Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

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Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:15 am

I recently came across the following statistics on the average number of texts sent and received by smartphone owners per month. As someone who regularly goes months without sending or receiving a single text message, this blew my mind. I mean, the stats show that even people in the age range that texts the least still get nearly 250 per month, which is probably more than I've received in my entire life

Do these numbers seem accurate in your experience? Am I really as ridiculously bad as this is showing me to be?


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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:30 am

Aw man, you're being way too hard on yourself with regard to this texting shit.

Outliers exist in any sample size and you seem to be one of those outliers. The study is only focused on the average texts sent and received in each age bracket. It is NOT and probably never will be, a moral yardstick to measure yourself against.

I hardly send or receive texts either, so that makes me a dinosaur in my demographic as well. Beyond my immediately family, I'd have no one to call if I ever found myself in a crisis or if I needed commiseration.

Hell, I don't even have fucking Facebook.

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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by reboot on Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:37 am

I moved this to off topic because it fit a little better

Sent/received are a terrible metric of anything other than raw usage since they say nothing about content of the relationship between sender/receiver

I get a lot of texts (35-44 group), probably more than on that graph. 95% of them are work relate (e.g. I am going to be late, where is X file saved, where is the meeting, there is a call with Y at 2:30 can you join, PDS won't accept our submission for Q4, help!). I get these texts because I am often in meetings and cannot be called. Neither me nor the sender is really wanting anything to do with these texts. About 4% are my credit card or other account letting me know a bill has posted/a card use alert/payment cleaned. About 0.5% are 2 step verification for accounts, and the remaining 0.5% are social and something I am usually excited/happy to read/reply to, so maybe 20 max out of 2000 received texts?


Last edited by reboot on Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by caliseivy on Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:01 am

Yeah I don't have the number of texts I send at hand right now, but I doubt it's anywhere near 1,000 in any month, despite me being more of a texter than a caller. I think there are variables at play other than how many friends one has, such as if one communicates with their job through text messages, or their phone number is in an advertisement database so they receive annoying text offers. There's also no mention of how many of the texts sent or received are from the same person; the majority of my texts are to/from my sister.
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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by KMR on Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:53 am

The high numbers on that chart probably represent people who use texting to carry on extended conversations. Since each text represents a small chunk of dialogue,* a single conversation can easily contain hundreds of texts from both sides. But not everyone uses texting in this way. I didn't have a smartphone until a year ago, and I had a limited texting plan prior to that, so I mostly only think to use texting as a way to send one-off messages like "I'm running late."

I also think that, oftentimes, you would need to explicitly establish that you want to use text to communicate with someone in order for it to actually happen, rather than just expecting a person to text you spontaneously. Just because someone has your phone number and knows that you can receive texts doesn't mean that they'll assume you want to be messaged or how frequently you would want this kind of communication to occur. Everyone is different; some people find unexpected texts to be a nice surprise, but some people find them to be a bit of an intrusion and don't want to deal with them. If someone doesn't know which side of that coin you fall on, they may err on the side of caution and not text you unless you specify that they can and should do so. You can also initiate a few conversations through texting with someone to show them that this is a method of communication that you like to use, then see if they will take that hint and start texting you themselves more regularly.


*1-2 sentences per text at most. And keep in mind that there are many people who split their sentences into multiple texts and/or send single words like "yeah" or "lol" as individual texts, which will greatly inflate those numbers.
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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by Robjection on Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:01 am

KMR wrote:The high numbers on that chart probably represent people who use texting to carry on extended conversations. Since each text represents a small chunk of dialogue,* a single conversation can easily contain hundreds of texts from both sides. But not everyone uses texting in this way. I didn't have a smartphone until a year ago, and I had a limited texting plan prior to that, so I mostly only think to use texting as a way to send one-off messages like "I'm running late."

...

*1-2 sentences per text at most. And keep in mind that there are many people who split their sentences into multiple texts and/or send single words like "yeah" or "lol" as individual texts, which will greatly inflate those numbers.

With this in mind, I would be interested to see whether or not those who collected or handled that data could provide the medians for each age group.


Last edited by Robjection on Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:03 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by eselle28 on Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:01 am

Note that this is an average. I suspect that this may be one of those cases where the average and the median may vary substantially. [EDIT: Oops, Robjection got to that point first.] Some people text essentially all day, not necessarily to a large number of people, and others frequently communicate through text for work. Other people very rarely text.

For whatever it's worth I'm 35 and sent/received a grand total of 192 texts this month, with 6 days left in my billing period.
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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:07 am

So, I send/receive a fair number of texts a month. I don't have a count, but it's definitely in the high hundreds.

But looking at my text history, I have 11 addresses total on it for last month.

Here they are:
1. My SO
2. My brother
3. My daughter's therapist
4. JoAnn Fabrics promotional list
5. My daughter's GS troop leader, who uses texts instead of emails for broadcast messages
6. Sprint advertising
7. An ID code from Chase
8. Amazon delivery notices
9. My ex-husband, discussing logistics for kids
10. My paid house cleaner, confirming appointments and instructions
11. A request to review my Uhaul experience.

My SO is obviously a real social thing, and my brother is a mostly social thing. Literally everything else on that list is advertising or pure logistics. 95% of my text messages come and go from a single person. We just have a relationship that means lots of texting. Before I started dating him, I pretty much never sent non-logistics messages except to my brother.

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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:12 am

Also, drilling down into the article (for Robjection):


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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by eselle28 on Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:17 am

Thanks for the data, ElizaJane! I think that shows a more diverse and more realistic picture of how much texting is going on.
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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by Robjection on Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:07 pm

ElizaJane wrote:Also, drilling down into the article (for Robjection):
Thanks ElizaJane. So it looks like the high end being so high is what's skewing the mean. Box plots would help to solidify this hypothesis, although I can't remember the last time I saw one outside of maths class.

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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by Enail on Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:22 pm

For another data point, I send/receive less than 5 texts a month most months. I'm a bit aggressively luddite about cell phones, though.
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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:19 pm

Thanks, everyone, for the context. I'm still obviously pretty far below average, but not as ridiculously so as I first thought.

I guess that's one of my bigger problems. When you grow up in an environment like I did that was clearly anything but normal, you don't get to form a sense of perspective of what "normal" really looks like.

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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by Enail on Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:36 pm

I'm not sure it's really all that useful to compare details of 'normal' and decide how much you feel you're lacking based on that - you know that you feel unhappy with the amount of social contact you get, aren't your feelings the more important factor than your relation to the statistical average?   It seems like it might be more useful to trust your feelings and try and figure out ways to change your circumstance based on what you would like to be different rather than trying to measure how satisfied/dissatisfied you should be based on "normal."
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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by eselle28 on Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:44 pm

In addition to what Enail mentioned, I think this data suggests that there might not be a "normal" when it comes to text messaging. There are other things where there isn't, either, and that's one more reason to go with your feelings.
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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by PintsizeBro on Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:49 pm

I send and receive a lot of texts. Many are work-related. Many are logistics-related.

I didn't start texting more than the occasional "running late" until I got a smartphone.

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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by waxingjaney on Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:41 pm

I receive maaaaybe 10 texts a year, and I can't remember if I've sent one this year or not. I grew up before texting was a thing, and I don't have any meaningful interactions with people who did.
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Re: Text messaging - Accurate in your experience?

Post by reboot on Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:36 pm

I wonder if Hispanics text more because it is cheaper for international communication?
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