A new study shows that we are messaging more than ever.

By MediaStreet Staff Writers

To recognise the upcoming 25th anniversary of the first SMS text message ever sent, Facebook Messenger commissioned a study exploring how the art of the conversation has evolved around the world.

The research shows that 80 percent of adults (19-64) and 91 percent of teens (13-18) message every day. “Since the first SMS text message was sent on December 3, 1992, there has been a fundamental shift in the way people communicate,” said David Marcus, Head of Messenger.

The study uncovered key trends from people around the world who shared their perspective on communication in the digital age:

  • More devices lead to more communication
  • Sidebar conversations – the secret, nonverbal chats we have on our phones – are on the rise
  • Emojis have brought about a new and universal language
  • People are staying in touch – and meeting up in person – more than ever before

More Devices Lead to More Communication
Some believe that the digital age has its trade-offs in communication. Even so, we are communicating more than ever.

  • There has been an increase in the amount of communication over the past two years: People have increased their usage of various channels, but the top five include messaging (67 percent), social media (48 percent), email (47 percent), video chat (47 percent) and face-to-face (38 percent) communication.
  • More modes of communication = greater social satisfaction: As modes of communication increase, people report having greater and more authentic conversations.

Sidebar Conversations Strengthen Relationships
Sidebar conversations – the secret nonverbal chats we have on our phones while in meetings, dinners or watching TV shows – are on the rise and taking place around the world – primarily at social events and family gatherings.

  • Most people admit to sidebar conversations: Most people (71 percent) have sidebar conversations, and 62 percent of those that do say messaging makes them feel closer to friends (versus 36 percent of those who don’t sidebar).
  • Sidebar conversations are happening around the world: People across various countries and age groups indulge in sidebar conversations, with millennials (82 percent) and teens (79 percent) most likely to sidebar.

A New Language of Hieroglyphics
There is a new vocabulary of emojis, GIFs and camera-based messaging, which is making people more expressive than ever before.

  • Visual messaging is the new universal language: Most people (57 percent) have responded to a message with a GIF while 56 percent have sent a message using only emojis.
  • Emojis and GIFs are ageless: 77 percent of people over the age of 55 use emojis to communicate while more than half (53 percent) use GIFs.


Many report that messaging has replaced other forms of communication in their lives. But across the world, face-to-face conversations continue to rise, suggesting that there may be a correlation between more messaging and greater in-person connections.

  • Messaging replaces other communication channels: Half the population reports messaging has replaced their other forms of communication; 67 percent of people are messaging more than they did two years ago.
  • Face-to-face conversations are increasing all over the world: People who message more are 52 percent more likely to talk face-to-face more, as compared to someone who is not messaging more. Additionally, all markets surveyed are doing more talking in person, but Brazil (+33 percent), France (+22 percent), Germany (+21 percent) and the US (+20 percent) have seen the highest increase in face-to-face interactions.
  • 66 percent of people who message say they have more authentic conversations; 61 percent have more authentic relationships.
  • First comes dating app, then comes messaging: One-third of people (34 percent) who started a conversation on a dating app will continue their conversation through messaging, compared to a quarter of people (26 percent) who continue conversations in person.

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