It probably won’t surprise many that Vancouver Sun’s “Digital Life” writer Gillian Shaw reported that texting traffic doubled in 2010, and is in some cases overtaking talking.
The trend has been consistent since the notion of thumb-typing—since evolved to QWERTYs and full virtual keyboards—was forged by cellphones several years ago.
Gillian’s stats—2.7 billion to 5.4 billion year-over-year—are exclusive to Telus, but undoubtedly the trend maintains itself across all carriers. From her Sun article:
While peak Christmas-time voice calls throughout the Telus wireless and wired networks remained steady year-over-year at 35 million calls, 2010 saw an increase in text messages from an annual 2.7 billion sent and received at the beginning of the year, to 5.4 billion by the end.
It’s difficult to compare the two means of communication since voice callers also text and vice versa but it’s a clear trend with texting becoming the communication of choice for many users, particularly younger ones.
It seems to be a generational thing. Personally, it took me two years to teach my mom how to text—and after texting me once, she never repeated the task. (Perhaps she thought it was a lot of work—but that’s only because she spelled all words in full and manually entered a “Love, mom” signature.)
I think it’s becoming more universal all around, though: First, more older people are texting. Second, more younger people are texting. I didn’t get my first cellphone—a featureless Nokia pay-as-you-go—until I was 17. Now, I see 12-year-olds with iPhones.
I doubt the carriers mind that text traffic is increasing; whenever they can charge 5 cents or more for a text, they’re making about 99 percent profit. They also may want to watch out, though, because offering unlimited plans can really burn them (this danger is far greater with unlimited data plans, mind you).
Of course, it may all soon be irrelevant. With features like Blackberry Messenger, and now Kik Messenger for iPhones and Androids, as well as integrated social feeds that consolidate messages from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more… well, texting almost seems oldschool.
What’s your favourite way to message someone?
Photo credit: Vancouver Sun