A study reported by the New York Times comes up with some numbers related to text messaging usage. According to them, in the US 82 percent of cellphone owners say that they never use text messaging, 3 percent use it monthly, and 15 percent use it […]

A study reported by the New York Times comes up with some numbers related to text messaging usage. According to them, in the US 82 percent of cellphone owners say that they never use text messaging, 3 percent use it monthly, and 15 percent use it weekly or more often. If you’ve ever watched a teenage cellphone user, you know that some of those 15 percent use it a lot more.

These numbers suggest that the extra charge for text messaging on the iPhone 3G might not matter all that much. Annoyingly, the original survey doesn’t seem to be available anywhere, making it tough to evaluate the reliability of these figures. So let’s check with the web workers: do you use text messaging? Or is it one of those bits of technology that you can easily do without?

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  1. Walter Wimberly Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    I have arthritis in my hands/fingers and therefore no desire to text message anyone. I’ve sent 0 “txt msgs” in my life, and received maybe 6 to 8 – which works to less than .5 messages a year.

  2. Chad Crowell Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    I text about once a month, and get 2-3 a month. I’m 33 and a total tech geek and gadget guy. But I just don’t *get* texting. Just call me. Or email me.

  3. Are you kidding me?
    I text daily….

  4. Robert ‘Groby’ Blum Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    Daily text. Last month, 987 msgs. How would I know? I’m on a 200msg plan. (Ouch!!!)

  5. Here in Europe it is use *a lot* especially by the Y generation. It is not uncommon to have friends who send over 1000 msg per month (no kidding).
    Some package offer free SMS which means that young girls/guys use it instead of calling.

    Also, many services are built and apreciated to alert (“We received your order. You can come and pick it up at our store.”)….

  6. if you want to compare:


    1 CHF = 1.03 USD

    (Plan for the IPhone = expensive SMS)

  7. Scott Blitstein Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    I get some reminders via text message but don’t send them at all.


  8. I have love for the Text. I communicate with a LOT of people via text. I also have a teenager who sends me messages. And I use Twitter to promote my various writings (and yes, I get results from that…hehehe)

  9. Definitely weekly, at a minimum. Most of my texts fall into two categories:
    1. Informational: Sending someone an address, phone number, driving directions, etc so they don’t have to take notes.

    2. Questions where I want text back, such as asking for a phone number, or to Google for local weather forecasts, flight informations, check movie times, game scores, etc etc.

    Could I easily do without it… I use it for the convenience factor, but could easily do without.

  10. Every ASHM mom I know is converting to text messages for rapid communication across the city. We only get to our emails in the evening; we can reach our husbands without majorly disrupting them; we don’t have to get off with an “Uh oh, I’ve got to go.” Now that I’ve switched to messaging, I prefer it. It’s just enough of a pain in the neck that the message I get are to the point – and easier to deal with.

  11. I use messaging quite a bit. Its great for sending reminders, getting sports scores from friends while you’re in church, and google’s sms search is pretty darn handy.

    I also run a business based on text messaging.


    We use text messages to notify subscribers that they’ve won movie screening passes.

  12. I know a lot of people that don’t talk on the phone anymore, everything is handled over texting. I send/receive maybe 50 – 100 a month, and those are back and forth between my woman and me (because I work at home, and she gets bored during work). Beyond that, I have two minutes to have a conversation, make plans, and relay what I’m thinking to someone in an actual conversation. I’m too impatient to text. The percentage seems low though with the number of kids I see texting CONSTANTLY though. I can’t go to a movie theatre without 10 kids texting through the whole thing. When will people take the time to consume what is happening to them right now?

    NoteScribe: Note Taking Software

  13. Paul Carney Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    Yes – text usually at least 4-5 times a day with my wife and daughter. I have a qwerty keyboard (would not put up with the 0-9 texting).

    Texting is so much easier to communicate quickly without a call. Plus, I get unlimited texting, and am limited by phone minutes, so a quick text works.

    You can text while in places where a phone call would be annoying or inappropriate.

    I believe the stats are way off – I know more people who text (of all ages) than the survey represents.

  14. Randal Burgess Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    It’s not “us” that is using text messaging like crazy…it’s those crazy “kids”–those Y Gen pups that will do the same thing to our communications that we did to our parents’ communications: Change it, once again.

    When they ever get around to posting that survey data, find out what age groups they surveyed. I’m going to guess that the surveyors were asking questions to the folks paying for the wireless service instead of the youngsters getting it free from mom and dad.

  15. Todd Andrews Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    I will venture to assume all those you use the web effectively, also use other technology such as text messages. Its the new email. Slowly making its way up to older generations.

  16. billbennettnz Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    Here in New Zealand cellphone voice calls are skyhigh, txts are cheap, so txt is often the medium of choice, especially for youngsters.

    My teenage daughters are more or less txt-only phone users. My gen Y colleagues are more tuned to text than voice. I’m comfortable (but slow) with it — partly because my age and my journalist training means I’m conditioned to writing complete sentences in perfect English.

