The SMS turns 20: Do you still text? [POLL]

Believe it or not, on this day in 1992 the first text arrived on Richard Jarvis’ cellphone. The rest, as they say, is history. The SMS became a modern day telegraph line connecting millions in the space of 160 characters. In its rise to prominence it has changed the way we use phones to communicate and shaped the way we socialize, but are we entering a post-SMS era?

The numbers don’t lie. According to AllThingsD, while people still send trillions of texts a year, overall SMS traffic is down as smartphone users turn to replacements such as email and direct messaging services such as iMessage and Skype. Social media has become an ever larger part of the way we communicate with Twitter and Facebook offering yet another alternative.

But for many, the text still reigns. I don’t have any data to back it up, but I would reckon that text messaging makes up the majority of my daily communications (outside of work). It is still the most convenient way to get in touch with practically anyone. You don’t have to worry about having a compatible phone or app. Everyone knows how to text (even my mom gets it at this point). And even if somedays I find myself emailing more or tooling around on Facebook, the text is still my preferred method of getting in touch.

So I post the question to you, readers. Are you still texting? More? Less? Are you using other apps to stay in touch with friends and family? Sound off in the poll and comments below.

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  • Butters619

    Texting is numero 1. Although, recently I started using G Talk pretty heavily.

    • sc0rch3d

      gtalk and gvoice should be the same app by now

      • Nicholas Kaioken Caljean

        perhaps gtalk, gvoice and g+ messenger, honestly.

        • Brian

          g+ messenger and gtalk have no useful purpose in being separate. The fact that g+ messenger is phone-only is pretty useless, whereas on a computer you’re using gtalk through either the stand-alone or an {iGoogle, Gmail, Google+} widget.

          I see gVoice as being very different. I use it for international phone calls and some texting. I prefer using email, but non-Android users tend to not notice them immediately (lame).

          I personally don’t like wrapper apps like iMessage. You have no idea whether or not you’ve sent someone a text or an IM. Sometimes if I’m using both my Nexus and my iPad and I’m talking to someone I’ll stop receiving the texts (because it auto-switched to iMessage on the other end), and they’ll have no idea I’m not receiving the messages (because i’ve walked away from the iPad, or someone else is using it).

          Controllability ++

      • Butters619

        I still call it G Chat half the time

  • maximillion82

    I use SMS still quiet often for people that do not use either Google Talk or WhatsApp messenger.

  • timmyjoe42

    Texting is number 1, until I explode from people trying to have long conversations via text and then I break down and call them to make the madness stop.

    • lion7718

      lol…I do the exact same thing.

  • Crimsonshadow774

    As rare as I possibly can. lol

  • jeremyseattle

    I’m sure iMessage has a lot to do with that decline. People still “text” but a lot of messages just don’t go through SMS proxies.

    • Spoken Word™

      There was a lot of hoopla a few months back claiming the same nonsense. It was quickly debunked. Wait, no, not debunked…..it was shown to be total BS. The author of the study had facts bass ackwards and totally contrary to what the numbers show. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2412124,00.asp

  • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

    Still text but nothing near the 1,000 messages I was sending back in my Myspace years (adolescence). Now I mostly use Gtalk, Facebook messages, G+ messages, and Kik to talk to people. Soon, texting will go the way of the flip phone.

    • jakep_82

      I don’t believe this to be true. Every person that uses a cell phone has one thing in common; a phone number. Facebook is a very distant second when it comes to this kind of ubiquity, and the other services you mention are used by a tiny fraction of people. The cell carriers dictate how we communicate with each other, and SMS will reign supreme until they decide to change. Everything else is just background noise until then.

    • BLADESMAN1889

      I have to disagree also, more like all those alternates you mentioned will go the way of the flip, think of the bigger picture – there’s LESS people out there using Gtalk, G+ etc than are using text messages. Yes those are used by a different generation but don’t forget the older gen who are NEVER going to use those ‘Social Media’ alternatives. [give me UNsocial media – I hate social media junkies !!! lol]

    • Pkmmte

      You used to send 1,000 texts per month when you were a teenager?

      • ClayRogers

        How old is he? I’m 32 and no one texted when I was a teen

    • Alberto_jr

      “KIK” is the number 1 app used in my circle. The newest update made the app the best out there

  • NorthVandea

    I text quite a bit, but only because of Google Voice. Pre-Google Voice I refused to text anyone (or receive texts for that matter) because I will not spend additional money to communicate above my base cell phone bill, and if you look at the volume of actual data (in say MB) compared to how much the carriers charge you for that data, the cost per MB is an absolute highway robbery compared to others forms of “textual” communication.

    • ClayRogers

      Man the economy really is in the crapper if you seriously have to worry about the price of an SMS :)

    • DECollins

      I’m with you, I refuse to pay extra to send or receive 160 characters of plain text when the data plan I already have will allow me to stream a full movie. I understand why it exists with older basic phones, but for anyone with a smart phone and data plan it’s a ‘gotcha’ fee that needs to go away.

      • eclipsenyou

        THIS is why you use Google Voice. FREE unlimited texting! Anyone who pays to text is a sucker!

        • Matt

          In the US.

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    I think you hsould ask instead if people use traditional SMS texting, or other forms such as Google Voice etc.

  • BLADESMAN1889

    My 1st phone [20yrs ago] was a Nokia 101 and the screen could only display 10 numbers it was so small – texting was a nightmare – thankfully not that many people had mobiles and even less knew how to or even what texting was !

  • RichardReich

    Weird that you left out Google Voice as a major alternative.

