July 31, 2009

The Future of Our Communications - Texting?

Just saw that this is my 100th post on this blog. Pretty cool, but I wanted to get into something that is hopefully a little more interesting - whether we should be doing more to get our arms around texting and its importance in today's culture... Here's why I started thinking about this...

My wife came home from work the other day (she works at a therapeutic day school with kids ranging from age 6-15) and told me a story. She said the students asked her about whether she was on Facebook or any other social netoworking site, to which she replied no. She then asked them which one she should join and their thoughts on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. They told her the following:

- MySpace is out. No one uses MySpace anymore.
- Facebook is awesome.

Both of those answers were pretty obvious... However, their answer to Twitter was what was interesting... None of them knew what Twitter was, and when she explained it, they said that they didn't understand the point and that they all text to accomplish what Twitter does.

I also just read Joe Rominiecki's great story in the August issue of Associations Now called Make the Move to Mobile (you probably have to sign in to read it...), which talked about texting in great detail. The most interesting line in my opinion - "Nielsen research shows that, as of the second quarter of 2008, the average mobile user sends more text messages per month (357) than places calls (204). Text holds the advantage in age groups up to 44 years old."

Also, check out this article from CBS News. The last paragraph has some really interesting stats. They include: "The surge in text messaging is being driven by teens 13 to 17 years old, who on average send and receive about 1,742 text messages a month."

Whoa! Those two pieces of information are big news in my opinion, and I don't know that most associations or companies really understand the prevalence of texting in today's youth culture (who will be our members in less than ten years in some cases). Looking at myself, I don't text much at all, but looking at people younger than me, that's their preferred method of communicating.

How can we as associations and companies do a better job in getting on board the train that is already moving - using text messaging to hit our future members with our messages today?

How can we use text messaging to engage potential members and communicate about our benefits without turning them off?

How can we engage our current members for their help in utilizing texting to hit younger potential members?

I'm asking, because right now, I don't know the answer...


Joe Rominiecki said...

Glad you enjoyed the article, Bruce. Just FYI, that article is open to all viewers, no sign-in necessary. (Associations Now is open, newsletters are not... I know, confusing.)

Anyway, indeed, the stats about texting are pretty impressive. I was surprised by them, as well. It will be interesting to see how more associations start using it.

Congrats on hitting the century mark here on the blog!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.