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Cell Phone Etiquette – is it really necessary to like things?

This morning I was relaxing, about 8:00 in the morning, when I received a text from my DIL. She and family were on a weekend trip, and she had sent about 10 photos in this text, which went to about 10 people.

The first person replied all – something to the effect of Have a nice trip.

2nd person also.

So far, not too bad.

Then person number 3 had to like each of the 10 photos, as well as the 2 previous comments. So I received 12 more messages.

Not to be outdone, person #4 decided to do the same.

Within less than 5 minutes I had received over 30 texts, only 3 of which actually said anything. Is this really necessary? Am I wrong in thinking that’s it rude to “like” everything? And if there is a way to turn this off please let me know!   1201-18

My family blows up the cell phones with texts every once in a while. We tend to devolve into sending GIF animations. As long as it’s restricted to once every 2 months or so, none of us has a real problem with it.

There is a setting on most smart phones that allows you to silence a particular conversation so you don’t hear the constant alerts of a new message.

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • staceyizme December 4, 2018, 5:09 am

    If she sent the photos to a group via a social media platform, your settings on the platform will determine whether you receive an audible or visual “you’ve got a message” cue.
    If she sent the texts directly using a platform outside of social media, your phone”s settings will control notifications.
    But it’s not rude to text, post, send messages or reply since you can customize these settings to your personal preferences. In the time it took to draft your complaint, you could have toggled through the options and changed whatever you wished. You can also ignore the phone until a more convenient time.
    I don’t think that you’re alone in having a sense of being intruded upon with such updates. But you can set all of your email, phone, and social media settings up so that you don’t see every update. Or “mute” a single text, message or email exchange before it gets out of hand.

    • Queen of Putrescence December 4, 2018, 8:53 am

      Sometimes the texts between my hubby, my sister and her husband go a little crazy and excessive. If I’m trying to get something done, I can just mute the conversation so I don’t get any more notifications and I can go back later and look at them.

      Also if the OP has an iPhone, you can click on the top where all the participants are listed, click on info and scroll to the bottom. There you have the option to leave the conversation. So that is also an option.

  • essie December 4, 2018, 7:28 am

    I DON’T have a smart phone. I finally had to ask my friends in one group to NOT include me on their texts. it took too long to unlock the phone, open the message, and download it, just to get gibberish or a blank screen or a note saying the download was unsuccessful or, possibly, a text affirming that another recipient had received the message. My phone battery would die in just a couple of hours. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect people to reply only to the sender, unless you’re adding information that the whole group needs.

    • at work December 4, 2018, 3:54 pm

      Same here. I’ve had my flip-phone since 2012 (it’s been through hell). It doesn’t receive emojis or group texts well or at all, but no matter, my husband’s phone gets it all. Side note: I love my flip phone, it’s practically vintage! I use it plenty but have to charge it only about once a week.

  • Kat A. December 4, 2018, 8:41 am

    Dear Letter Writer,

    You don’t need a smartphone to adjust the notification settings on the social media platform. You can do that on a computer.

    I have mine set so that I don’t get a single notification anywhere outside of the platform. For instance, for Facebook I see a number at the top right-hand screen indicating the number of notifications waiting. And I have to be logged on just to see that.

    Even on a mobile phone that isn’t a smartphone there are settings for notifications to be silent, audible, or vibrating.

    The “likes” are compliments and acknowledgements. Likes are meant to make social media a more positive experience. You can choose to be negative if you want.

    • Michelle December 4, 2018, 10:18 am

      I don’t believe this is Facebook. iPhones have the ability to “like” messages, and when you have a different platform/dumb phone, those likes get sent to you as separate text messages.

    • shel December 4, 2018, 12:39 pm

      Facebook is different from a text message to a phone, which is what this sounds like.

      The problem is 30 message in a 5 minute period to something that you probably still want to have sounds/alerts for.

      I don’t want to silence my text messages because there are messages I want to know about right away… so adjusting the settings doesn’t help much when it’s a group text that people keep responding to. You can delete the thread on an iphone, but if some one replies, you get a new message still. Adding likes and loves to private text messages doesn’t have much purpose… it’s not social media, it’s my text message inbox.

      • Kat A. December 4, 2018, 10:41 pm

        I was just using Facebook as an example.

    • Calli Arcale December 4, 2018, 1:05 pm

      Depends on how the images are being sent. If it’s via Facebook or Instagram or similar, then yes, you can adjust settings on the PC. But if it’s actually a text (i.e. using MMS, the international standard for sending images over a text messaging system, to send to your phone number rather than a social media account), then this is not possible and you will have to adjust it through your phone, unless your cellular provider has some sort of online interface that you can use on the computer to change that at the provider level.

      The other thing to really think carefully about with text messaging is that although these days it can seem as if unlimited talk and text plans are ubiquitous, they are not universal. There are still plans that charge per text sent or received, and multimedia messages (and also Facebook/Instagram/etc) will consume cellular data. Sending 10 pictures to 10 people, half of whom reply, can get expensive. This is why I rarely send images over text unless it’s to someone I specifically know has unlimited texting.

  • Lerah99 December 4, 2018, 8:42 am

    It sounds like your settings need to be adjusted.

    If you’re getting messages every time someone likes a post of yours or a post that you’ve been tagged in, you need to go to the social media site’s options and fix that.

