Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pew study on text-messaging habits shows 20-somethings send 110 texts per day

Some interesting findings from this recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project that have implications for law profs and lawyers alike (as the college-age subjects of the study eventually turn into clients). For law profs, it's interesting to note that students are probably doing more writing than at any time in history yet the kind of reflective writing skills needed to succeed in law school are in decline. That's no shocker given that most of this writing is done outside an academic context and instead consists of exchanging lots of shorthand notes.

Among the Pew findings:

  • Some 83% of American adults own cell phones and three-quarters of them (73%) send and receive text messages.
  • 31% of that group said they preferred texts to talking on the phone, while 53% said they preferred a voice call to a text message. Another 14% said the contact method they prefer depends on the situation.
  • Heavy text users are much more likely to prefer texting to talking. Some 55% of those who exchange more than 50 messages a day say they would rather get a text than a voice call.
  • Young adults are the most avid texters by a wide margin. Cell owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day—that works out to more than 3,200 texts per month—and the typical or median cell owner in this age group sends or receives 50 messages per day (or 1500 messages per month).
  • Overall, the survey found that both text messaging and phone calling on cell phones have leveled off for the adult population as a whole. Text messaging users send or receive an average of 41.5 messages on a typical day, with the median user sending or receiving 10 texts daily – both figures are largely unchanged from what we reported in 2010. Similarly, cell owners make or receive an average of 12 calls on their cells per day, which is unchanged from 2010.

Download the full study here or view a summary here.


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