Do you prefer talking or texting?

Statistics are fascinating. Also, to me, how folks use their mobile phones is a fascinating study as this medium and tool infuses into our society.

The Pew Research Internet and American Life recently conducted a survey to gain insight into mobile customers in America and their communication preferences when it comes to their phones. Yes we know that the majority of Americans have a mobile device, which Pew says ownership is up to 83% nationwide and about three quarters of these mobile toting customers utilize text messaging.

One more interesting note is that about a third (31%) prefer to be in touch via text messaging over voice. Looking at the other point of view, 53% of respondents say they prefer to a voice call to a text message. However, digging a little deeper, young adults aged 18 to 24 prefer text messages by a wide margin! People in this age category send an average of 109.5 messages per day, which is a total of almost 3,200 messages per month.

So, as you can plainly see, there’s a huge generational gap as to how Americans are utilizing their phones. Youth prefer messaging while older mobile users want to talk via voice. Personally, I’ve seen many parents and grandparents switch over to text messaging out of necessity. That is, in order to interface with their kids or grandkids, they’re adopting text messaging as it’s the only way they can get adequate responses.

As for my habits, I used to prefer voice calls because I found them to be a more efficient use of my time. However, as I grew more accustomed to SMS and now use it more heavily, I prefer this method of communication.

What method do you prefer?  Let’s chat below in the comments!

(Photo credit: Flickmor)

5 comments on “Do you prefer talking or texting?
  1. Interesting results for sure Jason.

    Here I am… a 26 year old tech enthusiast. I prefer to use SMS for most of my phone communication with friends and family. Most of it is planning something like a meetup or where I’ll be at 4:30. It’s simple and to the point. If I decide to touch base or just say hi I prefer to call and have a 5 minute conversation, this way nothing is misconstrued via SMS and I can have more of a “real” talk. But overall I hate talking on the phone.

    If it’s for business purposes like work or a client I also prefer to make a call. SMS and serious business involving money never goes well together.

    Lastly, the generational gap has a lot to do with the technology we grew up with. 18-24 year-olds probably have been text messaging since they were in 9th grade or earlier. They have an easier time typing on small buttons. Adults over 30 might not feel so comfortable even with a qwerty keypad so they prefer to make the call. It’s a “these darn kids nowadays and their cell phones” old person moment 😉

  2. Even though I log in about 70 hrs a week, I make it a point to allot 5 minute calls in order to have a real conversation with someone. Text messaging my be convenient but if you really look at people who text often, they’re attached to their phones. They’re constantly checking and responding to the point where they barely have any connection to the outside world. The old socializing lessons are becoming more rare each day.

    Phones have come a long way, and they’re supposed to help us make life easier to navigate. However, it’s proven to be the complete opposite. Society has become a shameful shadow of what it once was. No one takes the time to write a real letter anymore, or make the trip to visit a friend. People would rather electronically communicate than having a real conversation. As a tech editor, I know it’s a bit hypocritical, but I’ve found this to be true. I want my children to grow up with the concept of what it’s like to be a respectable lady/gentleman. I want them to value the outdoors. To play outside and enjoy nature rather than sitting in front of their computers and televisions, getting fat and sick among with the rest of our population. I want them to be able to write beautifully and legibly. People nowadays communicate with severely shortened, invented words that would make Edgar Allan Poe and William Shakespeare cringe.

    When I was growing up, writing was a big part of our educational curriculum. Today, barely anyone can write a note that’s legible, vaguely resembling a child’s handwriting. When we had to get our points across, we engaged in intelligent conversations in real life. Today, we have fragmented, unattached, dispassionate responses we call communication. So call me old fashioned, but I value a voice over a text any time of the day. It may not seem like a big deal to the uninitiated, but if you cared enough to look at the real impact on society, you’ll see that a seemingly harmless, simple preference is bigger than we can all imagine.

    • “…they’re attached to their phones all day. They’re constantly checking and responding to the point where they barely have any connection to the outside world.”

      The only word for this is “addiction,” pure and simple. And you’re right, it is very sad. I send a lengthy email to someone or a group, and I instead of a real response, I get a one or two word reply from the “txt msg junkies.” Well, my email list is considerably smaller nowadays, but they respect my opinions and I respect their replies and opinions.

  3. Pingback: 36. Fighting crime, one text message at a time. « Alissa Barry

  4. Although texts are convention and they give you full control of if and when to communicate they are missing the human element of emotion and intention only heard through someones voice.

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