  17. Khürt Williams Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    If I had a full keyboard I would most likely text more. Cell phone keypads suck. I text more from my iPod Touch than my cell phone.

  18. If I’m going to communicate over a text-based meduium I’m going to do it on a full sized keyboard so I can fully illustrate my point and sound like an intelligent human being. Email for letter-like communicate or AIM for conversations. (Skype for my friends that have and use it.)

    Texting, in my experience at least, is one of those commercially influenced “popular” things that as an open-source and Mac junkie I have a fundamental objection to.

    If I need to be reached when I’m away from my desk (which doesn’t happen often unless I’m in school) voice is far more convenient.

    (Though I hardly ever converse over the phone; I use it if I need something from somebody or need to tell them something urgently.)

  19. I should add that I’m entering 8th grade. Most people my age don’t check their email more than bi-monthly.

  20. I only get messages/pages from my servers and never send text messages. I’m 35 and have been using computers since 5th grade. I don’t *get* texting either. I’m on the computer enough during the day and night, why would I want to use a small, crappy device? I traded in a Razr for the most basic phone available, because it was so annoying. Call me or email me, otherwise, don’t bother me. Although the iPhone is cool…

  21. I’m not a text freak, but I would never consider a plan without text. I use text/SMS to update Twitter and Facebook. I make use of ChaCha, and send Google calendar additions to GVENT. I get reminders from Jott and it is a discreet way to keep in touch with my wife when I don’t have time for full conversations.
    A feature I’m really growing to love is the ability to text while on the phone. As an example, if I get a call while on a call, I have the ability to use quick text to send the second caller a note that I’m on the phone and will call them as soon as I get off the current call.

  22. It’s hard to believe this article was even written, obviously it could only be in America because America is the only technologically advanced country that does not use text messaging much.

    Here in the UK, most people under 60, and a minority over 60, send text messages regularly. Some people can text as fast or faster than typing on conventional keyboards by using predictive texting. You have just have to quit making sweeping statements about keyboard when all you have to do is learn something new.

    Through texting Twitter, I can for the cost of my free contract inclusive text messages, manage my Google Calendar which syncs with my computer, track my fuel costs and mileage and my weight over months and years, take notes which again synchronise on my computer, stay in contact with friends through various social networks or through direct text messages, and much much more.

    Finally text messaging lets me have a record messages I have sent and received and such messages (though not mine personally) have been used as evidence in court.

  23. Oh and I’m not a teenager, I’m in my 30s.

  24. Amanda – The Mom Crowd Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    I text daily! I have an unlimited plan. When we went to the Philippines it was a lot cheaper to send texts between islands than to call. My parents went to Europe and all their friends were texting, so they came back bought iPhones and learned how to use them. My mom-in-law Twitters too. It’s a lot of fun.

  25. Texting is just easier sometimes. Love my Blackberry.

  26. Many of the SaaS applications I develop and intend to create for the web are centric to text messaging, so I easily send 1-2 messages a day just using my own services. I text 4-8 times daily to friends. I’m 41 yrs old, and a unlimited text plan actually saves me money. I’d like to drop the voice service at times :)

  27. Constantly. Not even counting the use of standard e-mail on a Blackberry. The wife and I text back and forth all day when one of us is at work or otherwise in a position not to have traditional e-mail access, and where phoning wouldn’t be urgent. Observations, the latest stunt a kid pulled, what to make for supper, what to pick up at the store, an outlet for griping about work… it’s great. I even used it a fair amount when I had a prepaid phone that got dinged 5 cents per text.

  28. Aliza Sherman Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    I get reminders for every single thing I need to do each day that I cannot miss by setting up 30Boxes.com to text me. I’m in my 40s so need every reminder I can get. Half the time, my phone beeps and I don’t even remember what it was set to remind me about until I check the text message (client meetings, assignment deadlines, etc). Saves my bacon almost every time. The only time it doesn’t is when I have my phone accidentally turned off or on silent mode. I also email friends daily and family members weekly.

  29. As another commenter said this is an area that speaks volumes about the difference between USA and Europe.

    In Denmark – a country with 5,5 million people – we’re approaching 2 billlion text messages sent per year.

    In regards to the iPhone the funny thing here is that the chosen carrier offers free MMS as part ot the iPhone plan – yet it seems like the iPhone doesn’t even support this feature…

  30. Anthony Russo Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    My Remember The Milk, Google Calendar, Twitter directs, all come to me in my text messaging. It is useful for services, but not to talk to actual people.


  31. Carlos Manta Oliveira Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    I text at least 5 times a day, and get the same back. But then again, I am european. Meet you at the café in 15 minutes is probably the most common.

    And of course alerts, from football scores to what movies premier this week, promotions on the shops I usually go to… I even get 1 environmental tip per week from the green party.

