PUBLIC OPINION > It Should Only Take a Few Minutes to Text Back

Living 2012/05/01 22:00:00
It's hard to believe how recently texting was introduced into our lives. The formative years were 1989 to 1992, when people were flipping their pagers upside-down to receive vital messsages like "hello" (07734) and "boobies" (5318008). In 2009, a reported 152.7 billion text messages were being sent per month in America, averaging 534 per user. You could say it's gotten popular. We wanted to know how long it takes the public to respond to one of those billions of texts.

Hardly anyone takes an hour to text back on average, but the big pull here was between a speedy response and an apathetic laze. Most respondents said they typically respond within minutes, but there was a large group who are either too busy to ensure a quick reply, or just don't care enough to jump on it immediately. More often than not, it was the former, but there were some who expressed a sort of anti-texting sentiment. One commenter wrote, "I hate the phone with a passion therefore normally it takes me forever to get around to replying to any messages on it."

Females Respond Faster

There are conflicting studies on whether women actually talk more than men. One by Louann Brizendine suggests women speak an average of 2.9 times as many words as men in a day. Another, aided by James Pennebaker, suggests the difference is so small as to be statistically negligible. But our poll does show that women are 18% more likely to respond to your text ASAP. So there's that.

Young Adults Take Their Time

The age breakdown was surprising. We expected response time to drop as voters got older, but instead we found that only two age groups varied. Teens (13-17) and people approximately the age of their parents, maybe a bit older (45-54), were about 25% more likely to respond in a flash. But everyone in the middle (18-44) took their sweet time about it.

Dating Has Minimal Impact

We thought maybe there would be a divide between singles and voters in a relationship -- either they would be texting eachother with more zeal, or taking advantage of the time apart when they had it -- but there was little to be found. Those in a relationship were about 10% more likely to respond in minutes. Maybe that's because there was a mixture of both reactions. Or maybe it just didn't affect much.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about texting response times. We'd love to hear from you!
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  • TKramar 2012/07/01 03:58:00
    when I get to it.
  • TKramar TKramar 2012/07/03 22:29:24
    Heck, someone called my cell phone the other day and left a voicemail that I still haven't listened to. I called them later that day on my landline, and they never even mentioned trying to call my cell.
  • ❤Runaway❤ 2012/06/17 16:42:22
    Usually within minutes but it depends on how busy I am.
  • EmoMcParland 2012/06/04 02:47:17
    With in minutes it's my true for. Of communication for a long from my first phone
  • Cappy Mae(: 2012/05/25 00:33:57
    Cappy Mae(:
    im 16 and i usually text back within a minute of getting a text but thats really only sometimes,sometimes im busy and it will take maybe 30 minutes before ill text bak
  • Jayynee 2012/05/20 16:06:10
    I reply within a few minutes cause the phone barely leaves my hand :3
  • xXILoveVinnyBooXx 2012/05/12 16:12:58
    In minutes or when ever I get to it.
  • JohnT 2012/05/07 04:32:43
    What a lousy way to communicate, I have seen the English language reduced to incorrect abbreviations for so many words and when folks have a perfectly good phone use it. I won't text for anything to me it should have went out with the typewriter.
  • Sofahead 2012/05/04 13:26:47 (edited)
    "It Should Only Take a Few Minutes to Text Back"
    Piss off!
    PEOPLE HAVE LIVES, and it's rude to interrupt or blowoff who you are presently dealing with to even look at an incoming text unless you are EXPECTING an important one then apologize for doing so.
  • emoanimegirl1000 2012/05/03 05:18:01
    I LOVE my phone <3 I respond to EVERY text. :D
  • MayaAngelou0524 2012/05/03 01:34:26
    I never let ny phone out of my sight if I can help it. Not because I'm dependent on it, but because I just feel better knowing I have it. So if you text me, I will text you back right after.
  • Ozymandias 2012/05/03 00:04:21
  • Cappy M... Ozymandias 2012/05/25 00:35:49
    Cappy Mae(:
    i feel the same way
  • Joanna the Great 2012/05/02 21:16:03
    Joanna the Great
    Well, this is some REALLY fascinating sh*t...
  • VERYwiseguy 2012/05/02 20:25:54
    It's time consuming,tedious,impersonal and a general waste of time imo.It has it's uses rarely.IT"S a phone but it's become a typewriter go figure?
  • Badger 2012/05/02 19:57:36
    If it is that important CALL because wow your text messaging device is also a telephone. Secondly people need to accept that your instant gratis is not the other persons problem.
  • TKramar Badger 2012/07/01 03:59:42
    The point is that I can look at a text when I get around to it, but if a call comes through when I'm too busy for texting, I'm going to ignore it and let it go to voice mail anyhow.
  • Badger TKramar 2012/07/14 18:48:06 (edited)
    Yet most people get pissy about not getting instant response to a text. I carry a cell phone only because some emergency may happen where a phone is highly valuable.

