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Are we heading toward a voiceless future? Pew study shows rising trend of text users
Have you ever done that thing where someone calls you, you ignore the call, and then you text them in response? I do that a lot, and I always feel like a little bit ashamed of myself for it. But I know there are others out there like me. I can’t be the only one...
As it turns out, there are plenty of people who will readily admit to preferring text messaging over voice calls. A new study released Monday by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that of 2,277 adults polled, a full 31% said they prefer texts to talking on the phone.
Over half of the respondents (53%) said they prefer voice calls to texts, and 14% said that their preference depends on the situation (voice calls are best for getting directions or quick updates on events, but texting is better for passive-aggressive fights with your sister over a suspicious Facebook status update).
Not surprisingly, the heaviest texters tend to prefer texting to voice calls more than those who text less: of those who send or receive more than 51 texts a day, 55% prefer texting to voice calls, compared to 45% of those who send/receive 21-50 texts a day, and 39% of those who send/receive 11-20 texts per day.
Some 73% of cell phone owners text at least occasionally, with the average user sending and receiving 41.5 messages per day. The median user sends and receives ten text messages a day.
So who is doing all that texting? No shocker here: young adults. But the numbers are pretty dramatic. Cell phone owners in the 18-24 age range send and receive an average of 109.5 text messages per day, which adds up to a whopping 3,200 messages per month. More than one in ten admit to sending and receiving over 200 messages a day. (Not to sound self-righteous but who’s paying for all these texts?!)
By comparison, the next age group up—the 25-34-year-olds—send and receive less than half that number (41.8 per month). Among cell phone owners aged 35-44, that number drops to 25.9 per month.
So does that mean we’re moving toward a voiceless future? Maybe not. The fuel behind the increase in texting isn’t necessarily because it’s voiceless, but because it’s quicker and more convenient. But there are times when you need voice calls to cover the finer details. The necessity of voice calls is spurring on startups that are developing platforms for combination voice/text message conversations, like CloudTalk, a group texting app that allows users to create threads made up of text and voice messages.
Image source: mentalfloss.com
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