Written by Anneka Harry

Lifestyle

4get all the txt rules U fink YKNO

Wondering how many hahahas is the right amount of hahahas? Anneka Harry‘s rewriting the rules of texting.

texting in front of a computer
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diehards may recall a time when I lamented the trials and tribulations of emoji use and abuse.

Who knew that in the space of just over a year, the lowly aubergine emoji would become the globally and clinically recognised symbol for the primary male sex organ?

Or that we’d have cheated on Siri with Cortana and then been coerced into tax avoidance schemes and signing pre-nups with Alexa?

Or that all the while we were innocently filtering our faces with dog ears and slobbering great tongues, the Government could infiltrate the camera to try and decipher which energy company we were being ransacked by and who we voted for on The Voice?

Phones are the life hacks that are actually hacking us to pieces. In solidarity, and remembrance of the good old days when one would have to take a gap year to have time to complete Michael Jackson’s Beat It on the ringtone composer, I am unwriting the (already unwritten) mobile phone rules. Starting with texting.

Emojis

Anyone privy to the latest emoji update will notice that they’ve added a spy into the mix. NUFF SAID. These days the sidestepping playboy twins have been usurped by cartwheelers and handstanders alike. As the girls’ gymnastics skills have improved, so should your emojinal usage and dexterity – get smart with it or don’t bother.

If you have friends who wear heart eye face slogan T-shirts and no longer use vowels or consonants in conversation, it’s probably best that you have them put down. My advice would be to use a string of spies in every text, therefore alerting the intelligence agencies and reminding said companies that you’re onto them. Use sparingly, though: life’s too short to make superficial the co-ordinating centre of all linguistic activity – the brain.

NB there is NO brain emoji – this is all clearly a very well pre-planned conspiracy.

Group-chats

On a production cast group-chat I was once waiting for a call sheet and instead received an accidental real-life aubergine photo (for anyone still unsure, I mean PENIS photo). I’m using eyedrops to this day.

Everyone tells you to be careful what you post, be careful what you say, be careful how frequently you use a group-chat, be careful of sending unsolicited body parts…. JUST DECLINE ALL GROUP CHAT INVITATIONS.

“You are also not going to put someone off that you just met if you laugh forever at what they type. Proudly HAHA like no HAHA-er has ever HAHA’d before.”

‘Anneka Harry has left the group’ equates to my own personal Hygge, The Secret, The Power of Now and all the other gumpf people use to pretend their life’s sorted. It was group-chats that were making you angsty all along. Just say no.

CAPS

Shouting in texts has been frowned upon since the days of Snake and BBM Pins but IT IS AN UNDERRATED THING OF BEAUTY! SHOUT TO MAKE YOURSELF HEARD! USE DOUBLE EXCLAMATION POINTS ALONGSIDE THE SHOUTING IF YOU SO WISH!! WE NEED TO HAVE A (LOUD) VOICE!! THE GENDER PAY GAP STILL EXISTS FOR GAWDSSAKE!!

How many hahas is the right amount of hahas

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA is a good starting point. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t laugh loud and long.

You are also not going to put someone off that you just met if you laugh forever at what they type (especially if the sender works in comedy). Proudly HAHA like no HAHA-er has ever HAHA’d before. People aren’t even making jokes on Twitter anymore. We need this.

Always reply straight away

The world no longer has the concentration power to sit through a YouTube video of more than two minutes and 42 seconds; we don’t have time for mind games! New bae text you? TEXT STRAIGHT BACK! Give them an immediate ellipses bubble, it’s the least we can do for each other’s sanity.

We are a generation of slacktivists, armchair dwellers and the sadly silenced – it’s no longer possible to be overly keen or vocal. Reply in caps, (with a shedload of HAHAs and spy emojis) inviting them over for a bit of real-life, human to human interaction. There’s nowt sextier.

Call in response to a text

This is supposedly a big no-no but I think you deserve to give your thumbs a break. We’ll all have Mickey Mouse hands soon but you could be saved.

You don’t even need to say hello to the other person, just greet them in answer to their text when they pick up the phone. It’s not creepy, it’s efficient. Save your eyes from all that screen time too and stare at a wall or your own vapid reflection instead.

Text fights

If you must text fight, then I would suggest all manner and levels of sarcasm. It’s another text ‘faux-pas’ they’ve been trying to subconsciously beat out of us and it is eroding the very bedrock of an all-British sense of humour. Fill your argument with as many sarcastic quips and as much irony and mockery as is textually possible.

The beauty of sarcasm in this arena is that it doesn’t matter if your words are misconstrued or not – you’re supposed to be clashing with the other texter. Fight back and fight hard. You’re not insulting the other person, you’re describing them.

If you’re a WhatsApper, use an underscore before and after the chosen word or phrase to add italics and raise your sarcasm levels to gas mark five. You’re welcome.

Big news

If you follow all of my anti-advice advice I don’t think there’s any problem in texting big news if you run out of steam. Why waste your breath if you’re in labour/being sentenced to life imprisonment/lost in the wilderness/leaving a marriage and/or running for Prime Minister – you’ve already got enough on your plate. Hide behind the circuit board and liquid crystal display and revel in its sweet, sweet, mechanical glory.

They say you shouldn’t text anything you wouldn’t say in real life but what even is ‘IRL’ any more? Best not to question it and, in times of adversity, keep your face glued to your phone.

Check out Anneka’s new series for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, The Text I’ll Never Forget, here.

@Annekaharry

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Written by Anneka Harry

Anneka Harry does comedy and hustling for a living. She smells like thrift shops and ambition. Stalk her here http://www.vivienneclore.com/artiste/anneka-harry/ and @Annekaharry.

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