Posted by: sClarke | 06/15/2009

An Ode to the Text Message

Ahh the text message.  I’m addicted to texting as well as my friends.  My mom, who is not very proficient in cell phone use, is also quite savvy with texting, and more recently forwarding me funny picture texts regarding the Pittsburgh Penguins (LET’S GO PENS) winning the Stanley Cup.

“SMS (Text Messaging) is a breakthrough communication medium as evidenced by growth year after year. As of June 2008, over 75 billion texts are sent every month, compared to just 18 Billion in December 2006. That number has grown by 250% each year for the last two years. To validate the future growth within the channel, just two years ago, Verizon Wireless anticipated the number of text messages sent by their users on their network to grow nearly 5x from 400mm per month (in July 2005) to over 2 billion per month – and that is just over Verizon Wireless.” — CellSigns


Texting is more popular than it was a few years ago and it’s only on the rise.   It’s fast, simple, and concise.  Straight to the point.  I like texting because when sending a text it doesn’t require a greeting or anything in between.  According to Nielsen Mobile, in 2006, US Wireless Subscribers received 198 phone calls and 65 texts on an average monthly basis.  Whereas in 2008, it jumped to 204 phone calls and 357 texts.


Neustar hosted a webinar and found that:

  • 57% of wireless users 13+ are considered regular text message users.
  • There has been a 107% increase in text message use in the USA in the past year.
  • 2.5 billion text messages are sent each day in the USA.
  • More text messages are sent per phone than phone calls.  The average text messages used per month is 357 compared to 204 cell phone calls.
  • 15 million Americans used video on their cell phones in quarter two, 2008.
  • 138 million Americans have sent a text message in the past three months


Some people hate being on the phone and don’t answer they’re phones, but if you text them, they’ll get back to you in seconds.  Like Jrue Holiday for example (full article).  The senior basketball player from North Hollywood does not answer his cell phone but when UCLA coaches wanted him they’d send him texts like “How are you doing?” and “How are you playing?”  To me this seems quite a bit informal and unprofessional but at the same time it’s 2009 and that’s just how some operate.  College coaches were so desperate to make a connection with players that they adopted text messaging only to have the NCAA ban Division I colleges from texting to recruit players.


Representatives from the N.C.A.A.’s Division I members were expected to revisit the issue at last year’s annual convention after 34 of the 329 colleges asked for an override vote. To reverse the ban, at least five-eighths of the delegates in attendance would have to approve it.

“I’m sorry, it’s 2008,” said Christine Plonsky, the women’s athletic director at Texas. “Face up.”

Surprisingly enough, the potential recruits were the ones making complaints.  They wanted more respect and one word was constantly describing the texts from the coaches, “intrusive.”

Not surprising because the coaches from each school are marketing their school to the high school athletes.  And why shouldn’t those kids feel that their privacy has been invaded?  Mobile marketing is a huge no-no for consumers.  The cell phone is sacred.  Hence why mobile numbers are not listed and are not just given out to anyone.   The Center for Digital Democracy and U.S. Public Interest Research Group filed a 52-page complaint with the FTC in January of this year alleging that mobile marketers collect so much “non personally identifiable information” that it infringes on users’ privacy—and are “unfair and deceptive.”



Does mobile marketing infringe on your privacy?



  1. Your posting regarding text messaging is as impecibly timely as it is concisely written. As you state, text messaging is exploding in popularity and companies are taking notice.

    KGB, a private company that answers texted questions to their number 542542, “won the Pelorus Award for the Best Text Directory Information Service in the United States” ( In fact, KGB answered more than a billion text questions last year at $0.99 a question! So yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and, yes, you can make money from text messaging!

    A CNN Money article from 2006 describes how companies are keeping in touch with their customers and building more brand awareness via text messaging ( The Weather Channel ( now gives weather reports in the form of a text message to those that sign up for the service and Clear Channel radio stations have text traffic alerts and allow listeners to text song requests.

    Getting back to your main point in your posting, the numbers do not lie. Texting is becoming a strong alternative to email and even the traditional telephone call. The NCAA rule committee should definitely look into how coaches are able to communicate with athletes and realize that texting is just as legitimate as a letter in the mail.

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