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July 31, 2017

Texting an Email Address

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

Yes, I have a smartphone. Yes, I can receive text messages. I may not reply right away, but I get them. So why do various friends and associates see fit to send a text message to my email account?

Unlike years past, today you can text someone’s email address in addition to texting their phone. I believe this feature isn’t understood by many smartphone users, which is why I occasionally see a text message in my inbox from the recipient address:

2125551234@pm.sprint.com

Or:

2125551234@mms.att.net

Those are both cell phone numbers (fake, of course) disguised as email addresses. When I see that sender address on a From line, I instantly know that someone has texted my email address.

The problem is this: When you set to compose a new text message, you type the recipient’s name, not their phone number. If the phone is smart, at that point it automatically selects the default phone number or the specified mobile number. Some phones, however, may display the contact name and let you choose to send to the phone or an email address. If the default action is email address, then the message is sent to that destination.

Another reason for the goof-up is that the contact information may not have my phone number, just an email address. They might not even notice the difference when the message is composed.

Normally, I don’t care about receiving a text message in my email Inbox. The big issues are that the message is falsely accused of being spam and that I readily don’t know who sent it.

For example, last week someone sent me a photo of some public art, but because they didn’t sign the text message (who does?), I have no idea who sent it. I had to look up the phone number. Even then, the number wasn’t in my contact list. So it must be a new phone number or — highly likely — it’s an older relative who has a new cell phone.

So, how do you respond to such a message? The initial, and most common reaction, is to type “Who the hell is this?” That’s kind of abrupt, but it seems to be everyone’s first choice. Most of the time, I just let it go, unless they keep sending messages.

For example, I kept receiving text messages at my email account from a neighbor. The next time we met, I asked is she could use my cell number instead of my email account. She was understandably embarrassed, but didn’t need to be. Again, it’s a common mistake: To avoid it, double check the recipient list on the text message and ensure it’s a phone number and not an email address.

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