Mr. Watson, i12cu

CREDIT: "Alexander Graham Bell at the opening of the long-distance line from New York to Chicago," 1892. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number LC-G9-Z2-28608-B.

When Motorola researcher Martin Cooper made the first ever mobile phone call on April 3, 1973, he used it to get a rise out of his R&D rival at Bell Labs. If he were doing it today, more than likely it would be via a text message. Pick your emoji of choice.

At least that’s what a new consumer research study suggested. The survey was commissioned by customer communications cloud services provider Sinch to find out how U.S. consumers use their phones today.

The full findings won’t be released until Monday, but a nice communications exec on the Sinch team offered me an early look at one of the top line findings: “TL:DR - texts rank higher,” she said, explaining, “when asked on which channel they'd prefer to converse with a brand, respondents ranked text messages first, followed by voice calls and email.”

It may not seem surprising to anyone today that text-based messaging has supplanted the vocal kind, but the real questions should be why, and what are the implications of this finding?

I mean, people have been speaking to each other for about 70,000 years, doing it via wired lines for nearly 150, and now wirelessly for 50.

By comparison, they’ve been emailing each other for only 52 years, and SMS texting each other for just 30 years.

And if you read my “BlackBerry” column last week, you know they’ve been emailing via their phones for only 21 years.

So how has that rapid change in the preferred way people communicate influenced how we communicate?

And is it better or worse -- or just different?

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