  32. I’m 25 and I text multiple times daily. Sometimes I twitter, but mostly I text friends to organize my social life. It’s much easier to text 6 people to say “Want to see a movie at 8pm” than to call each one of them individually. I also like that texting allows someone to hold off on their response. They don’t have to answer me right now, they can text me later when they get a chance.

  33. My library sends me text message alerts about my account (hmmm…must put library book in car) and this is my only use. At my age, I can barely see the keys on my cell phone well enough to make a phone call without putting my glasses on. I have no desire to use the keyboard for text messaging.

  34. Me? Daily. Less intrusive than a call; quicker, more available than an email; more permanent than a voicemail, or even a call sometimes – people don’t remember names, numbers, directions very well:- better to text it to them.
    Plenty of businesses send alerts via sms. Banks – good one. Airlines – excellent.

  35. This is amazing, and I agree with Ian. I’m in America. I’m in my late 30’s. I’ve used text as an essential for almost 10 years now! I even wrote PHP/Flash gateways (back in The Day) so people could text each other at work…because they couldn’t figure out their phones.

    I *taught* my teenage daughter how to text…heheheh (again…back in the mythical Day)

    Americans…we’re a pretty backwards society in some ways.

  36. I’m with Ian, brett and collin. I’ve been using text messaging since the Treo 300. Like collin, I’m in my late 30’s and live in the US, and was always surprised by the lack of adoption.

    There are 3 reasons Americans use texting less. First, America is a car culture, and it’s hard to text when you’re driving. The rest of the world walks or uses public transit (the international average for car ownership is 1 in 17 people; in the US it’s 1 in 2).

    Second, it’s only been in the last six years that intercarrier SMS has been a reality. Up until the Treo 600 offered MO-SMS (Mobile Originated — i.e. not through a web gateway), I could only text to people on the Sprint network unless I used a workaround. Texting between carriers was more trouble that is was worth.

    Third, developing countries took to texting like wildfire, because most SMS pricing 10 years ago was based on airtime, not per-message charges. Paying for a split second of airtime vs. spending a few minutes on the phone was a no-brainer.

  37. I text daily – to my wife, my kids, and get google calendar reminders to me. It’s about 400-500 a month. I couldn’t live without it. (I think the kids comments show I’m not in the teen category – but my mid 40’s. I can’t believe people don’t use it…..

  38. It’s interesting, I do have a few friends that live in Europe (like some of you folks) and they have also mentioned that far more texting is done more. Thanks for the additional information Andre, that makes a lot of sense. Especially about the cars comment: It is hard to text and drive! I’ve nearly wrecked far too many times!

    NoteScribe: Premier Note Software

  39. When I got new cell phones for the family in 2004 after a move, they were the first phoens for my daughters. I excluded texting from the cell plan, and they were told “no texting”. I didn’t “get” it either. Call if you need something. Replaced cell phones after 2 years, got the unlimited texting plan – kids wanted it. Now they have newer phones with QWERTY keyboards – but Mom got it first. They text constantly, and like so many others have said, it’s more available than email (and available when power/Internet is out at home, too!!!), it’s very discreet, it’s non-intrusive. We use it for things that don’t need an immediate answer – a “what do you want for dinner?” at 10:00 am can be answered at lunch. I’m the least textually-active of the family – and I’ve still got my old number pad phone that I text with one thumb on. My wife and kids can type a flurry. If I’m home and want to text easily, I use vtext.com and send my text thru a web interface…

    Here in Washington state it’s illegal to text and drive; it just became illegal to use a cell phone without a headset while driving.

  40. I send and receive, at minimum, a thousand text messages a month. Given the absurdly high voice and data rates in Canada, buying and taking advantage of a text messaging plan is often the most affordable way to communicate immediately with others.

  41. I’m 46, and I text with my friends (30s and 40s) all of the time. Sometimes you’re in a situation where speaking aloud on the phone may be an issue, but texting is discreet enough to get by with it. Sometimes you don’t want to get caught up in a big conversation, just need to send a quick message. And on one memorable occasion, I was able to get SMS messages through to a friend who was stuck for 36 hours on I-45 between Dallas and Houston in the Great Hurricane Rita Traffic Jam, when making a voice connection was impossible. Every few hours, I’d text: “Whr R U?” and she’d send me back a mile marker number.

  42. uhhh..hourly?

  43. I don’t text, nor own a mobile phone. I’m chained to the PC and phone here at the home office for enough hours that I can easily be reached by phone or IM.

    When I get away from the desk for a while, I’ll be back soon enough to deal with whatever comes up while I’m gone. If not, I can easily enough check in on things remotely.

  44. Until recently, when I got an iPhone 3G, I’d never had access to texting ability—although it’s not something I ever missed! And I probably still won’t be texting much (or at all), unless required—$.20/text without adding $5/month to my ATT plan is too much!

    On the other hand, my girlfriend deems texting as absolutely essential! She claims not to be a big texter herself—but since all of her “other” friends are, she must go with the flow!

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