Wireless World: Love, Mom

May 12, 2006

This Mother's Day, show mom you really care. Send her a text message -- with love. Experts tell UPI's Wireless World that increasingly, moms are using text messaging and mobile phones to manage their communications with family and friends. Whether a text message -- rather than flowers, a personal visit and quality time -- will suffice is up to your mom and her alone, and any information provided herein is for educational purposes only. This columnist should not be held responsible for any adverse reactions from your respective mothers.

"The first annual T9 Texting Outlook Survey has found that 30 percent of moms are texters," Erin Gifford, a spokeswoman for Tegic/T9, a wholly owned subsidiary of America Online based in Seattle, told Wireless World.

Who is mom's primary texting buddy? Of course, it is dad. The survey showed that 30 percent of mobile-toting mamas used their phones to communicate with their spouses, though at 29 percent their friends were not far behind as text-message recipients.

Furthermore, the survey demonstrated that 65 percent of the messages that moms send are for social or fun reasons, and 28 percent are to coordinate family schedules and errands. One in five moms send text messages to their children. (So you had better pay close attention to the screen of your mobile phone from now on -- lest you miss a message from mom.)

Apparently, mom is also undertaking other mobile activities while running errands during the day. The integration of wireless technologies with the Internet is helping. Now, mom can locate her friends and family when she is out at the mall, with her mobile phone. "We allow social networking sites to show you what members are currently nearby, or have been nearby in the past, so that you can find people to meet up with face-to-face," Charles Ribaudo, co-founder of Jambo Networks Inc., a developer of proximity software based in Dallas, told Wireless World.

Moms can also multi-task using their mobile phones. Rather than reading an ancient edition of Good Housekeeping while waiting at the doctor's office, she can view some more relevant content. "The Housekeeping Channel has gone wireless on the Sprint network," Allen P. Rathey, president of The Housekeeping Channel, based in Boise, Idaho, an online network that provides programming on house cleaning, motivation, home organization and indoor environment maintenance, told Wireless World.

Since mothers are now starting to be major users of mobile technology, mobile phone text messaging etiquette, text-etiquette, is emerging. According to AOL, there are a few established norms now that can "help the whole family communicate in a faster and more fun way."

For example, one should always be courteous with text messaging, AOL indicates, in a recent fact sheet, a copy of which was provided to Wireless World. "Reply to text messages you receive in a timely manner, and make sure you're texting the right person in your phone book," according to AOL.

The AOL/T9 survey shows that 69 percent of "texting moms" are in favor of the development of a guide to good text etiquette.

Another recommendation of AOL is that when texting you use short hand to save time. "Seventy six percent of cell phone savvy moms say they use text lingo to speed up their messaging," the survey said. This includes usages such as GR8, for "great," and CUL8R, for "see you later."

Moms also want to know how you are feeling -- even when talking by text message. So, AOL says, be sure to express your feelings, using smileys and other emoticons, like :) to say you are happy and :( to say you are down.

Do not, as a rule, use all caps when typing a text message to mom. She will think you are RAISING YOUR VOICE.

Most importantly, watch your spelling. "It makes less of an impact on mom to learn that you 'lovf' her, rather than 'love' her," according to AOL.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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