According to a recent survey conducted by Opinion Research Corp. (ORC), a text message is far more likely to elicit a quick response than leaving a voice mail. To add, those under the age of 30 are four times more likely to respond within minutes of receiving a text message compared to a voice mail, & 91% respond to a text message within one hour. Adults 30 & older are also quick to text & are twice as likely to respond within minutes to a text message as compared to a voice message.
I’ve been testing the results of this study both at work with colleagues & after hours with friends & my results coincide with those published by ORC. Text messages are not only easier for people to access, they are also less evasive, & more importantly in my opinion text messages force both the sender & the receiver to get straight to the point - 160 characters doesn’t allow for much “small talk.” To my delight I met with a client today who described a previous job where he worked directly with his CEO for 3 years & within those three years they never left more than 3 or 4 voice mails for each other because outside of face-to-face meetings all communication was done through text messaging because text messaging proved to be so effective.
If text messaging can speed up communication between two people, what else could text messaging make more efficient for us?
As I began to consider all the things we could do as part of our daily activities through text messaging I was reminded of some examples that Jyri Engeström, co-founder of Jaiku, a microblogging service acquired by Google in 2007, discussed at the Mobilize 08 conference that I attended earlier this year. Jyri discussed how he uses text messaging back home in Finland on a daily basis. He described a scenario at an airport where you, the consumer, are alerted of flight delays via text messaging, you pay for your airport parking with text messaging, you check-in for your flight via text messaging, & you use a previous text message you received from your airline as your boarding pass to board the plane.
This evening I did a quick bit of research on Finland & their use of text messaging & I found a couple of interesting articles that I thought I’d share. The first article describes how the Finnish Road Administration is using text messaging as a way to curb vandalism in public restrooms. Their solution requires restroom visitors to text “Open” (in Finnish, of course) to a local SMS number that will then unlock the door to the restroom. The idea of course is that people will be less likely to graffiti up the place knowing that their mobile number is on file as a result of opening the restroom door via a text message. This second article I found doesn’t point to a specific texting service or solution, but it does demonstrate the popularity of text messaging in Finland given that even the Ilkka Kanerva, Finland’s Foreign Minister, uses text messaging. Unfortunately for Kanerva he used text messaging in a way that resulted in him being ousted from his seat in April of this year. Lastly, I think it’s worth noting that the “Father of Text Messaging”, Matti Makkonen, is from Finland & according to this article Makkonen didn’t make a single dime off his invention which started as an idea while at pizzeria in Copenhagen.
Just as I begin to believe that we in the U.S. have figured this “mobile thing” out I’m reminded of how far behind we really are. The good news is that the mobile market is still open for us & others to shape here in the States. We have an opportunity to learn from what others have done well, what they haven’t done so well, & then to use that knowledge to build our mobile services even better. Opportunity is knocking in the mobile market; can you hear it? If you still can’t hear it, maybe I’ll send you a text message.
VP Business Development
NetworkIP & Jaduka