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Aug 09 2007

Clearly “I’m not that strong a texter”…*

My mobile service provider has been running their usual summer specials on text messaging, and I’ve never bothered to take advantage of them before because 1) I just don’t text that much, and B) my account with them is pay-as-you-go rather than a monthly contract. (Because while I have a hard time imagining life without my mobile phone and feel naked whenever I don’t have it with me, I just don’t make enough calls to justify a monthly plan.)

But then last month I got a text message from Telia saying that if I put 250 SEK (about 37 USD) on my account, I’d get a 30 days of free SMS service or 3,000 free text messages, whichever comes first. Having nothing to lose, I went for it…and I’ve been texting like a banshee ever since. Seriously, I’ve been sending extra messages to friends, having entire conversations with Dr. Darling during our respective commutes, and being extra diligent about updating my personal timeline at Twitter.

This extra “twittering” has in turn led me to exchange a much higher number of “direct messages” with my Twitter “followers”, including a cousin in Seattle whose girlfriend was in the hospital and a blogging pal in London who sympathized with my claustrophobic commute home earlier this week.

I also recently learned that I can interact with my Google calendar and Remember the Milk task lists via Twitter, resulting in even more occasions to use SMS. (Last week I made an unplanned stop at the grocery store, and was able to get my shopping list sent to my mobile phone while I was there…how incredibly sweet is that?!)

So today is the last day of my free month of SMS service, and I thought surely I had to have put a pretty big dent in the 3,000 message limit. After all, I was a texting machine compared to my normal routine. I even twittered while on a stationary bike at the gym, for crying outloud!

Imagine my disappointment when I dialed into my usage monitor this morning and found out I had 2,752 free messages left. What the hell? After a month of what felt like near-constant texting, I only managed to send 248 messages? I can’t imagine anyone being able to come anywhere near 3,000 in 30 days…unless they never slept and were fed intravenously (to keep there hands free for tapping out messages).  Still, you know there have to be customers who have and/or would exceed that number…otherwise why would the company set a limit?

So what have Iearned from this little experiment?  Well, aside from the obvious that some people clearly have WAY too much time on their hands and/or prefer to interact with others through SMS rather than face-to-face conversation, I’ve learned that Twitter is a really useful tool and not just a play-thing for us techno-geeks.

Oh, and I’ve also learned that MY definition of near-constant texting is about 8.2 messages per day.  What’s yours?

*A reference to one of Martin Short’s lines in the infamously hilarious and classic SNL Men’s Synchronized Swimming sketch.

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Feed my ego!

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