Friday, April 04, 2003

SMS texting is not as popular in America compared to countries in Asia and Europe. The average for cellular users in the US is only about 7 messages per day compared to the global average of 30. One of the reasons given is that in America, land calls are cheap. It is not surprising therefore even cellular communication is not as popular here compared to the rest of the world. I suspect another reason is culture: Americans have a preference towards verbal rather than written communication. One sees examples of this on their TV: endless talk shows and chatty advertisements which virtually brings the dreaded door-to-door salesman to your living room. From my experience working with my American colleagues, they tend to be keen in communicating verbally - either through face-to-face meetings, conference calls or leaving voice messages. Especially conference calls. Hence I'm not surprised that Americans do not text as much.

For most Asian countries, SMS is considered a cheaper alternative to making voice calls, hence its popularity among the younger generation. It is also considered a hip way of communicating; a whole lexicon of SMS-speak has evolved to overcome the limitation of the 160 characters per message and also the difficulty of keying alphanumerics on a 12-button keypad with one's thumb.

SMS is one of the best things to have come out of the cellular revolution. No one foresaw its eventual popularity. Now it is a way of life for millions of people.

No comments: