SMS Nation: August Edition

4 minute read

Upland Admin

Welcome to this month’s edition of SMS Nation! Summer is now in full swing – and while the weather continues to delivers warm days, we’re serving up what’s hottest in the press in terms of text messaging news.

Millennials continue to text more and talk less
A new article by Forbes Magazine confirms the trend we’ve been seeing for several years now: that SMS is the preferred communication method for Millennials, above phone calls and even, on some occasions, face to face interactions. The article references a 2014 Gallup poll that confirms that Millennials would rather text than make phone calls. According to the report:

  • 68% of 18-29 year olds say that they texted “a lot” the previous day.
  • 47% of 30-49 year olds also report texting “a lot,” and only 26% of 50-64 year olds would say the same.

Millennials prefer text messaging for several reasons. It appeals to their “task-oriented approach” to work by allowing them to complete their to-do list as efficiently as possible, no small talk necessary. And while the generation has experienced some pushback for letting their fast flying fingers do the talking, the use of technology has not mitigated the generation’s social skills. As the article states, “digital messaging tends to supplement rather than replace face time,” meaning Millennials aren’t using text messaging as a shortcut for forming the type of social connections that are vital for healthy relationships.

JPMorgan Chase eliminates voicemail in lieu of text messaging and email
Coca-Cola made headlines earlier this year when it decided to completely forgo voicemail in favor of text messaging and email. JPMorgan Chase now continues the trend by joining the ranks of companies that have eliminated voicemail in order to rely upon more popular communication methods – namely, email and text messaging.

Gordon Smith, CEO of JPMorgan’s consumer and community banking, said in a statement that “we realize that hardly anyone uses voicemail anymore…we are all carrying something in our pockets that’s going to get texts.” According to a report by CNBC, the annualized cost savings for the company will be about $3.2 million – not a surprising figure given the popularity of text messaging and the relative obsoleteness of voicemail.

Indeed, only about 33% of people check their voicemails. A recent article by the New York Times points out that text messaging instead of using voicemail is quickly becoming the norm, especially amongst Millennials. “It’s kind of awkward to leave voicemails now,” affirmed Chris Paul, a recent graduate of Duquesne University. “The expectation is that we send each other text messages, and if you want to talk to someone, you’d answer their calls.”

Some companies have even started embracing text messaging as an internal communication system that notifies employees about all sorts of events, including company picnics, meetings, and changes in scheduling.


The father of text messaging passed away
Matti Makkonen, the father of SMS, passed away this past June. He was 63 years old. Makkonen was a Finnish engineer who came up with the idea of sending messages over mobile phones in 1984 at a pizzeria in Copenhagen, during a conference he was attending on the future of mobile communications. Although Makkonen received recognition for his work, he didn’t apply for a patent and therefore never profited from his idea.

Despite being known as the Father of SMS, Makkonen was quick to qualify his contribution by pointing towards the work other engineers who helped bring text messaging to fruition. In a text message interview, Makkonen said, “I did not consider SMS as personal achievement but as result of joint effort to collect ideas and write the specifications of the services based on them.” Makkonen worked within mobile industry long after his work with SMS, and in 2008 won The Economist’s Innovation award for his work on the message standard.

Thank you for reading this month’s edition of SMS Nation! We hope these stories helped illuminate how text messaging plays a relevant role in our day-to-day lives. If you’d like to learn more about how text messaging affects the world around you, or to see how it can help your organization, please contact us.

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