Wirefly recently did a poll of Mobile Phone users and found that 64% of mobile users don't use text messaging. As I was researching this post, I was surprised that a few sites were shocked by the numbers.
Perhaps I'm an older user than some of the bloggers who commented, but I was actually surprised for the opposite reason. I was surprised that 65% of users actually did use text messaging. Perhaps it's simply that I've turned 40 years old but… really? That's like being shocked that 35% of telephone users never used the telegraph machine.
35 Percent of mobile phone users don't text because they figured out they can actually speak in that little handy box real time with the person on the other end. And they don't have to cramp up their thumbs to do so. Of course, texting could come in handy if you wanted to break up with someone but didn't want to actually speak to them.
I'm being sarcastic of course, I like to text. My kids text their friends endlessly and I appreciate when they text me in a meeting rather than calling me. Texting is much less intrusive and it's fairly instantaneous. And it's on the rise.
Businesses have been struggling with what to do with mobile for a while now. The buzz in the food service industry is how responsive patrons are to text-based coupons and alerts. I met with Adam Small, President of Text by Request, this morning and Adam waxed poetic on the extremely exciting things that are coming down the pipeline.
Text by Request already has some interesting uses of mobile. One of them is providing Marathon users with their end-time by having them text in their registration number. No need to wait until you get home to look the time up on your PC!
Adam went on to explain SMS vs. MMS. Where SMS (Short Message Service) allows 160 characters of text to be sent back and forth, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) allows images, video and sound to be sent back and forth.
As Mobile providers continue to enhance their networks for speed (e.g. 3g, translated = third generation) and mobile phones continue to enhance their screens with higher resolutions, this can really open up the market!
Instead of sending out a text message to push the fish at lunch, perhaps you can send a short video from the manager on duty or a great video of the dish itself! You can also pass a customized coupon utilizing the latest in barcode technologies so that the retailer can simply wave a reader in front of the phone to redeem the coupon.
Adam shared some additional exciting technologies with me that I don't have permission to share here (yet), but I'm looking forward to seeing and using.
Should Texting be Free?
I asked Adam if he thought the pricing would change for messaging here in the United States (overseas texting is often free) and he said he hopes not. One look at the volume of spam in your inbox explains why… if texting didn't cost money, our phones would be filling up as we speak!