    • Brian

      Agreed. Free texting FTW.
      Though, you could say that it falls under choice #3 “… other apps …”

      • RichardReich

        I have free texting (well, unlimited in my super cheap off contract plan from T-Mobile). Google Voice is _better_ texting. That’s why I use it.

        • Brian

          I use it all the time as well, as I send most of my texts from a PC, but there are definitely flaws. I don’t like how it doesn’t show emoticons like the stock Messages or Talk apps, and the way how it splits/groups messages from the same contact is quite unpredictable. If there are messages spanning multiple days in a single thread there is no easy way to figure out what day a single message is from (unlike the Message app).

          This could be easily solved if they simply added a configuration option to enable/disable conversation threading, but since so few Android users actually use gVoice (sad but true) I doubt it’s a priority. Now that new carrier plans are starting to impose unlimited texting in their plans (e.g. Verizon) it will remain in the shadows

  • http://bamaredwingsfan.blogspot.com/ JH

    Once Google voice allows pic messages, texting will be done

  • TBN27

    I like to talk on the phone than text because quite frankly i feel the conversation can happen faster and less of a distraction in some instances, than waiting for a reply. Yes leaving someone a voicemail and waiting for a reply is the same thing but not while actually speaking to the person. But, because a lot of my friends text, i do ot by default. Regardless it is a great and timeless technology that will never go away.

  • ScottColbert

    If it keeps me from having to talk to my family, I’ll keep texting until I drop.

  • Itchy_Robot

    Texting is perfect for people like me that hate small-talking to people =)
    The main reason I use it is because it is universal … meaning everyone has it built into their phones, no need to download an app.

  • BigCiX

    I text more then I call

  • Rdfry

    Started out using Chomp on the G1 switched to Handcent because Chomp didn’t do mms.

  • TechGuy22

    dont talk on the phone much. text only.

  • toomuchgame441

    No I don’t text anymore… It’s played out :-P

  • SuperUser1

    of course I still text

  • InspectorGadget80

    My first phone was a old NOKIA candy bar phone but forgot what model it was and i was only 17yrs. andDamn didn’t know it was that old thought it was like 97′ when it came out. now and days stupid teens and people communicate on facebook which i dont. I prefer text it’s classic.

  • Jayshmay

    I hate txt msg’g with a passion!!!!!! It is informal, impersonal! I hate it!

    • ClayRogers

      Agreed, it’s ruined many of today’s youth,. They no longer know how to interact with people without text. Sad.

  • http://wyldtek.com/ wyldtek

    Its my primary if you count Google Voice

  • Matthew Merrick

    i send about 5 texts a month, and they’re almost all through Google Voice
    apparently i’m in the minority o_O

    my primary forms of communication are Google Talk and Steam chat.

  • Carmen S.

    I mainly text(about 20-30,000 a month) and i talk 500 total mins in a month.

    • ClayRogers

      That is absolutely insane.

      • Carmen S.

        lol perhaps but honestly i get sick of people so this limits my need to talk to them no more than i have too :)

  • Cory

    I basically only text. I call my mom and my boyfriend, T Mobile, card accounts and such but I usually only call friends when I need to talk to them immediately or if they’re notoriously slow about texting and I need an answer to something.

  • http://twitter.com/knirirr knirirr

    I almost never used text messages until I obtained a device with a QWERTY keyboard, and so I use them a lot more now I have a smartphone than I did years ago. They’re often more useful than phone calls, which I don’t make if I can avoid it.

  • Robert Sydbrink

    Sending SMS for me is free and most of my friends, so we do it alot.

  • bluegreen343

    Text all the time… although not as much since I got a smartphone… lol

  • Ben Kapferer

    I think a lot more text messages would be made if the rates weren’t so high for what is a couple kilobytes per message.

  • Montisaquadeis

    U still use messengers like yahoo and windows live which facebook is tied to. I still use sms for those people that dont have either internet or smartphones wiith which the messengers are out for.

  • Carl Rood

    The thing is if your in a spot with bat 3G/4G service and no WiFi, SMS still works. In fact, it works better than voice in a lot of situations.

  • DMalcolmCarson

    I still think texting is one of the best ways ever invented to communicate. All other forms of communication outside of a direct call, you have to wonder whether the person is “on” or “checking” this or that particular service, even their email or voicemail. If you have their phone number, you know they get texts, it pushes so there’s they don’t have to check anything, and almost everyone always has their mobile phone with them. I don’t really like to admit it, but number two for me (outside of email and good old voice) ends up being Facebook comments, status updates, messages, etc. One way or another, most everyone I know is on Facebook, and Facebook seems to do a good job of harassing everyone with what everyone else is doing, saying.

  • eclipsenyou

    Do you “still” text? Does a bear sheet in the woods? lol
    Of course!

  • dcm5150

    I love when people have a 30 minute “argument” via text and they are arguing over a “misinterpretation” of a previous text.

    Text is still king i think the only reason for the decline is the use of Facebook and Google+ replacing some of the actual measured texts (as the aricle points out).

    One interesting note, my middle schooler came home the other day and a group had to post something and she said “I told them to post it on Google+ because nobody uses Facebook anymore”

  • xarophti

    It’s still the primary method of communication with my husband when we’re both at our respective workplaces.

  • Matt

    I text people everyday with work related info. Not everyone has or wants a social network and still not everyone has email on their phone – some are still using feature phones. Also the situation in Australia is different. Nobody pays to receive a text or a call…. it’s only the sender who pays. Most people have more credit than they need and penny pinching over texts (and calls) is a thing of the past. Unlimited SMS/MMS and calls with a decent amount of data (1 GB+ with unlimited social) is available on the second best network for ~ $40 a month.