Web Culture

How SMS Messaging Is Changing The World [INFOGRAPHIC]

Mark O'Neill 24-10-2011

How SMS Messaging Is Changing The World [INFOGRAPHIC] texting It’s become the most common form of communication on the planet and the number one occupation of teenagers everywhere. That’s right, I’m talking about text messaging (SMS) which, quite often, is the best way to send someone a short message without getting trapped talking on the phone for ages. Whether it’s keeping in touch with friends and relatives in other countries or texting your partner to request a takeaway, it’s hard to find someone these days who doesn’t know what texting is or who has never done it before.


Our infographic today comes courtesy of MBAonline.com. Find out the total number of texters in comparison to the world population or the number of Facebook users. Find out the influence mobile phones have on their users and how text messaging has been used for good causes in different countries.

Are you an obsessed texter? If so, how many do you send per day/week/month?  Would you rather text than talk to someone? And do you know of any good causes that texting has been used for? Let us know in the comments!  If you are on the opposite side of the argument and you HATE texting, then don’t hesitate to tell us why in the comments too!

Image Credit : Adam & Lucy

Related topics: Infographic, SMS.

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  1. Shoot the Messenger
    November 4, 2011 at 4:52 am

    I'm not 12, and I can read (and write) at far above a 5-year-old's level. I'm not elderly either, but I have never sent a single text in my life. I also can't stand what the emphasis on short bursts of communication that abbreviate to excess has done to coherent conversation in our society. Not only that, but with texting and all forms of electronic communication, the emotional subtexts are lost unless one includes "emoticons" or other modifiers in practically every message. One has no idea if the person on the other end is being sarcastic or deadly serious when writing something like "believe me, you're fat" unless there's something like a ;-) or a "JK, JK" ("just kidding") included for clarification.

    Witness also the careless, albeit tragically humorous in a schadenfreude-like way, consequences of communication relying on faulty spell-check algorithms. Specifically, iMean those of the iPhone, which, no offense to the late Mr. Jobs, iDon't think is a "smart" phone for people with much in the way of iQ. Ask your average text-messenger to "spell 'Czech'" and you'll be (un)pleasantly surprised. (iDoubt your average text-messenger can spell schadenfreude, let alone identify what it even is.)

    Then there's texting while driving, which young people (of MY generation, so much for Daltrey's defense of modern youth), "Generation ADD" more than anything else, are so fond of apparently because they can't stand to go one minute without another pointless "burst" of updates on banal activities from their equally incoherent friends. Operating a motor vehicle requires one's attention to be focused on the activity at hand, not the device IN one's hand.

    So not only are the conversations dumbed down and filtered to meet the arbitrary limit of 140-160 letters, numbers, and/or symbols, but texters in general are acting just plain stupid when it comes to common sense. MADD once stood for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Now I think it ought to have a secondary definition: "Mobile Attention Deficit Disorder."

  2. Ishty
    October 30, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I use sms to earn money. My company Mobile Text Inc offers sms advertising and bulk text messaging to businesses, schools, university and many other type of entities. My services are offered in Panama and USA. Both in Panama and USA unsolicited sms advertising/promos are prohibited unlike in India and Pakistan. Thus businesses first must obtain permission from cel owners to send them their ads and cel owners can always opt out of it anytime.

  3. Anonymous
    October 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Imagine the power of SMS if every text messaging user had the option to "Reply All" whenever a text message was received. No web site involved.  No need to register a list of names ahead of time.  Just send an SMS to a group of users and all the recipients can reply to the original list or variation of the list.  How much more useful would that make SMS.  That technology is available today.  It works on Windows and Macs.  Why is it not available on Android?  Why is it not available on Motorola feature phones?  Why is it not on Nokia feature phones?  Why is it not part of Microsoft's Mango update?  From what the vendors have told me, they do not think consumers want the feature.  Find out about Smashtalk. If you want Smashtalk, tweet to your phone vendor.  Post messages on their Facebook pages.  Make some noise. 

