Women Embrace Texting

Wireless messaging, or “texting” as it is commonly called, has been adopted much more quickly and widely in Europe and Asia than in the U.S. Some recent studies, though, indicate that more Americans expect to get sore thumbs from texting.

One such study, commissioned by Verizon Wireless, found that 87 percent of 30-to-40 year-old women felt text messaging would help them improve their personal and business communications. What’s more, 80 percent of the women surveyed said they’d find their phones more useful if they could multitask with them by being able to send a text message while talking at the same time.

Eighty-three percent of women over 30, meantime, said they would use the technology to keep in touch with their own family. Only 53 percent, though, would use text messaging to communicate more with their in-laws.

Most people who took the survey (87 percent) also felt that wireless texting is more appropriate than taking a voice call in certain situations. However, 88 percent of people surveyed recognize mobile messaging can provide an alternative for such instances.

Practically all wireless messaging in the U.S. is currently conducted by short-message service (SMS), which allows customers to send messages of up to 160 characters from one two-way messaging capable wireless phone to another, or to any Internet email address. The service isn’t always instantaneous, though, as several technical steps need to take place before a message is delivered.

For its part, Verizon Wireless said its customers are sending and receiving more than 2 million messages every day, up 86 percent during the first quarter of 2002, compared with the previous quarter.

Other interesting facts and trends identified in the survey:

  • Text messaging is like “call-waiting” that enables people to do two things at once. Favorite venues for multi-tasking are while at the movies (58 percent); at loud sports games or concerts (41 percent); at lectures or classes (39 percent).
  • Wireline instant messaging (IM) has greatly influenced consumer expectations about speed – 92 percent said speed is important when sending and receiving text messages.
  • Other technology-related services that consumers would like to see delivered via SMS include (in order) email (81 percent), weather forecasts (52 percent), traffic reports (44 percent) and news updates (41 percent). The ability to play games came in fifth.

Verizon Wireless quoted industry analysts as estimating the number of wireless messaging users in the U.S. will grow from 1.4 million last year to 15 million by 2004.

The study was conducted in March 2002 by the research firm of Penn Schoen and Berland Associates. Survey participants were taken from a general Internet audience of 15-40 year-olds who are current wireless phone and Internet users and familiar with text messaging technology. The study’s margin of error is plus-or-minus 4.3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

Reprinted from Instant Messaging Planet, an internet.com site

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