Who says romance is dead? This year 41-million love-struck Britons will send a romantic Valentines message with 40% opting to send their sweet nothings via email, text and social networking sites rather than the traditional card.

This is according to new research by Research In Motion (RIM) the makers of BlackBerry smartphones.
When it comes to the message, two thirds (38%) of straight talking Brits prefer to receive a simple ‘I love you’ to soppy messages, poetry or jokes  – perhaps to avoid misinterpretation as eight in ten (88%) confess to spending hours re-reading and analysing their Valentine’s Day messages in the hope of uncovering a hidden meaning.
Dating and relationship expert Jo Hemmings comments: “A well crafted email or text message can mean just as much as a romantic love letter or poem. Three quarters of people surveyed (77%) agreed that given the explosion of new methods of communication the old adage “it’s not what you say but how you say it” is truer than ever.”
Texts and emails can be powerful flirting tools, and technology, such as mobiles and BlackBerry smartphones, have made it easier than ever for people to communicate their feelings on the move from anywhere in the world – but how do you know whether that amorous message is just a bit of casual electronic flirting, a declaration of undying love or simply a Valentines prank?
Jo has given her ‘textpert’ opinion:
* A kiss has lost its emotional impact since it became the standard sign off for pretty much all personal, and even some work, messages, so one kiss at the end of a text or email doesn’t necessarily mean he or she’s into you. Two or three kisses are definitely a sign that romance is on the horizon but any more than three just looks desperate.
* The odd smiley face can be a useful tool for friendly flirting but don’t overuse emoticons as some people find them cheesy and impersonal.
* Punctuation can be used tactically to change the tone of a text message – a full stop at the end of a message can be perceived as cold and final, multiple exclamation marks may seem over dramatic while an ellipsis (…) is intriguing and cool and suggests there’re more to come…
* Be wary of the ‘Little Black Book’ serial texter. If the message doesn’t ‘feel’ personal and is sent out on late a Friday night, you may well not be the only recipient.
* Incorporating questions into a message is a great way to show you are genuinely interested in the other person and you can tell a lot by the way the other person replies. A late reply, one word answers and no reciprocal questions suggests you’re being given the cold shoulder whilst a reply with questions for you means the feeling is mutual.
* Beware of predictive text…your love interest may not have not have wanted a ‘riot’ but merely a cosy ‘pint’.
* With the advent of technology the ‘three-day rule’ has become the ‘three-hour rule’. Keen daters now need to send a follow up message within 3 hours after a date to show their interest – even if it’s just to say they had a good night.
* Avoid the drunken text or email at all costs – your well-meaning message could be misconstrued or quite simply just not make sense. If in doubt, save as a draft and re-read in the morning with a clear head.
* Texting and emailing is a great way to stay in touch in between dates but make sure you mix up communication methods with the odd phone call to build chemistry.
* It may be convenient but don’t slip into ‘txt spk’ if you want to show you care this Valentines Day – technology might have made it easier to communicate but you still need to put some effort into what you say and how you say it.