10 Lessons from 30,000 SMSes

a.k.a. A Guide to Mass-Messaging

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1st SMS to 1Cor12 Leaders

In December 2011, I got free SMSes. So I started helping out with texting LOG. The number of messages I sent shot from 719 to 1633.

In January 2013, I took over SMSing 1Cor12. I sent 3335 messages that month.

From December 2011 to September 2013, I sent a total of 29,741 SMSes, an average of 1351 SMSes per month. And that’s with constant Whatsapp usage.

So here are 10 insights I’ve gleaned, in a rough order of priority.

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1) Cut unnecessary words. 

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This actually applies to every kind of writing – journalistic, creative, legal. Say what you need to say in as few words as possible. Make the message short, sharp and punchy.

Many of the rules below are variations of this one general principle: no one likes to read a wall of text.

2) Use active voice. 

Not “ensure that active voice is used”.

3) Get a group app.

This is essential for your own convenience. Get a proper group app and organize your contacts into the groups that you send them messages in. My first app was paid. I can’t remember how much it cost, but the time I saved from and the convenience of not having to add each contact one-by-one to the sender’s list more than paid for itself.

There are quite a few free apps available now so there isn’t any reason not to get one.

4) Use numbered lists, paragraph breaks and bullet points. 

The clarity is much greater in the former than the latter message. So is the amount of information communicated.

5) Frontload information.

People’s attention decrease as they read down the SMS. So put the most important or most recent information at the top. Later events and announcements that don’t need RSVP can come later in the SMS.

6) Lose the qualifiers. 

Examples of qualifiers include “I feel that…”, “Please note that…” or “We are informing you that…”.

Delete it all. Phrases like that may be fine in verbal announcements, but they are completely unnecessary in text.

No one needs to know that this is just your opinion, that you’re insecure or that you’re humble (which you really aren’t if you’re getting them to focus on you rather than the message). They only need to know your message.

7) Use punctuation.

The “:” and the “-” are key to reducing unnecessary words. Instead of writing in full prose, use categories and proper punctuation to get the information across.

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8) Be curt; but start and end politely. Smiley faces always work.

IMG_09719) Don’t spam messages. 

Check your facts. Check your necessary information. Check for any other announcements. Minimize sending additional SMSes to edit wrong info in your previous SMS or add in stuff you missed out.

It’s irritating to keep receiving admin SMSes.

10) Get a physical keyboard app. 

This might not be for everyone; it’s definitely for me. I hate the virtual keyboard. So I got an app that allows me to link my Mac keyboard with my iPhone. It has gotten much easier to draft long SMSes and to participate in interesting whatsapp chats since then.

*11) Have occasional random quirks. 

This might just be me. And it goes against the cardinal rule of cutting unnecessary words. So… take it with a pinch of salt.

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Woooo ok I’m done. My free SMSes expires in 12 days, and my successors have been appointed. So my handover is pretty much completed and timeous.

Byeeeee guys. I don’t think I’ll miss this very much :D

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About Mel

I dreamt I was a whale. https://melvynfoo.wordpress.com/about-mel/