    Cell phones are for the owners "Personal Convenience" not the callers.

    As it is I find it insulting, and a sign of poor social graces if someone is talking to me in person and responds to a text message. That action proves to me the random person contacting you via text is obviously more important then a live person you are interacting.
  • TKramar Badger 2012/07/14 23:44:30
    I agree with the last. And ALL phones are for the owner's convenience. I have a landline--so I can call *out*, not so others can call *in*. It's rarely used.
  • MichelleluvsRonWeasley 2012/05/02 19:09:20
    My friends all get pissed off at me if I don't respond right away, within minutes. One of my friends just keeps texting me one word, such as my name, to apparently see if I'm still there. She does this if she doesn't receive my texts in 2 minutes. My other friend jokingly said "u make me feel like a loner wen u don't text me bak :(" I knew she was joking, but still.... I should be able to respond whenever I feel like it.
  • The Reaper 2012/05/02 18:58:58
    The Reaper
    5-10 seconds after i get the text the other person is receiving my response!
  • Honeybuns 2012/05/02 18:02:55
    Well depends on how fast the person types and how fast the person reads the text message they receive. Because after you receive a text message. Some people like me read it slowly and then think about.Then respond but some people can read text message very fast.
  • Sour Dime 2012/05/02 17:44:32
    Sour Dime
    unless your busy or fell asleep or no longer interested in conversing.
  • Crimson 2012/05/02 17:40:56
    Texting is convenient because people can read and reply to it whenever they want, it's not a contest about ho answers faster.
  • stevegtexas@aol.com 2012/05/02 16:40:18 (edited)
  • afro.ninja.rockstar 2012/05/02 16:37:56
    It depends who I'm talking to..
  • Red Branch 2012/05/02 16:31:55
    Red Branch
    It is not a matter of how long it should take to respond. It should be a matter of common decency and common sense. Except for emergencies, the most important person in your life should be the one in front of you.

    Two people sitting side by side or across from each other at a table and both are busy texting.
  • TKramar Red Branch 2012/07/01 04:00:55
    each other...
  • Red Branch TKramar 2012/07/03 22:11:32
    Red Branch
    I guess it makes sense if they don't want anyone else to hear what is said. I haven't sent a text message yet and really don't have plans to get involved.
  • TKramar Red Branch 2012/07/03 22:23:26
    I used to joke that online daters would go to a cyber cafe and instant message each other.
  • Red Branch TKramar 2012/07/03 22:25:39
    Red Branch
    They probably do.
  • cellophane 2012/05/02 16:05:59
    My phones - whether house phones or cells - are for my convenience, not for others' convenience. I have a special ring for some family members, anyone else can wait until it's convenient for me to respond.
  • Headhunter 13 2012/05/02 16:01:40
    Headhunter 13
    I should take no time. Because it is a complete waste of time. There isn't one damn person texting that is that important. It is a sad way to make yourself important by receiving and sending stupid texts in childish spelling. Freaking brain dead texter
  • TKramar Headhun... 2012/07/01 04:01:33
    I spell correctly, because I'm intelligent.
  • Headhun... TKramar 2012/07/01 13:07:09
    Headhunter 13
    Well there is one self opinion that is wrong.careful with your delusions, they could get you committed
  • TKramar TKramar 2012/07/01 14:01:15
    Oh come on! Headhunter, you've blocked me. But you can't name a single word that I have spelled wrong, because I never spell words wrong.
  • Someone 2012/05/02 15:30:54
    I text back when I get to it. I like texting due to the fact that I have three kids and my house is always loud, so its easier for me to text and not have to worry about all the background noise.
  • POWERSHAKER 2012/05/02 15:19:17
  • stevegt... POWERSH... 2012/05/02 16:41:59
  • Sam DePecan 2012/05/02 14:33:34
    Sam DePecan
    I don't really have any interest in any of those radiation brain-tumor toys.

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