3 ways to step up your texting game

Your mom probably wouldn’t understand

Jacob Prosser

We all remember what it was like in that dark time before smartphones—the age of T9 and keyboard communication. Texting was limited to letters and colon-plus-parentheses smiley faces. But this is 2014, and we just won’t settle for this archaic style of emotional expression.

This brings us to apps and third-party keyboards. Android users have enjoyed using different keyboards for a while, and now iPhones have the ability with the recent release of iOS 8. I’ve stumbled upon these recently and have been texting with them on a regular basis. Download these apps and spice up your texting life!

GIF Keyboard from Riffsy, Inc (Apple App Store)

GIFs (short for graphics interchange format) are an awesome way of expressing yourself as these simple looping video images can say a thousand words. This free app lets you install a keyboard based entirely on GIFs. When the keyboard is selected, you are presented with several hashtag topic headers to choose from. Covering everything from #sassy to #swag, there are a ton of GIFs to fit just about any scenario. A timely GIF in response to a friend is guaranteed a few laughs. If you’re on Android, you aren’t left out! Relay GIF Messenger on the Google Play store works in a very similar way and offers funny, clever GIFs to send to your friends.

Ultratext (App Store and Google Play)

Ultratext is a different way to text your friends, allowing you to create your own GIF messages. Type out the text you want, separating each word with a space. Customize the background and text color, and even insert a selfie. When you’re finished, Ultratext will present your message in a GIF, flipping through each word and image added. The whole process is quick and easy. Once you understand the interface, you can create a personalized message in 5-10 seconds. It’s a unique way to communicate and is a little more exciting than a plain text.

Textizer (App Store)

Textizer lets you change the look and style of your texting font. Type out what you want to say, select a different styled font, copy and send. The app, a free download, offers 17 different styles off the bat, with an option to purchase more for a small fee. A personal favorite of mine is the emoji font, which transforms your text into emoji images. It’s heart-warming to see the saxophone emoji being used for a “J”.

Jacob is a sophomore studying communication.