Work-Related Texting On the Rise

by Barrett

How many texts do you generate each month?  How many of them are for work?  If you can’t answer either of these questions, chances are you have an unlimited texting plan.  If you don’t, you might want to reconsider…

How many texts do you generate each month? How many of them are for work? If you can’t answer either of these questions, chances are you have an unlimited texting plan. If you don’t, you might want to reconsider…

I’m not a big texter. Or so I thought… Sure, I normally send out a few texts a day to my wife or friends to handle simple or immediate communications.
Like…“Running late. On 6:53 train.”

I’m not constantly carrying on conversations, using this convenient technology in place of a phone call.
(Maybe the occasional back and forth banter)

For the past seven years, I’ve lived comfortably using a $5/month texting plan from AT&T that gave me 200 free texts each month.
(And 10 cents/text after that…which, of course is criminal)

But I’m here to report that 200 texts a month are not enough to live on. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been regularly crossing that line and getting dinged. And I’ve got to tell you; those ten-cent nicks are really painful.

Not so much from a financial perspective (not yet)
But emotionally.

Clearly I’m the last one at the party to realize this, as I’ve found out that my $5 plan isn’t even offered to new subscribers anymore.

So what happened?
The workplace happened…

Texting in the Workplace
I used to think that texting was reserved for personal thoughts, leaving my work email to handle my job-related written communications. There was a clear line separating the two…

But then a funny behavior developed.
That line disappeared, and I started receiving work-related texts on my iPhone.
(I only use one device.)

I’m not talking about the need for a quick back and forth… like, “Where’s the meeting?”
(Yes, guilty as charged)

Or a quick update… “Will be 5 minutes late”
(Me, again)

…Or other moments requiring an immediate response, which texting is obviously better suited for.

I’m talking about those moments where an email would do just fine.
But my colleagues choose to text me anyway.

What’s up with that?

This goes beyond the fact that texting is more popular with the younger generations. A recent Gallup poll reconfirms the trend that “texting is the dominant way of communicating for Americans under 50.”

That said, the last time I checked… email is still the major force in the workplace…

Email is So Yesterday
But if you’re not at your desk chained to your computer, even I’ve got to admit that texting is easier than sending out a work email from your smartphone.

So is this simply all about convenience?
I think it is…

And also about effectiveness.
When someone sends you a text, you look at it pretty quick, right?

Email… not so much.
That’s because we all receive so much email… both at home and at work. Some of it you need to read… a lot of it you don’t.
(Not to mention some of the spam that slips through your email filters)

It can be overwhelming just trying to keep up.

Sure you can check your smartphone every fifteen minutes to review the 20 emails you’ve just received… but it could take until tomorrow to respond to every one of them.

Supersize my Texting Plan, Please
It doesn’t take rocket science to explain why the art of texting at work has become a necessary practice just to get through your day.

Has some kind of social rule been rewritten with the growth of work texting?
Well, I may be the last person on earth to even consider this a problem.
I think I hear all of humanity whispering…. “Get Over It!”
(The average American sends and receives 32 texts a day. I’m sure a healthy percentage of that is work related.)

So I called AT&T and upgraded my texting plan to ‘unlimited’ for an extra $15/month.

If you do the math, that means I’ve got to burn through at least 150 more texts to break even on the new plan.
I’m not sure I’ll need all that for work.
(Well, not yet.)

Back to the Future
But I know one evil force that will firmly push me into this ‘new’ frontier is the variable of group texting….

That can really goose the number of texts you get!
(I’m not sure my new unlimited plan is going to be enough…)

I imagine one day in the not too distant future, people will grow weary of slogging through too many texts. And then all those texts will sit unread like their email cousins.

And then what?

You’ll need to resort to a really extreme measure…
You’ll have to pick up the phone!