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Texting, IMing, Texting

Early this week, the Pew Internet & American Life project released the results of a 2009 study concerning teens and cell phone use. The study found that text messaging has become the primary way teens communicated with each other, with texting increasingly taking the place of talking on the phone (either mobile or land line–wait, does anyone still have a land line!?), email, instant messaging, and yes, actually talking to someone face to face. It’s not just the format, but also the sheer quantity of texts too: according to the study, “Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month.”

This got me thinking about texting and communicating in general, both today, and when I was a teen. Back in my day, we had the phone. Cordless phones were still pretty new,  so my sister (15 months younger than me, who had a bit more of a social life) and I dragged ridiculously long phone cords around the house while chatting with friends. We also fought constantly over the phone, even though we had 3 phone lines: my parents’ line, our line, and a 3rd line which was for modem access to the University of Pennsylvania, where my mother worked. If we wanted to meet up with a friend at a movie theater, or wanted to hang out we had to set a place and time, and plans were made over the phone.

These days, a lot of communication with friends and coworkers happens over texting, yes, but more with instant messaging. We’re mostly in front of, or near a computer much of the day, so questions are asked and plans are made over gmail, facebook, meebo, ichat or adium. When I’m home and not reading or cooking, I usually have the computer on, listening to music or podcasts, with multiple browsers, chat, and email programs running.

But for those on the go, texting seems to be the primary way of getting in touch.

How many texts per day do you send? 25, 50, 200?

And what will be the way we communicate 5 years from now? Will we be walking around with mobile phones using video chat? It’s a possibility if this Gizmodo post about  the new iPhone 4G is true…

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