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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Let Your Fingers Do the Texting

Texting Tips for Seniors

Using your cellphone, you can communicate easily and quickly, especially with shorthand words and emojis.

You’ve probably figured out that if you want to communicate with your children, grandchildren or anyone younger than 50, you’ll need to learn how to text. That entails learning the most common abbreviations, so you don’t have to spell out “see you later” or “in my opinion.” And emojis, those characters such as smiley faces or hearts, can be a whole language in themselves.

Start With the Basics

Smartphones make it easy to text, although all cellphones have the capability. Look for the “Messages” icon on your phone, which will be different depending on whether it’s an Apple or Android device. From this icon, type in the contact name or phone number of the person you want to text. You can also create a new message from your contacts list by choosing the message icon. You can add more than one person to the “To” field and create a group text.

As soon as you put your cursor in the message field, the keyboard will open, so you can start typing. (Being all thumbs in this context is a plus. Texting with two thumbs is a skill some of us in the older generation don’t easily learn). After you type the message, hit “Send.” As you text back and forth with an individual or group, your conversation becomes an ongoing “thread,” which your phone will save until you delete it.

Some smartphones (such as iPhones) will let you speak into the microphone and produce written words, which will somewhat resemble what you said. So make sure you check the text for any embarrassing errors before hitting send.

You can also attach photos and videos to your text message. Depending on the kind of phone you have, you should find a menu that lets you attach several media, including audio clips, contact information for a third party or your location.

Be aware that your cellphone provider may limit the size of media you can send. Also, it can be easier to send a multimedia message by going to the source, such as a picture or video stored on your phone. You can use the share command and choose the path to share your photo or video, such as Facebook, email or text.

BTW, It’s More Than Words

Texting has delivered a whole new way of communicating, using abbreviations and emojis. It’s not easy typing complete words or phrases, let alone sentences, on a tiny keyboard. And in this fast-paced world, most people don’t want to take the time. Hence, certain well-worn phrases have become shortened to well-known abbreviations such as:

  • BTW - By the way

  • OMG - Oh my god

  • GR8 - Great

  • FWIW - For what it’s worth

  • LOL – Laugh out loud

  • NP – No problem

  • JK – Just kidding

  • TMI – Too much information

  • TTYL – Talk to you later

  • WYWH – Wish you were here

A guide on Webopedida lists more than 1,450 text-message and online-chat abbreviations to help you translate today's texting lingo. Netlingo provides the “Top 50 Most Popular Text Terms” to get you started.

Emojis originated in Japan in the late 1990s but have become increasingly popular worldwide since Apple included them on its iPhone. At last count, 800 of these ideograms exist, encompassing everything from fruit and animals to facial expressions and food. Some people compose texts solely of emojis.

Most smartphones come with a pre-installed emoji keyboard, but you can also get apps with additional emoji options. If you have an Android phone, you can get free emoji apps from the Google Play Store (found as an app on your phone). Make sure the emoji app is compatible with your phone.


How to Text,” wikiHow.

How to Get Emoji on Android,” wikiHow.

Emoji,” Wikipedia.

Text Messaging and Online Chat Abbreviations,” Webopedia.

How to Text Message,” Feb. 5, 2013, AARP.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors