Truthful Tuesday: Sharing Bad News

Melanie is back doing Truthful Tuesday, where she asks one question (usually multipart) and we answer it truthfully, at least as far as we know. Here’s today’s:

Question:  Is it ever even vaguely acceptable to share really bad news (not mine for a change, but someone I know well) via group text?    No name attached to the text of course, and one is left wondering who the hell is texting.   

Ought there be some etiquette around group texts?   Like leave a vague clue as to who is sending the darn thing.  I’m as likely as not to block the number if I don’t recognize it.   And I’m burned that someone would even consider sharing such potentially earth shattering news via such an impersonal venue.   Maybe I’m just a tech-no-phobe in the making…

I think we tend to overuse text messaging. Texts are great for person-to-person messages and pretty good for small groups, say of five or less. They aren’t good much beyond that, so if the group is large or if there’s a lot of news, you need to find a better way to communicate it, e. g. email or social media. And yes, it’s never a bad idea to identify yourself, though it might be unnecessary if the person or people (all of them) receiving the message all know you.

One of Mary’s friends sent her and a bunch of other people (some of whom Mary knew and others she didn’t) a text message, and everyone felt obligated to weigh in on the subject, so she got all these texts from people she didn’t know. It drove her nuts. Eventually, activity on that message died out, and Mary forgot about it, until someone had some news and replied to that text, creating another flurry of texts from that group.

And that’s really the problem with text messages: if you send a group message, everyone in the group gets not only the message but the replies as well. There are apps that allow you to send individual messages to a group, but they ain’t cheap. The only way you can do it for free is to send the same message to each intended recipient individually. Or, consider using email or social media (DM’s or something like Facebook Messenger) to send the message.

If you’re going to use email, it’s good to use the BCC trick. That’s where you list all the recipients on the BCC line, so they can’t see who’s on the distribution list, and when they go to reply, you’re the only one that gets the replies. It saves a lot of yelling at…

11 thoughts on “Truthful Tuesday: Sharing Bad News

  1. Maybe it is just plain entitlement on the party who did the text. They did that before and only got maybe two or three responses to a dozen texted person. I’ve said ‘Yeah I ‘text’ but I don’t like doing it. Too much room for misunderstanding, and the whole “Private number’ only confuses things! Thanks John!

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  2. I don’t care for group texts! We have an acquaintance that sent a group text about another acquaintance that died but didn’t reveal who it was. Finally, we found out who it was. It was very unsettling and in poor taste, IMO.

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  3. Hi John – I only do personal texts … but can quite understand Mary’s ‘rant’ … it’s such a pain … People don’t think … I just feel for everyone on the wrong unnecessary end of the messages … I will almost certainly have an opinion, but it’s completely irrelevant to anyone else … all the best to you both – Hilary

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