NPR logo The "Bathroom Rule" Of Texting

The "Bathroom Rule" Of Texting

We often talk on the radio show with Farhad Manjoo about tech issues. When I spotted this column I was sorry I hadn't seen his challenge earlier... It would have made a great call-in segment. But enough about that. Here's what I missed: Farhad asked his readers to come up with a firm rule on when — and when not — to text in social settings.

Your mission, as I outlined it, was to come up with a concise, easy-to-remember rule that we could all consult when deciding whether to reach for our phones. More than 300 thoughtful comments poured in, the overwhelming majority from people who believed that there's too much texting in public. I expected to find a clear generational divide, with younger readers expressing less angst about looking at their phones. Surprisingly, though, young people had some of the strongest feelings about texting-they were annoyed at their phone-obsessed friends and were keen to come up with some guidelines for when people should text.

So, did we manage to come up with such a rule? Yes! It's simple, too.

He calls it the "bathroom rule," which must raise some eyebrows. But, it makes sense when you read it. I won't spoil the surprise, you'll have to click on his column for what may be the best rule of thumb to govern texting.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.