…growth is expected to continue through 2011, when six out of every 10 wireless users will be texting, according to JupiterResearch.
Although most of that growth is being fueled by the constant back-and-forth chatting of teens, there are plenty of ways adults are getting in on the action.
Consider: American Airlines is testing the idea of letting customers text-message complaints to the airline.
Travelocity and other travel sites alert travelers to flight changes with a text message.
AT&T sponsored the cell phone voting for American Idol, which resulted in 64.5 million text messages sent in 2006.
When the pop singer Fergie recently performed a private concert at the Verizon Wireless store in Southlake, Texas, the company sent tickets to its customers' cell phones. Verizon customers had to show their phone to get in.
I receive text messages about college alumni events directly from the venue supporting a happy hour or dinner, and lately the venue has been sending me texts about promotional events or new bar openings.
Increased texting among younger generations and a new adult demographic also affects how sales reps at the phone companies pitch their products.
Lea Hilton, a data-solutions manager for Verizon, recently noticed the trend at a store in South Texas, where "winter Texans" descend from the North to temporarily escape the cold during their retirement years.
"The sales reps were at first hesitant to even talk about data features, because these guys were just wanting traditional voice phones," Hilton said. "Some of the reps realized, 'I may not want to fight the battle of teaching them how to send a message, but I do want to show them how to receive a message.' They were teaching the customer how to open up picture messages sent from family members back home in Ohio."