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Cellphones Communications United States

Texting On the Rise In the US 468

frontwave links to this stat-laden overview of trends in text-messaging among Americans, citing a few of its findings: "The average teen (even including teens without cell phones) sends and receives five times more text messages a day than a typical adult. A teen typically sends or receives 50 text messages a day, while the average adult sends or receives 10. Fully 31% of teens send more than 100 texts a day and 15% send more than 200 a day, while just 8% and 5% of adults send that many, respectively."
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Texting On the Rise In the US

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  • I wonder... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sardaukar_siet ( 559610 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @05:14AM (#33633402)
    ... the impact this has on their verbal language skills.
  • This is news? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @05:16AM (#33633416)

    really? this is news?
    I live in europe and I and most of the people I knew texted like that.
    Teenagers like to talk, gossipe and plan meeting up.
    It's what they do.

  • well, well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2010 @05:20AM (#33633430)

    In 1992, I was the first teen at school to carry a palmtop around in all my lessons (geek!), a Psion Series 3a.

    In 1995, I joined the ham radio club at school.

    In 1998, I first browsed the 'net using a mobile from a tethered computer in McDonalds in London.

    In 1999, I bought the Motorola Timeport, the first triband WAP 'phone.

    I've gone through Palm PDAs, Librettos, iPaqs, etc. (Never a Newton, though.)

    Anyway I guess my point is that I've had fun with some early-ish little boxes.

    Today I send on average about 0.1 texts per day, and hate them. Seriously, 50 a day, what the fuck? Am I alone in feeling this?

  • Surprise Surprise! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kilrah_il ( 1692978 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @05:22AM (#33633440)

    And this is surprising because...? I don't understand why it amazes anyone that kids text more than adults. Even without taking into account that kids embrace technology more than (some) adults, we have many reasons for the "findings" of the study:
    1) Kids have more spare time.
    2) Kids spend their time communicating with their friends.
    3) In classes, texting is the only possible way to communicate with others without the teacher catching on to you (electively replacing the secret notes of our generation)
    Probably many more reasons, but I don't feel like trying too hard thinking about them. I'll SMS you when I figured out some more.

  • by MavEtJu ( 241979 ) <slashdot.mavetju@org> on Monday September 20, 2010 @05:27AM (#33633464) Homepage

    100 per day... Imagine 14 hours in a day being awake, that is 7 per hour.

    I wouldn't have time to do other things anymore!

  • by glwtta ( 532858 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @05:33AM (#33633506) Homepage
    I take it "adults" here is defined as 18-30? With everyone older going into the "Eww, gross!" category.

    There's just no way that all adults average out to 10 messages a day.
  • y wd i want 2 txt? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kclittle ( 625128 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @05:55AM (#33633592)
    Why would I actually choose to use some chicklets-keyboard, or way overly-sensitive virtual keyboard, when I can just _call_? I mean, it's a PHONE, gawddamnit!

    Signed, Captain Curmudgeon Old Fart
  • New savior-vivre. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @06:27AM (#33633766) Homepage Journal

    SMS is not a replacement of calls, it's complementary. Calls are intrusive, require full, unbroken attention, and are obtrusive to people around.

    Calls are a valid method to pass urgent important message and the acknowledgment of receiving it is essential, or to ask an urgent short question. They are good when you want to conduct a longer conversation and both parties are not occupied.

    Text messages are good for passing an announcement that doesn't require immediate attention or confirmation, to ask a question that may require research, to pass data that should be retained (written down) like addresses, directions, phone numbers (no, mom, don't dictate this to me, just disconnect and text me that address) and for a discrete conversation when normal phone call would be disruptive to others around.

    You don't text strangers requiring answer - it's rude when they have to pay to answer unsolicited question.
    You don't call when you suspect the other person is busy. You may text them to call (or ring) you when they have free time to call instead.
    You may send text to remind about something.
    You do not depend on SMS as the only channel with important messages. You only use them when calling fails, and then still try to reach the other party by means that let them acknowledge receiving the message.

    SMS is no longer about being cheap. It's an essential element of the culture of communication.

  • Re:Progress (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @07:31AM (#33634062) Homepage

    Low-latency asynchronous communication has different benefits to low-latency synchronous communication.

    For example if you are trying to organise something with a bunch of people then it is easier firing texts between each other than making a series of phone-calls.

    But is this really news? When I was teen in the late 90s this was equally true. If anything my generation use texts less because we can afford nice phones that have IM clients...

  • by Timmmm ( 636430 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @07:35AM (#33634092)

    1. You don't have to talk to the person.
    2. It allows them time to think and come up with a good response.
    3. You don't have to listen to them thinking.
    4. It's cheaper.
    5. You can send the same text to more than one person.
    6. They can reply at their leisure if they are busy.
    7. You have a written record of their response.
    8. You don't annoy other people by talking (e.g. on a train).

