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OPLIN 4Cast #316: Texting is old school

Posted in 4cast

textingMany libraries use SMS (Short Message Service), usually known as “text messaging,” instead of email or a phone call to notify patrons when their books are overdue, or when reserves are ready for them to pick up, or other such library-to-patron communication. [Disclaimer: OPLIN provides a free SMS portal that Ohio public libraries can use for such notifications.] SMS texting has been a standard feature of cell phones for many years now. But as smartphones – really a computer in your pocket – become more sophisticated, web-based messaging apps that bypass the cellular carrier and their texting charges are becoming increasingly popular. That shift may not be a problem for libraries, however; messaging apps work well for chatting with friends, but SMS could still be better for business communications.

  • SMS traffic and revenues decline for the first time ever in U.S., Chetan Sharma says (FierceMobileContent/Jason Ankeny)  “Although U.S. subscribers still send an average of more than 650 text messages per month, data indicates that messaging revenues have peaked, Sharma said. ‘It might be early to say if the decline has begun or the market segment will sputter along before the decline takes place. Once the market segment reaches the 70-90 percent penetration mark, the decline begins and we might be seeing the start of the decline in messaging revenue,’ he noted.”
  • SMS is sad coz we love IM (Business Today/Nandagopal Rajan)  “Mobile communications research firm Ovum estimates that by 2016 these new platforms will cost carriers about $54 billion in revenue. Neha Dharia, consumer telecoms analyst at Ovum, says it will become harder to increase SMS revenue as Internet-based messaging services become more popular.”
  • SMS turns 20, marches towards irrelevance ( Rowinski)  “SMS was instrumental in the popularization of the Internet-based pidgin language as people across the world replaced numbers for words and truncated whole sentences to fit into 160-character messages. Love it or hate it, but the pervasiveness of SMS has forever ingrained ‘LOL,’ ‘OMG’ and ‘4ever’ into the English lexicon.”
  • Facebook Messenger for Android drops account requirement, taking on SMS and WhatsApp (The Verge/Dieter Bohn)  “At its 20-year anniversary, the lowly SMS message is under assault from a lot of players besides Facebook. Offering the app without requiring a Facebook account is a surprising first for the company, but perhaps necessary to ensure that there are no hurdles between it and the thing that will most likely crown the messaging king: ubiquity. WhatsApp has clearly taken the lead in the space….”

Age fact:
According to a recent National Consumer Study by Experian Simmons, almost half (48%) of young adults aged 18-24 feel that text messages are just as meaningful as phone calls.