Anyone curious about what Mr. and Mrs. America are really doing with the technology should check this survey from The Pew Internet & American Life Project, a ceaselessly fascinating window into how the Internet and the gadgets we use are changing the way our society functions.
Pew’s latest survey, Americans and Text Messaging, reveals that we’re living through a transitional moment when texting seems to be steadily catching up to traditional phone calls as a preferred means of communications, especially among young adults. The ramifications will be felt not only among family and friends but also in the workplace.
Some results from the survey of 2,277 adults conducted in April and May:
- 83 percent of American adults own cell phones and 73 percent send and receive text messages.
- 31 percent said they preferred texts to talking on the phone, while 53 percent prefer a voice call to a text message.
- Heavy text users are much more likely to prefer texting to talking. Some 55 percent of those who exchange more than 50 messages a day would rather get a text than a voice call.
- Young adults are the most avid texters by a wide margin. Cell owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day — that works out to more than 3,200 texts per month — and the typical or median cell owner in this age group sends or receives 50 messages per day (or 1,500 messages per month).
- Overall, text messaging users send or receive an average of 41.5 messages on a typical day, with the median user sending or receiving 10 texts daily.
If you don’t currently text much, these figures may seem shocking. I mean, 3,200 texts per month? But as these young adults move into the workforce, we can expect to see texting become a much more prevalent mode of everyday business communication.