More People Let Fingers Do Talking

Article excerpt

Verizon Wireless said Thursday that customers on its network sent or received a record 20 billion text messages in February -- double a record set just eight months ago.

The number surprised some Point Park University students, though most admitted to frequent texting.

"I just find it easier. I go to texting before I go to calling, because people will respond faster," said Brandi Shipley, 19, of Hanover in York County, who sends about 50 messages a day.

Most messages go to friends, though Shipley taught her mother to text so the two can communicate quickly.

Verizon Wireless said it can't pinpoint why texting -- introduced eight years ago -- has soared in recent months. But spokeswoman Laura Merritt said the service is becoming the primary communications method, over cell phone calls, for a large segment of the company's 65.7 million customers.

That 20 billion figure, if spread evenly, breaks down to about 304 messages per customer for February, or just over 10 per day.

Preteens, teens and young adults are the heaviest users, shipping dozens of messages in a single conversation. They have unlimited text message plans, about $20 on top of a typical cell phone bill, and many, like Shipley, have hooked their parents on the phenomenon.

"I don't really like calling people on the phone," said Tegan Lucchetti, 20, a Point Park student from Latrobe. "It is more convenient. …