  4. Lukfe
    October 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Texting affords privacy to both the receiver and the texter

    • Shoot the Messenger
      November 4, 2011 at 5:09 am

      Actually, the messages you send remain archived in the data centers of major telecom providers as they pass through the airwaves and onto the phone of the recipient. If need be, law enforcement authorities can issue requests to providers such as Verizon, ATT, Sprint, etc., and/or seize their servers and have their well funded IT staff sift through the caked-on digital breadcrumbs.

      The USA PATRIOT Act is likely to blame for this in the United States. In other, "arguably less repressive" countries such as...oh, maybe Libya and Syria, the same concept applies, only the "Can You Hear Me Now" guy over there will get a Tyson-Van Gogh operation from one of Assad's goons if he refuses to comply. He won't be able to hear anyone if the authorities have cut off his ears. Won't be able to text either if they lop off his hands.

      Texting doesn't give privacy to anyone. In fact, it opens the doors for much more intrusion into one's supposedly private communications, because it's printed and therefore human-readable. With a phone call, you can share sensitive information by whispering or otherwise disguising your voice. Plus, if you leave a message on a landline answering machine, and you don't want someone to hear it, you can just destroy the tape. You can do the same with your cell phone, but there's a high-tech third-party intercept that far exceeds the capabilities of even the clearest ring from Ma Bell.

  5. Guest
    October 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    This overlooks that IM on mobile is also increasing...but, is rarely discussed.  As well, there are the emerging "free text" services on smartphones --  But, most interestingly, are the no-per-message platforms delivered over mobile internet which are moving to more sophisticated formats (from the old WAP chat days).

    So, text (SMS and beyond) is how people communicate.

    • Mark O'Neill
      October 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      I personally find instant messaging on mobiles rather awkward.  With IM's, people expect the conversation to be going at a certain pace and if it takes you a while to type out your message on a touchscreen, while making spelling mistakes because of the small keys, then the other person starts to get impatient and annoyed.

      I much prefer SMS's where you can take your time, think about what you're going to say and then send it.

  6. Prateek Sharma
    October 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Indian Government is restricting our freedom by limiting 100 sms /day in name of stopping telemarketing  

    • Mark O'Neill
      October 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      wow, that's creepy. Shouldn't it be up to the telephone companies to do something about telemarketing spam texts?  Sounds like the government is just using this as an excuse.

  7. Shane Lear
    October 25, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I'm a HUGE user of SMS.  I use Gogle Voice for all of my calls and texts, so more often than not I text my friends directly from my computer.  Most people don't realize I'm on the computer, though.  They just think I'm really fast at texting.

    I absolutely detest voice-mails and much prefer texting to talking on the phone, unless it's via Gmail or another VOIP service - that way I can at least still work and be on my computer while I chat.

    It took a few months to teach my contacts that I text and prefer not to talk.  Some of them thought I was terribly rude at first, but I've noticed most of them know to just text me now if they want a quick reply.

    • Mark O'Neill
      October 26, 2011 at 1:55 pm

      It sounds like you and I are a lot alike. I too detest voice mails and I do all my texting from Skype on the computer. Everyone always says "wow, you answer so fast! You must be a fast typist!".  Er, yeah, on my PC keyboard! LOL.

      Like you, it's taken a while for people to get it but I much prefer texts, emails and chat messages.  I know this makes me look rather anti-social but I simply hate talking on the phone!!

      • Shoot the Messenger
        November 4, 2011 at 5:15 am

        Maybe you're just shy and out of practice a bit? :-)

        I used to be the same way. You should get yourself acclimated to talking on the phone by doing small things. Try calling out for pizza or something. I ditched the phone that I'd gotten as a gift some years back and started getting used to a real human voice again. It's just the pizza guy, sure, but it's a lot warmer and friendlier than pixels on a screen, and of course, it's more than just a smiley face.

        Give an old buddy a call rather than an IM, email, or text. Reach out and touch somebody's hand, as the old song used to say. Or at the very least, opt for a compromise: talk "face to face" via computer and use Skype with a webcam. :-)