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Like it or not, text messaging and instant messages have become a staple part of our communication, flirting and daily life. After hearing romantic text messages are on the rise and getting news that 37 percent of you send more than 10 text messages a day, it seems clear that we need some sort of rules or texting etiquette guidelines to life by.

Helio has created a witty online guide that's part marketing strategy, part social network and aimed at those of us who use text messages on the daily. My favorite feature is an excuse generator that sends you text messages when you need to get out of a bind. All you have to do is go to, pick a scenario, a story, when it needs to be sent, and you’ll get the text message just in the nick of time. (Think bad blind date or a conversation with your roommate's fling.)

The site also features a fun Mobile User's Guide to emailing, texting, calling and IMing that I can only pray will resonate with people. (You may have noticed small paper versions of the guide in magazines like Wired this month.) The EMOTICONS101 page decodes those smiley faced things we all use daily as well as a funny guide to web abbreviations (you know lol, brb, jk etc.). I was shocked to learn some of the more random abbreviations like WYSMC?, which means "will you sign my cast?) and YMMFS, which means "you make my fingers sweat." The online guide, which is written in a clever and amusing voice, allows you to add your own rules, rate rules and offer proof. For my items from the Tools of The New Social Etiquette,

  • Text Message - Keep it short. These little nuggets of conversation are made up of words, abbreviations of words, and variations of the smiley face emoticon. Limit your use of all three.
  • Picture Message - Pictures speak louder than words. So use a pic when you don't know what to say. And do call it a pic. That's what photos are called now.
  • Emoticons - Never use the "cool" emoticon (i.e., the one with the sunglasses). It's the virtual equivalent of the fanny pack.
  • Check out the full guide at Want to share your favorite websites? Join the Website of the Day group!

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