypad, spelling things out was (and still can be) tedious.  So once again we got creative, and overcame this limitation by using abbreviations and acronyms.  Some were borrowed and others newly created. 


Texting, and this new shorthand that resembles vanity license plate lingo, is rapidly becoming our most popular form of communicating.  Even though manufacturers of newer smart-phones have added miniature replicas of a full keyboards to accommodate us in typing things out, we still use our abbreviated form of writing. The problem is some of us are latecomers to texting and find ourselves stumped whenever we receive a text message that contains an acronym or abbreviation we aren’t familiar with.  If you feel you missed the boat and will never catch up, don’t be too hard on yourself.  There are many of us getting up to speed. 


Take me for instance, my attitude toward texting was defiant.  I came close to being a modern day version of the guy from the early 1900's screaming out, "Get a horse!" to those driving an automobile.  Whenever I caught a friend texting I’d give him a hard time, “Oh my God, I can’t believe you’re bitch-thumbing.”  I would even self-righteously preach that texting was a cowards way to communicate, because you didn’t have to speak with the other person directly.  The good news is resisting the inevitable takes way more energy than I have to expend.  Soon I caved in, and boy am I grateful ‘cause I’m loving it!  I can't believe today I'm ‘bitch-thumbing’ with some of my father's wiseguy buddies.  Especially since not too long ago I considered texting something thirteen-year-old girls did, right up there with playing with Barbie dolls.  Like Paul on the road to Damascus, I have seen the light.


Thank God I came to my senses because today texting is not limited to chatting with friends, it’s become an acceptable means of communicating in the professional world as well.  Now that I've come over to the winning side and texting with business partners, I began to wonder; "What is the proper etiquette?" If you have been wondering what the general rule is, it seems to be this: with family and friends anything goes, but in business, spell it out, and spell it correctly.  I learned this from writer, A.J. Benza, who always spells things out in his business texts.  It makes perfect sense.  Why take the chance of having someone, I am in a professional relationship with, make an incorrect snap judgment about me because I used an acronym or abbreviation that they might misinterpret?  So, I came up with a rhyme to keep me out of trouble: “When in doubt, spell it out.”


And in order for me to stay on top of things I have found two websites extremely helpful. 

This one has all the most popular texting acronyms and abbreviations;

If you are brave, this one contains ninety-nine texting acronyms every parent should know;




In other words, "Have fun, stay in touch, and when in doubt, spell it out.  Ciao, for now."

Fuzzy Fusaro, aka Darrell Fusaro, is an author and keynote speaker who's documentary, THE BASEMENT will be screening in Los Angeles and New York City this fall during HITWEEK.  As an artist he has exhibited with Andy Warhol and has been featured in American Artist Magazine.  For more information visit

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