Huh? You might say that after trying to read the headline of this article. Don’t feel bad; you’re not alone. No other technological form of communication has caught on so quickly as “texting.” Sending and receiving text messages has become an addiction, something we can’t seem to live without. And it’s spreading like a wild fire through parking and transportation meetings and offices, parking permit and registration check-out lines, and in parking facilities.
We’re like deer in headlights, oblivious to everything around us, the other people with us and the dangers of risky pedestrian behavior and sidewalk collisions as we WWT (walk while texting). Oops! didn’t see that pothole or that oncoming vehicle while crossing the street.
Yes, parking and transportation life has become more condensed since the dawn of the smartphone. We smart-park, download smart-parking apps, pay parking fees via text messages from our smartphones, and even text after we park.
New parking meters text us when our time is running out; valet services text us when our vehicles are ready; and hunting for a parking space has become easier – providing real-time parking availability on city streets or in city garages via text message services to our smartphones.
For anyone in the parking and transportation industry, ages 18 and over, texting is becoming a way of life. For those of you from the Gregg, Pitman or Handywrite Shorthand or Phonetic Alphabet eras, texting comprises abbreviations and acronyms, with no more than 160 characters, including spaces.
No more tearing out a sheet of lined notebook paper and scribbling down notes in “chicken scratch” (worse than a doctor’s handwriting) that no one can read.
Never fear that the age of texting will pass you by or you’ll never fit in, because many texting acronym dictionaries are available online for those of us who wish to speak and read “fluent texting.”
In our daily parking and transportation lives, we must, however, remember that texting is neither bad nor good, but is how we use it. Keep in mind that texting, like any other form of language, comes with its
own etiquette.
Before you get smitten with the texting bug, however, be sure to text with “graciousness and savvy,” as urged by author Maralee McKee of Manners Mentor Inc.

•    Keep it simple; think of texting as a follow-up or prelude to
a conversation.
•    Check the recipient information before you hit “send.”
•    Respond to a text message with a text, email or phone call.
•    As with emailing, be aware of your tone.
•    Spell check.
•    Don’t replace all communications with texts; you shouldn’t represent your business in a text message; calling or emailing is preferred.
•    Do not text anything confidential or private.
•    Don’t use texting for formal invitations (such as inviting the industry to a parking and transportation conference).
•    Don’t respond impulsively.
•    Don’t get upset if you don’t get a reply.
•    Texting in parking and transportation meetings or training classes is frowned upon.

As stores expand their text-message services to assist in reminding us where we parked our cars and as cities launch texting services to let us know about parking restrictions, for example, as part of their snow-removal efforts, let’s not get lost in all the “texting hype.”
Although life on the go is a reality and texting has its perks, let’s not forget that there is still nothing better than a face-to face in person or via Skype with your favorite parking and transportation industry colleague!
As we walk with our noses stuck to our screens, keeping up with the “Texting Joneses” is a dirty job, but someone has to do it. BIF,THT,TCOY n TBL. LOL! *
*(Before I forget, think happy thoughts, take care of yourself and text back later. Laughing out loud!)

Monica Tanksley is Special Events Manager with Parking and Transportation Services at the University of Rochester (NY).Contact her at mgayton-tanksley@parking.rochester.edu.


Article contributed by:
Monica Tanksley
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