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Texting: The preferred mode

October 28, 2011

Kelsey Greening, a student at the University, admits that she can easily send about 200 texts a day.

“I think it has just become a habit for me,” said Greening. “I get awkward talking on the phone, it’s weird, I admit that I don’t have the best communication skills because I text all of the time. Calling is quicker, but texting is easier.”

According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, one-third of Americans prefer texting to having an actual conversation.

The study found that 83 percent of American adults own cell phones and three-quarters of them (73 percent) send and receive text messages. The Pew Research Center Internet and American Life Project asked these texters in a survey how they prefer to be contacted on their cell phones and 31 percent said they prefer texts to talking on the phone, while 53 percent say that they prefer a voice call to a text message. Fourteen percent of those surveyed say that the method of contact that they would prefer would depend on the situation.

Young adults are the in the highest group of texters by a wide margin. Cell phone owners between the ages of 18 and 24 send an average of 109.5 messages on any given day; this figure works out to be more than 3,200 texts per month.

The survey also shows that heavy text users are much more likely to prefer texting to talking. Fifty-Five percent of people who exchange more than 50 messages a day say they would rather get a text than a voice call. Both text messaging and phone calling on cell phones have leveled off for the adult population.

“I only send a few texts a day,” said Jeremy Schultz, 25, a student at the University. “But I do like the fact that texting is more concrete when you are talking there is a bunch of interference all the time, with texting you can think more about what your trying to say and it is easier to keep control of the conversation.”

According to a report on CBS news, over the last four years the major phone carriers have seen huge jumps in the number of text messages sent. In all, Americans sent more than two trillion text messages in 2010.

The report also found that the average length of a cell phone call declined last year to 2.3 minutes. This is the shortest talk time since the 1990s, before mobile phones and cheap calling plans became widely available. The highest talk time came in 2004, when a caller on average talked for 3.05 minutes.