According to a story from the NY Times this week, in the last quarter of 2007, cell phone subscribers sent text messages more than they used their cell phones to make a call. The story points to a couple of factors leading to the increased texting rate, including QWERTY-style keypads (which make it easier to send text messages), and cell phone packages that bundle texting or offer unlimited texting plans.
While I’m sure that those things are factors, there are two other considerations that I think are at least equally important.
First, there is a stat in the story that is unbelievable (emphasis mine):
Teenagers ages 13 to 17 are by far the most prolific texters, sending or receiving 1,742 messages a month, according to Nielsen Mobile. By contrast, 18-to-24-year-olds average 790 messages.
Call me crazy, but I would have to guess that the unbelievably high number of text messages sent by teenagers is bumping up the stats. Chris thinks that I send a lot of text messages, but when I got rid of my phone last night – which I had for two years - I had only sent 900 text messages EVER. Since the average number of text messages sent per month is 357, according to the study, there are plenty of people who are still sending no text messages, and who are calling a lot more than texting. It’s these young-folk that are bumping up the numbers. That doesn’t make the numbers less true, but it seems worth mentioning.
Secondly, I think cell phone styles are really contributing to the increase in texting. As I mentioned, I got a new cell phone last night. Previously, I had a RAZR, and was really happy with it. This is the new phone that I bought (it’s an LG enV2):
This phone is so easy – and fun – to text on, that I have sent way more text messages in the past two days than I did in the previous month. It’s not only the QWERTY keypad that’s contributing to ease-of-use; it’s also the flip phone keypads, which often are marketed to, and appeal to, young people.
As more and more text services like Cha Cha hit the market, and as the older generations join the texting fray, get ready to see these numbers climb even higher.
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