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TITASPEED: A new acronym for chat

TITASPEED is an acronym which means: “Texting is too awkward; speaking produces easy effective decisions.” It is useful in chat and email.

TITASPEED: Acronym for “Texting is too awkward; speaking produces easy effective decisions.” When used in a text conversation it can mean

  1. I recommend speaking over the telephone to discuss this matter.
  2. I feel that answering the original question as a text message oversimplifies the matter considerably and may provide misleading information.
  3. I am way too busy to provide a detailed answer now. A telephone call is more convenient for me.

Here is the context when it is needed.

I have noticed the tendency of some people to try to ask  questions via text which requires complex answers.   Sometimes a person will text this complex question because they know that answering it fully is impossible; perhaps they honestly fail to appreciate the effort involved to give an adequate answer. The asking of this complex or open-ended question thus places a burden on the recipient to either oversimplify or to spend a lot of time writing an answer.

But this is an unfair burden on the recipient. In rare cases, it may be necessary, but more often  complex thoughts, directions and nuances can be more effectively communicated over the phone. (Yes, I realize that face-2-face is even better, but that is rarely practical).

I faced this question often in email communication as a technical writer.  When you ask a question via email, you are placing a burden on the recipient. Sometimes this burden is necessary and useful, but sometimes it asks the recipient to do more work. Recipients sometimes assume that emailed questions are better because the recipient can answer them asynchronously, but actually the opposite is the case because when writing, you have to give a complete answer to take into account every possible nuance.

Responding  to emails is cumbersome; that is why it is good for the asker always to give the recipient the choice to answer by text or by phone. 9 Times out of 10, it is easier to communicate by phone; the reason people avoid doing so is that they usually fear getting sucked up in a longer social conversation.  The problem is, texting or emailing a series of questions can be extremely awkward and confusing; when you talk, you can check for understanding or clarify something right then rather than having to write something in reply.  Often the responder has no idea what the asker doesn’t understand. But when you are actually talking, it is easier to pinpoint the source of the misunderstanding.

I have written before that  texting messages is an inefficient method of communicating — and should be limited to a small number of contexts. Alas, people are relying more on their phone and voice-activated dictation to communicate. This has a cost; it can sometimes take forever to arrive at a thought, and it can be tedious for the recipient to engage in such a strung-out conversation.  Asynchronous and abbreviated conversation can be useful when you seeking a specific bit of information (the room number, the cost, the flight number) and the matter is  not terribly urgent.  Also, it can be useful when you are sure that the person is actively checking messages. But often that isn’t the case.

The TITASPEED acronym is a short way to communicate your belief that having a text chat is an inferior way to have a conversation.  More generally it can make people ask themselves what is the best way to seek information and advice.

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