How to Become a Faster Texter: Tips from a National Texting Champion

Faster Texting - Tips from a Pro

The best way to be a fast texter is, of course, to practice. But, these tips from one of the nation’s fastest texters won’t hurt either!
 Morgan Dynda, 15

Morgan Dynda gives her tips for fast texting:

  • Get a QWERTY keypad- A QWERTY phone is a cell phone with a mini keyboard as the texting tool. It makes it much, much easier to text on because you don't have to press a button three times to get one letter! It's also easier to get used to. Tip: If you don’t have a QWERTY phone, get quick by learning the ins and outs of Word (or T9) so you don’t have to hit each button several times.
  • Abbreviate- Abbreviating your words when you text makes texting much faster. For example, instead of texting "talk to you later" you can just say "ttyl." Other examples are lol, brb, l8r, rofl, etc. (For more text speak, check out this online text dictionary.)
  • Practice- This may seem like a very obvious tip, but practicing really does make you a faster texter. Morgan says, “Before going to any of the championships, I would practice by texting the alphabet. I would also practice by typing billboards or signs when I passed them in the car, or by watching commercials and typing words I saw on them.”
  • Focus on what you're typing- When typing a text, always focus on exactly what you're typing so you don't make any simple mistakes.
  • And last but not least…Be confident!

What else can you do to be a fast texter?
Text without looking- Get quick texts sent (and multitask!) by learning the keys on your phone so you don’t have to watch your thumbs do all that work. Amber Schwartz, a Colorado State University senior, says she can text without watching just by using the same theory she applied in computer class. “In school, when we were in the process of learning how to type faster, there were exercises they gave us and we couldn’t look at the keyboard or the screen – and that kind of went into texting,” she said. “The layout of the cell phone keyboard is the same as the keyboard for the computer, so you use the same method to text without looking.” Practice typing “The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog,” a phrase commonly used in typing programs because it contains all 26 letters of the alphabet. 

Organize your contacts - I know that you have a certain group of friends and family that are the ones you text most often, so shave seconds from the time it takes you to text by having them easiest to access. If you send messages from your contacts, force them toward the top of the list by putting “Aa [their name]” in your phone to avoid scrolling down to the first letter of their name. If you usually just hit “reply” to a message in your inbox, lock or save a message from each of the people you talk to the most so they are always there.
Install Swype on your touchscreen - A new program that caused the fastest touchscreen text message ever typed is called “Swype” and it can be installed on your phone. (Visit the Swype website for a list of phones the program is compatible with, tips on usage and demo videos.) Swype is a text reading program that allows you to literally draw a path through the letters of any word to type it. In March of this year, Swype, on a Samsung Omnia II, set the Guinness World Record for the fastest text message on a touchscreen phone. Franklin Page, a Swype employee, texted the phrase “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human,” in 35.54 seconds.
It’s Not All Fun and Games – Setbacks of Texting
Injuries related to text messaging have cropped up more often now that texting is frequently young adults’ go-to means of communication. According to Virgin Mobile 38% of people suffer from sore wrists and thumbs from texting. According to British Chiropractic Association (BCA) spokesperson Dr. Matthew Bennett, “When text messaging, the tendency is to keep your shoulders and upper arms tense. This cuts down the circulation to the forearm, when in fact it needs a greater than normal blood flow to achieve the consistent movements of the thumbs and fingers.”
Bennett also suggests these exercises for texters to avoid TMI (Text Message Injury):

  • Tap each finger with the thumb of the same hand. Repeat x 5.
  • Pull your thumb firmly with the other hand. Repeat x 5.
  • Wrap an elastic band around the tips of fingers and thumb and open your hand against the resistance. Repeat x 20.
  • Palms down wrap an elastic band around each thumb and force apart. Repeat x 20.
  • Tap the palm and back of your hand on your thigh as quickly as you can. Repeat x 20.
  • Massage thumb web, back of forearm and front of forearm for 2 minutes.
  • Press and rub in a circular motion the painful nodules in those muscles. 30 seconds for each nodule.
  • Reach up high with both arms and shake your hands. Reach down low with both arms and shake. Repeat x 3.
  • With arms at 45 degrees squeeze them behind you.
  • If it still hurts after a week of doing exercises, wrap an ice pack on sore hand and arm parts. Do not put ice directly on the skin but wrap in a thin cloth or piece of kitchen roll. 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off. Repeat x 3.

Texting while doing other stuff – like walking and driving – can easily lead to disaster. Morgan Dynda admits to the perils of texting while walking. “Sometimes I'll be texting when I'm walking outside, and I'll run into a tree branch sticking out or walk off a curb and scare myself,” she said. “I'll even bump into people.” Even if you are a “fast” texter, it isn’t safe to be distracted, especially behind the wheel. Texting has contributed to countless accidents across the country, forcing many states to place bans on texting while driving. Currently, 30 states and Washington, D.C. have texting bans for drivers, while eight others have bans for new drivers, according to the Governors’ Highway Safety Association website.
It’s been argued by many that text messaging (and IMing) have massacred the English language – because when suddenly there are abbreviations for everything, why do you need to be a decent speller? Or when you can say everything you need to in 140 characters or less, why learn to write eloquently phrased sentences? The trick is to learn where to draw the line. If you keep your bad grammar confined to your cell phone and just among friends, and as long as you know how to speak and write properly when necessary, you should be fine.
Whether your ultimate goal is to win cash or just become an expert at flirtexting that guy you’re crushing on, becoming a fast texter can have some great outcomes... just as long as you don’t start talking in text to your boss.
Morgan Dynda, age 15, 2009 LG U.S. National Texting Championship second-place winner
Hannah Orenstein, HC Editorial Intern
Amber Schwartz, Colorado State 2010
Virgin Mobile,
Governors’ Highway Safety Association,
LG U.S. National Texting Championship website,
The Samsung USA Newsroom [