Last night I discovered that you can enter your cell phone number on Facebook to receive text messages when someone writes on your wall, sends you a message, adds you as a friend, etc. Intrigued, I signed up for these text alerts from Facebook. But as I received some today, I couldn’t help but wonder if cell phones that have Internet and e-mail capabilities are making text messages obsolete?
With so many people now having Blackberrys and other phones that allow for immediate e-mail retrieval, why would someone prefer to receive any alerts via text message? (Facebook also has the option for you to receive any of these alerts via e-mail.) I know that not everyone has one of these phones, but I think it soon will be that these are the only phones available. Even already, Apple (who makes only the iPhone) is the third-largest supplier of cell phones.
Text messages used to be unique because people always have their phones on them, but not always a laptop or Internet device. So text was the best way to receive timely information (for example, security alerts from ASU if there’s a fire or crisis on campus). But now that e-mail is just as accessible as text via cell phones, is text messaging even necessary anymore?