Texting this generation’s preferred communication

Morgan Burns got into trouble with her parents for an $800 phone bill after sending over 12,000 texts in one month during her freshman year.

As a result, Burns, a senior strategic communication major, now has unlimited texting and pays her own phone bill. Even though she now has unlimited texting, she said that she still texts less.

“I don’t know why I text less now,” she said. “I didn’t get texting until my freshman year of college, so I guess it was exciting that I had it so I used it all the time.”

Burns said the novelty of having the ability to text has worn off.

Now, Burns said she sends about 200 texts per day, which according to a study by the Nielsen Company, puts her above the national average for her age group.

According to the study, which was released this month, the number of texts sent by all age groups had increased across the board.

In particular, the study said the number of texts sent by teens between the ages of 13-17 increased 8 percent from the 2009 study, with an average of 3,339 texts per month. Young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 send less than half that with an average 1,630 texts per month, or about 54 texts per day.

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Andrew Ledbetter said the increase in texting could be attributed in part to its affordability because of the number of unlimited texting plans offered.

Kelsey Sayko, a senior criminal justice major, agreed.

“I can go over my minutes, but I can’t go over my texting,” she said.

Ledbetter also said that texting is also more popular because it has become more socially acceptable.

“Once any sort of technology reaches a critical mass where enough people are using it, it takes off and people feel comfortable using that technology regularly in their social lives,” he said.

Sayko said she sends anywhere from 100 to 200 texts per day, and that texting is her primary form of communication because it can be easier.

“I have conversations [over texts],” she said. “I would rather text than talk, so I usually text.”

Surveys conducted by Nielsen concluded that many people consider texting to be faster and more convenient than voice calls, which could explain an overall decrease in voice calls over the last year.

Brandon Somerhalder, a freshman pre-major, said that while it may be convenient to text instead of calling, the conversation was of not the same quality as actually talking.

“The relationship isn’t as close if you’re not actually talking with the person,” he said.

Ledbetter said that people use texting to keep in contact with friends, family, and romantic partners, but also for more objective reasons.

“You text somebody to say “Hey I’m running five minutes behind, there’s traffic,'” he said. “We use that [technology] to coordinate our tasks.”

Junior sociology major Todd Klepacki said he sends between two and 10 text messages per day, and that it is usually for the purpose of arranging to meet with somebody.

“…Usually I text people if they can’t talk [on the phone],” he said.

Sayko said she talks to friends over text, but she has also noticed older generations are texting more now, too.

“I use texting to keep in touch with my mom,” she said.

Ledbetter said he also texts. On average, he said he sends maybe two or three per day, but that there are many days that he goes without texting at all.

“I’m 31, and I text my wife and that’s about it,” Ledbetter said.

He said if he was in college and had an established network of friends whom he texted, that he would probably use it more.

“I think there is definitely a generational trend to texting,” he said.

Burns agreed, but said that as she gets older she thinks she would probably text less than she does now. As for more $800 phone bills, she said she hopes unlimited texting plans will help her steer clear.