The double set of rules that text messaging has had, tweens vs. adult, seems to have blown up in our faces. While text messaging was just beginning, our teens had it all figured out and a language to go with it. The problems began when in no time, our tweens became adults and the etiquette rules are a quite a few years behind in concern.
Sure most adults understand texting while engaging in conversations with other people, out on a date, while others may be sleeping, or before someone has had their morning coffee is not OK. But there are a huge number of adults that have not been adults for very long. Texting all night long is probably a crime comparable to the phone cord pulled into your bedroom, or that first iPhone unlocked cell phone under your covers so your parents would not know you were talking to your best friend for hours at a time. So, to try to understand, tween habits die hard and hopefully a little guidance from some not-so-tween adults can help.
On a personal level: Text message etiquette while you are with other people, dining, talking, or just hanging out watching a movie or the game on your tv is to enjoy the actual people you are with. If you really cannot live without your text buddy for an hour or two, then go be with them and leave the rest of the one-on-one interactors on their own. An occasional text is fine, especially when you get a new Apple 3G iPhone, but a steady stream of texting when with other people is just simply rude.
On a business level: You will not get a job if you check your phone for a text while interviewing. Shutting your phone off for an important interaction is the best policy. Texting at work is unacceptable, if you are getting paid by the hour forget it. Although some employers do use texting for communication, drawing a business and personal line in the sand will keep your sanity in tack for both parties.
Texting may be common sense for some, but when you grew up with the words unlimited text messaging being a literal meaning as an adult you may need some help. Perhaps some day these suggestions will be outdated and totally wrong, but today we still need to stick by some standard of text message etiquette for people to follow.