Wednesday, September 15, 2010

All thumbs?

I used to hate it when my kids would send me a text message.

My phone didn't have a qwerty keyboard and it was a pain in the 277. (Figure it out)

Then this summer I got my first smart phone and I have multiple keyboard options including slide out, and a couple of on-screen gizmos.

I still don't text like my kids but now I at least am using more of my allotted monthly text messages. And I use my index finger, not thumbs.

Pew Report: Grown-Ups Text, Too

Adults aren't as avid text messagers as teens are, but a growing number are letting their fingers do the talking via cell phone. The proportion of U.S. adults who send and receive text messages has grown from 65% to 72% from September 2009 to May 2010, according to a new Pew Research Center study on mobile use.

But they still have a long way to go to catch up with their teen counterparts, who typically exchange 50 text messages a day compared to 10 by adults. The study found that heavy adult texters tend to be heavy users of voice calling, while light texters -- those who exchange 1 to 10 messages a day -- don't make up for less texting with more calling.

Voice service remains the primary cell phone function for most adults, who exchange five calls a day. Looking at how use varies by gender, the Pew report found that women make slightly fewer calls per day. More than a quarter (26%) of men send and receive 6 to 10 calls a day, while 20% of women exchange that many calls.

A recent Nielsen study found that women on average spend 22% more time talking on cell phones (856.3 minutes a month compared to men's 666.7). The Pew study, however, didn't compare cell phone use by men and women by minute.

In terms of behavior, women are slightly more likely to place frequent calls to just say hello and chat and report on where they are or find out where someone else is. Men are more likely to make calls about coordinating where to meet others, and to exchange calls about work. Both men and women were likely to have long conversations to discuss important personal matters on the cell phone. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of cell phone owners overall use their devices to have long personal conversations with someone, although these conversations generally take place less frequently than coordinating a meeting, checking in or just friendly chatting.

The use of cell phones for more than brief exchanges underscores recent research by Pew indicating 23% of Americans have only a cell phone for calls and another 17% have a landline but receive most of their calls on their handset. African-American and Hispanic mobile users are more likely than whites to make and receive large numbers of calls each day and are more likely to text. One in eight (12%) African-American phone owners and 14% of Hispanic cell users exchange more than 30 calls on a typical day, while just 4% of their white counterparts make and receive the same number of calls.

African-Americans and Hispanics typically exchange a median of 10 texts a day compared to 5 for whites. So nearly everyone has a cell phone and is talking or texting away. But how do people really feel about their devices? As you might guess, attitudes are mixed. Nine out of 10 adult cell users say their phone makes them feel safer and helps them connect to family and friends.

But that appreciation is tempered by the annoyance factor. Some 86% of cell phone users agree it's rude when someone repeatedly interrupts a conversation or meeting to check their cell phone, and two in five cell phone owners say they're irritated when a call or text interrupts them.

That doesn't mean people won't lie down with their cell phones at the end of the day. More than two-thirds (65%) of mobile users say they have slept with their cell phone on or kept it right next to the bed. Furthermore, adults who have slept with or near their phones are also more likely to feel positively about their phone, according to the Pew study -- and even respect it in the morning.

The findings in the Pew report were based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between April 29 and May 30, 2010, among a sample of 2,252 adults ages 18 and older. Teen data was drawn from interviews conducted between June 26 and September 24, 2009, with a sample of 800 teens ages 12 to 17, and a parent or guardian.

(Source: Online Media Daily, 09/03/10)

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