Parents who have been trying to squeeze information from their sullen teens about what goes in their lives will be happy to learn that text messaging just might be the key to better communication, reports The Boston Globe
Lynne O'Connell and her teenage daughter, Annie, talk all the time - now that Annie has a cellphone and they can send text messages to each other throughout the day.
"You know if I had asked her at dinner, `How was school today?' she'd say, `Fine,'" said Lynne O'Connell. "This gives her a way to talk to me without having to talk to me."
Since more teens have cellphones, "texting" - sending brief messages by cell phone - has become a very popular way to communicate amongst teens. Parents who have the inclination to learn the abbreviation of texting can use it to open up communication. The adult market is just beginning to expand.
M:Metrics, a mobile market research company, found that nationwide the fastest growing group of text messagers is adults. Adults are using texting to "talk" while they're in meetings and are finding that texting can be less intrusive than a phone call or less likely to be ignored than email.
"You know if you show up in person, you may get the cold shoulder," said Naomi Baron, a professor of linguistics at American University. "But you know that maybe if you communicate in their medium, you may get their attention."
The cellphone companies are enjoying the surge in popularity too. Users typically pay around 10 cents per message, or add text message bundles onto their voice calling plans, while the cost of transmitting the snippets of text is very little.
"Text messaging is obscenely profitable. The cost of simply transmitting 160 characters is literally next to nothing," said Roger Entner, a wireless industry analyst at Ovum. "And people who text are also becoming more loyal customers. It's an awesome return."