    Need more?

    Of course there are times when a call is more appropriate, e.g. if you need an instant answer, or want to negotiate something. And 200 texts a day is insane to the point that I don't believe it.

  • Re:Progress (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ImNotAtWork ( 1375933 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @07:37AM (#33634104)

    1. You can read faster than a good portion of people can speak.

    2. No one gets to know what you are conversing over. (teens especially love this)

    3. No one has to hear about what you are discussing. (I'm talking to you Mr. really loud cell phone talker guy)

    4. If you have a crappy memory it is there for retrieval instead of trying to recall what was discussed.

    I hate texting but I ask my significant other to text me the grocery list so other people at work/bus/train don't have to hear/know that I need to pick up some rich chocolaty ovaltine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2010 @07:46AM (#33634150)

    Why would I actually choose to use some chicklets-keyboard, or way overly-sensitive virtual keyboard, when I can just _call_? I mean, it's a PHONE, gawddamnit!

    Async versus sync.

    Sometimes you want to say or ask something, but you don't need to know right now. This allows you to send a message and let them answer at their leisure instead of interrupting them.

    Think of it as portable e-mail instead of IM: you sent a message, but when it's read it's not too important, and when (or if) a reply comes back isn't too important either.

  • by Fearan ( 600696 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @07:54AM (#33634192)

    You're missing the important aspect of ..sometimes I don't want to or can't speak with someone. In this case, txt is much easier. My friends don't have BBs or iPhones, so they can't instantly check their emails. However, everyone is a txt msg away. They don't worry about disturbing me in a meeting or class, and I don't have to waste time checking voicemail (which takes a LONG time). Unless you're writing a novel about txt msg use, for most things you would say by phone, a txt is usually easier & quicker. When it's not, at least you can txt "call me back about X".

  • Re:Progress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @08:07AM (#33634264)
    It's fire and forget. You don't have the risk of getting sucked into a conversation. It doesn't require that the recieving party be present at the time of sending. It's usually faster to receive than a voicemail.

    For example: while snowboarding, if separated, my friends and I usually text each other to say what area/bar we are going to. Service is spotty on the mountain, but sooner or later they go into a spot where the message shows up. Vm doesn't always come through in these conditions, and who wants to pull off hats and goggles when it only takes 3 or four words to get the message across.

    I would think Internet based communications are replacing SMS, but even in my example SMS seems to work better as all you need is a gsm signal. Often the Internet doesn't work well when you have a really weak edge signal.
  • by jridley ( 9305 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @08:14AM (#33634316)

    Hell, I sometimes go 2 or 3 weeks without even turning my phone ON. I don't think my send and receive together add up to 10 a YEAR.
    'Course, there's essentially zero coverage at my house. Texts CAN get through there, but it takes up to 2 or 3 hours by my tests.

  • by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @09:17AM (#33634752)
    I can beat that. Not counting automated monitoring squawks, I receive less than 1 per month from humans. I give thanks for this regularly. While the ability to communicate in media other than voice, from just about anywhere has it's merits, it is in most case a barrier to effective communication. No one can type as fast as they can talk, so when you factor in the time it takes for the sender to actually type, actually getting the message takes far longer than just reading it. The only real benefit of text is that, as ImNotAtWork observes below, you don't annoy others with your conversation. That is, of course unless you're the dickhead in the movie theater who thinks that his bright 4" screen is not annoying every single person seated behind him.
    Sorry, but texting is nothing more than a 19th century technology without the latency of telegrapher and courier.
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @09:34AM (#33634934) Journal

    I had the same reaction as the parent-poster - watching teens post 10,000+ (not exaggerating) texts a month, most of them "'sup?" "nothin" "whr r u?" sorts of things that would be much more easily and quickly communicated by a brief phone call.

    This is going to sound like a get-off-my-lawn post, but I'll say it: the teenagers I encounter who are amply connected through texting are utterly STUNTED when it comes to interpersonal communication in realtime. Some actually blanch if they're required to make a phone call to a non-friend. Not only that, their basic phone-handling skills are almost entirely absent. Self-identification? Leaving a number? Clarity? None.

    On the other hand, they are staggeringly competent at multithreaded conversations - I've watched people raiding a hard instance in WoW *while* conducting 3 simultaneous in-game personal chat conversations, AND 2+ AIM conversations. As a 42-year old, I simply couldn't comprehend juggling all those conversations at once, and they do it effortlessly.

    As far as the preference for texting - aside from the ability to multithread, which is useful, I put it down to a root-narcissism. With texting you aren't interrupted, you can carefully compose your thoughts, and respond at your own pace, without the uncomfortable and unpredictable immediacy of a phone conversation. You can cheerfully ignore that person until YOU want to 'talk' to them.

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