Texting or calling: Which is more effective?


Fact Box

  • Ninety-five percent of 18-29 year olds text, while only 25% of those over age 65 do. 
  • The first text ever sent was in 1992 by a test engineer working for Vodafone, and it simply said “Merry Christmas.” 
  • The first hand-held mobile telephone was developed in 1973 by Motorola and weighed over two pounds.
  • According to Pew Research Center, 33% of adults surveyed said they prefer texting to all other communication, including in-person encounters.

Zoe (Calling)

Calling people has many advantages that make it a more efficient and personable alternative to texting. One of its chief benefits is that you are provided with an immediate response. Calling occurs in real-time, and when conversing with someone over the phone, you can expect a response within seconds, whereas a text could be left unresponded to for several minutes or even hours. Texts can also be left as 'read,' whereas social conventions dictate that vocal conversations warrant an immediate response. As a result, calling has a higher information density than texting because the same amount of information is delivered in a shorter amount of time.

Another advantage of calling is that it allows for vocal inflections. While texting uses emoticons and emojis as a substitute, these do not capture the nuance of spoken language. Calling enables you to articulate certain emotions through volume and pitch, creating added meaning to the conversation beyond the actual words themselves. Additionally, while it is better not to utilize a phone at all while driving, speaking on the phone while behind the wheel is less distracting than texting.

Finally, calling is more personal than texting. People were shown to have more face-to-face interaction in correlation with the frequency of phone calls, as opposed to messaging. This means that those who called each other more often were more likely to meet in person than those who texted each other more often. Essentially, the experience of hearing someone's voice is unique and cannot be replicated by text alone.

Kat (Texting)

One of the great things about texting is that it is a flexible method of communication. You can text in places where it would not be appropriate to hold a spoken conversation, such as at a doctor’s office or lecture hall. Texting also offers privacy; 41% of millennials say they often ignore incoming phone calls because they do not want to be overheard in conversation. 

Texting can also be used to communicate with multiple people through a groupchat. Instead of calling each person individually, you can have everyone caught up with a single message. 

Additionally, texting is more convenient when external interruptions occur. Most of us have experienced having to hang up or put the other person on hold because something outside of a phone conversation suddenly required our attention, be it children, pets, or anything else. With texting, you can multitask

Further, 46% of millennials will ignore a phone call because they fear verbal confrontation. Texting allows time to think between messages instead of having the other person waiting on the line. This helps prevent—though does not totally eliminate—saying things in the heat of the moment that we later regret. 

Yet another advantage of texting is the written record it creates, which puts pressure on people to be honest about the content of a conversation. This written record also allows us to check back on what was said to ensure we are not misremembering something.

Taking all this into account, it’s no surprise that texting is the favorite method of communication for Americans under 50.

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