Mobile technologies have begun to dominate the American youth culture, particularly in the area of social interaction. Rather than resort to old-fashioned outreach methods, such as using a landline phone or sending a handwritten letter, Americans are able to communicate with one another through the convenience of a mobile device, no bigger than the average hand. Recently, young Americans especially have been taking advantage of the mobile text messaging option to interact with friends, romantic interests and family members at rates exceeding all other age demographics. For teens and young adults, text messaging has surpassed phone calls in popularity (Drouin, Michelle, and Carly Landgraff). Since text messaging amongst America’s youth has evolved into somewhat of a social norm, the application has altered the formation and dissolution of friendships and romantic interests, and has developed unique social norms to coincide with mobile text messaging. Due to the ubiquitous nature of the mobile phone, the device has impacted the daily communicative process for active users both in the U.S. and worldwide.
Today, 85 percent of American adults own a cell phone, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project research related to mobile technology (Brenner). Of this percentage, 80 percent cite text messaging as a typical activity they utilize their mobile phone for, translating into eight out of every 10 Americans (Brenner). Aside from taking pictures, “text messaging is the most common non-voice application Americans use on their mobile phones” according to a September 2011 Pew Research Report (Smith). The most avid cell phone users, however, fall within the 18 to 24-year-old age demographic, with 95 percent in possession of a cell phone and 97 percent of owners utilizing the text messaging application daily (Smith). According to the Pew Research, this age demographic sends an average of 109.5 texts per day, translating “to more than 3,200 messages per month,” twice the amount of texts sent by 25 to 34-year-olds and 23 times the amount sent by owners age 65 and older (Smith). With nearly 100 percent of America’s youth texting on a daily basis and preferring text messaging over phone calls, the communication medium has become recognized as an acceptable form of daily social interaction.
It is only plausible to conclude that a generation raised in such a technology crazed world would only settle for the most convenient, fast-paced form of communication available for public use. The popularity of text messaging derives from its heavily technologically embedded nature, combining qualities of “email and instant messaging,” while simultaneously representing “a merging of written and oral communication modes” (Holtgraves). Even though text messaging shares similarities with email and instant messaging, the medium’s mobile capabilities that corporate “a written form of communication” that occurs “interactive in real-time” make the tool so appealing to users, especially America’s youth (Holtgraves).
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Drouin, Michelle, and Carly Landgraff. “Texting, Sexting and Attachment in College Students’ Romantic Relationships.” Computers in Human Behavior 28.2 (2012): 444-49. Academic
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Holtgraves, Thomas. “Text Messaging, Personality and the Social Context.” Journal of Research
in Personality 45.1 (2011): 92-99. Academic OneFile. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.
Smith, Aaron. “Americans and Text Messaging.” How Americans Use Text Messaging. Pew
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