    Also, if I’m included on a group text, I don’t have a “reply to sender” option. All I have is a “reply” option which means everyone in the group text will get the “Oh my gosh! My nieces are so beautiful and brilliant! Just like their auntie :-)” response.

    • shel December 4, 2018, 12:40 pm

      But you could presumably open a new message back to your sibling and say exactly that without having to respond to the group text… it’s like one more click, but means you aren’t sending your message to everyone.

    • Saucygirl December 4, 2018, 5:37 pm

      They should come up with a reply to sender option. That would be fantastic. Till then though, you can just start a new thread to the originator, and give your comment there, so only she sees it. When I send a pic/text about my daughter to a family group that s what most do and it’s perfect.

  • JD December 4, 2018, 8:58 am

    OP, my husband hates that with a passion. And like you, we are not familiar enough with our smartphones to have known you can stop that. A lot of people aren’t. So, yes, I think it’s polite for people not to “like” every single photo if it’s going to a group, because some of those people aren’t going to know how to avoid getting dinged a million times. If I get a group text message, I will reply back to just the sender, to avoid “dinging” everyone’s phone multiple times, unless it’s something we all need to see, like setting up a meeting time or something.

  • Harry's Mom December 4, 2018, 11:17 am

    How did we manage to survive before cell phones and internet. If you wanted to share a picture, you would have to go and develop it and then actually go and present it in person. And no one cared. Everyone went about their own business and widespread voyeurism was not a thing. IMHO, social media is narcissistic; who actually goes around posting pictures of the dark times of their lives. Maybe that’s why they call it a ‘selfie’ because ‘narcissistie’ is too hard to spell, and I really don’t need to see another picture of someone’s feet at the beach.

  • Kylie December 4, 2018, 4:54 pm

    It seems a few of the previous commenters are not understanding that she’s not getting social media notifications, she’s getting text notifications. A semi-recent iOS update allows users to “<3" or "thumbs up" or "haha" a photo or text someone sends them. Your phone will notify you that you've/someone else has sent a "reaction" to a text the same way they notify you you've received a new text.
    But yes, OP–follow admin's advice and mute notifications from this group chat. Don't waste time getting too bothered by it!

  • Catherine St Clair December 4, 2018, 5:17 pm

    Every age has its own annoyances. I used to dread the infamous slide show in which you had to look at a hundred slides of hunting trips with multiple views of various dead animals, vacations where there were lots of photos of people they had met on their journey, hotel rooms, tourist sites, sunrises/sunsets, or parties at which those had over-indulged in the free bar were engaged in behavior they would not have dreamed of sober. Now, at least, we can just like them and delete them in our own homes.

  • Bea December 4, 2018, 5:26 pm

    If it’s on a phone and you’re in a group chat feature, you should be able to mute the conversation as soon as you see it! Then you won’t have it buzzing along for an hour afterwards.

    I think a lot of it has to do with knowing your audience. Have you told DIL that you are annoyed by all the notifications but love her pics? Maybe she could send them to you directly outside of the group chat? Maybe it’ll seem a little fussy to her but that’s part of being family. Sometimes there’s fuss.

    My mother learned “how to internet” just in the last two years. She sends me FB messages all day long with gifs and videos she finds. Buzz buzz buzz goes the phone but she’s my mom and I’m not going to tell her stop because it’s not worth hurting feelings over something so minuscule. I would be pleased that a family member thinks highly enough to keep you looped in and just see if your settings can be changed if necessary to save yourself the slight annoyance. You’re certainly in the minority when it comes to this annoyance and it’s not rude of anyone involved unless you have specifically told DIL to not include you in group chats.

  • Kitty December 4, 2018, 5:59 pm

    As someone who has no social media stuff going on, I am very confused by your phone is getting information about ‘likes’ from other people on photos that are not sent by you… but this does sound like something you can fix on your settings for the social media. I suggest you google to figure out how.

  • Rinme December 5, 2018, 12:30 am

    You must understand that the person ‘liking’ the comments and pictures, does not realize that a third party in this exchange is feeling harassed; they’re using the social platform in a perfectly acceptable way.

    It is your responsibility as the user of a social platform, to set it up according to your needs.

    Bad etiquette on social media is: tagging you in conversations you don’t belong in (or asked to exit), spamming your wall, adding you to groups without your consent, sharing your private posts publicly… that kind of things.

  • Melissa December 5, 2018, 9:14 am

    This is why people should be careful about who they group text; personally, I think technology-savvy people should be in a group text (unless of course they’ve expressed a preference not to be included), and the rest should be texted (or emailed, snail-mailed, etc) separately. So, I could group text vacation photos to my dad, siblings, mom, stepmom, but I would not add my FIL to that text because even though he has a smart phone, he doesn’t really know all of the features and it would drive him nuts. Most phones will have a setting to mute specific conversations, while still get notifications for others. If that fails, I see nothing wrong with politely asking your family and friends not to include you in group texts.

  • BeachMum December 5, 2018, 10:31 am

    My SIL tends to send photos of her kids to a large group of friends and family using group text. DH and I asked her not to include us, or to send us the pictures on our own, but she stated that it was too much effort to send us separate ones and we should get over it. So I muted the group. My phone beeps (and my fitbit vibrates) when I get a text, but not when it’s to this group. Eventually I’ll see it and send the obligatory comment (“so cute”, “wow”, etc.) but it doesn’t alert me in any way.

    OP, this is easy to do both on an iPhone and on Androids. As someone to show you how and it won’t bother you again.

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