Huge social shift: Cellphones now used more for data than calls
We knew it was coming but now the numbers are in and it’s official.
We’re well on our way to becoming an incredibly disconnected connected society.
Key stats from a New York Times story:
- Almost 90% of US households have a mobile phone
- Number of households eliminating landlines continues to increase
- Number of voice minutes used by consumers is flat
- Number of text messages sent per user is up by almost 50%
- Thumb voted ‘favorite digit’ as thumb strength in overall US population is increasing (okay, that wasn’t in the NYT but it’s totally true, right?)
Instead of talking on their cellphones, people are making use of all the extras that iPhones, BlackBerrys and other smartphones were also designed to do — browse the Web, listen to music, watch television, play games and send e-mail and text messages.
And for the first time in the United States, the amount of data in text, e-mail messages, streaming video, music and other services on mobile devices in 2009 surpassed the amount of voice data in cellphone calls, industry executives and analysts say.
Of course, talking on the cellphone isn’t disappearing entirely. “Anytime something is sensitive or is something I don’t want to be forwarded, I pick up the phone rather than put it into a tweet or a text,” said Kristen Kulinowski, a 41-year-old chemistry teacher in Houston. And calling is cheaper than ever because of fierce competition among rival wireless networks.
That chemistry teacher is onto something. Don’t you agree, Mark Zuckerberg?
Meanwhile, I’m wondering what we lose by replacing talking with texting. Is a typed exchange a less connected experience? Does a verbal discussion translate to a deeper relationship?
We have shorter attention spans. We consume more, more quickly. We walk looking at our mobile devices rather than our surroundings. We don’t make eye contact. We don’t talk as much. We hear less.
We are separated by a screen.
Status updates and text messages are the new soundbite. Will that fill us up, or leave us empty?