Texting is changing how we communicate
It seems somewhat ironic that the most common method of communicating today was conceived in a pizza place. It was only twenty years ago this week that SMS, or Short Messaging System, was first used when the simple message “Merry Christmas” was sent.
Most would know SMS as “texting”, a worldwide phenomenon that keeps many middle aged people and almost all young people connected. Even if you don’t text, you see it all around you. Just notice the next time you get on an elevator or are driving down the road in crowded traffic. The way we communicate has changed.
Interestingly enough, for all the billions of text messages sent everyday, the communications themselves are limited to 160 characters. That restriction was not based on some technical limitation, but rather was determined as being the average number of characters used in a typical postcard.
Today, texting is the most widely used mobile data service with 74% of all phone users worldwide able to take advantage of this service. This is a pretty significant number, 2.4 billion people worldwide.
As recently as 2010, people around the world send over 6.1 trillion messages. The number is much larger now. That amounts to 192 million messages per SECOND. To put that in more personal terms, your child in college averages 3,200 texts per month. When do they ever have time to study?
Less than one message per person month was sent in 1995. Only five years later, 35 texts per month had become the norm. That was just a hint of the explosive growth that was around the corner.
In 2007, Americans received more text messages than phone calls, a huge change illustrating how different the way we communicate has become. By 2011, the average American was texting over 350 times per month.
Even the rather conservative Oxford Dictionary acknowledged the power of our new way of communicating by recognizing the common acronym LOL (laughing out loud, for the few who don’t know).
However, if you think your children spend too much time texting, consider the feat of the newest member of the Guinness Book of World Records. Ohio native Andrew Acklin sent and received 200,052 texts in just one month. Does he have another life? I hope he had an unlimited data plan.
This is more than a passing fancy. Not only is it changing our language, texting generates huge revenues projected at over $1 trillion in the next seven years. Only our government thinks in numbers this big.
OMG, texting doesn’t get PROPS. IMO, IDC WBU. TUVM. If you can’t beat them, join them.
Dan Ponder can be reached at [email protected]