Text Messaging: Who Cares?


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?



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!

NJ WebGuy

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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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…..

Andre Kibbe

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Carlos Manta Oliveira

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.

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