Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Prodigious texters, those kids.

A factoid about youth and texting from this article.
American teenagers sent and received an average of 2,272 text messages per month in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the Nielsen Company — almost 80 messages a day, more than double the average of a year earlier.
I'm ignoring the hand-wringing tone of the article — kids will be fine, and I'm glad they're communicating to each other in writing. But is anyone else rather surprised by that rate of messages? I know I'm an old fart, but even when I was a young fart, I never communicated with friends at that rate. That's a message every twenty minutes, day and night.


  1. The rate isn't that surprising, when you consider that in a 'conversation' via text, each dialogue segment becomes a separate message. I regularly treat my phone like a mobile IM service (because I text for free), and a short chat with a friend might take a dozen or so messages.

  2. That's true.

    So let's say that there's a 20-turn dialogue in which I send 10 messages. That seems like rather a longish dialogue by SMS standards. After three turns, I usually phone them.

    So according to this article, I'd be having eight such conversations a day. Even that seems like a lot. And that's an average.

  3. Another good thing is that they are probably communicating with a greater number and more diverse group of people than you old farts ever did.

  4. Also, I am sure many of those are made up of single lol's and lmao and the like :)

  5. I am only slightly surprised to hear those stats, and I suspect that the the figures would be pretty similar here in NZ from what I see.

    And I just have to say: I hate lol
    So overdone.
    But I guess it shows the flexibility of the language that I now think of it as pronounced "lol" rather than processing what it is supposed to mean. But who actually laughs out LOUD when they type it?? Are there really all these people tapping on phones and keyboards around the globe uttering audible giggles every time they use the term?

  6. 'lol' only gets used all the time because 'l' by itself feels somehow inadequate, and 'caloti' (chuckling a little on the inside) just confuses people.

  7. Words have a habit of escaping their original meanings. 'Lol' could be going through a kind of semantic widening.


Thanks for commenting! If this comment is on a post older than 60 days, your comment will go straight to moderation, and I'll approve it if it's not spammy.