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Monday Poll: Text Message or Instant Messaging App?

android messaging

Two years ago, when we asked readers which mode of communication they used the most – traditional text messaging vs. instant messaging – I was shocked to see that the majority of users were still predominantly using old school text messaging. There are so many good instant messaging services out there that are not only free, but that offer tremendous benefits over text messaging. For example, they don’t compress and shrink the hell out of the photos you send or receive. They also let you participate in legitimate group conversations, share information in real time, etc. But for some reason, in 2012, people were still defaulting back to standard text messaging.

So now that we are over half-way through 2014, it’s time to see where we stand. Are you still sending old school text messages or are you sending instant messages?

Text Message or Instant Messaging Service?

View Results

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  • Dan Stark

    I use Business Messenger for work. bit.ly/1p1K9xX. The app lets me text my clients from phone, tablet, and computer, but appears as my office line instead of my personal number. Never have to hand out my personal mobile # for business.

  • Chris Hannan

    Hangouts and Google Voice almost exclusively. I’m not paying an extra $20/month for texting when the only benefit that gives me is low quality picture messaging.

  • Jeff C

    doesnt help my friends are phone-illiterate and instructing them how to use anything but text messaging or imessage is just too much

  • coolsilver

    Twitter -> Text -> IM

  • Jim Davis

    I think this pole could be skewed by the smug implication that using “traditional” text messaging makes you some sort of Luddite.

    I was shocked to see that the majority of users were still predominantly using old school text messaging.

    If DL wants accurate results, I would suggest using less inflammatory language in the poll article.

  • jones

    Facebook messenger sometimes and traditional text.
    I used to use hangouts but not so much now.
    I like imessage.
    Its just better right now

  • rutgersjaffo

    Using Go SMS and no real idea why I should be using anything else. It’s a pain in the ass to use third party apps when only certain other friends use them.

  • Droid-Lifer

    I’m still on an unlimited plan from Vzw but I don’t pay for a txting plan (every txt is ~$.20), but I use Google Voice to get free SMS (but no MMS). If I want to send a picture I use G+ or email.

    • dark_funk

      Yep, exact same scenario here. Most of my chatting is via Hangouts or FB Message at this point, but for SMS I use Google Voice. I’ll be switching to T-Mobile soon enough so I can save some money, and I’ll use native SMS once I do.

  • BDWilliams85

    Kellex… are u really being serious with this?

  • rickm81

    I don’t understand why I wouldn’t use SMS. Everyone can get these messages without me having to get all of my friends to install a certain app or remember what app everyone else is using,

  • imronburgundy


  • Al Werner

    The comparison is not with SMS it’s with MMS. With MMS I get virtually all the benefits of a messaging service but with near 100% coverage. Verizon had even made it so I can send messages from my PC and wifi tablet. Very nice convenience.

  • If you’re still using text messages, you’re doing it wrong.

  • Larry Bublitz

    I try to use IM apps, but invariably someone on the other side is text-only. Easier just to do SMS to be sure. I leave it to them usually to mention an IM app, and if they do, I love trying them all and will support it.

  • AlexKCMO

    With my close friends and some family, it’s mostly Hangouts. With clients, some family, and other friends, text messaging. My sister for instance, can’t understand hangouts (which is stupid because apparently iMessage works just fine). I installed it for her, did a video call with her, she loved it. Flew back home, never used it again.

    Clients, they have my Google Voice number and that’s good enough. Connecting via hangouts is too much of a hassle.

  • yummy

    No interest in anything im offers. I actually talk to my friends. Like in person. Yeah.

  • MrWicket

    traditional wasn’t exactly correct for me but close enough as I use Google Voice. I use Hangouts etc mostly though as I personally see no real reason to pay for Texting anymore when I carry the internet in my pocket.

  • Matthew Glen Evans

    I’m shocked that you would be shocked that most people use traditional texting. Sure, there are some great IM alternatives out there, but that only works if all your contacts use the same service. For some reason all these companies making messaging clients can’t work together and make a universal protocol, so people stock with the most universal client there currently is, and that’s SMS.

  • anon23

    I like using google chat for business related chats for the logs so I can always go back

  • Captain_Doug

    Best part of hangouts is that it does both. I mostly instant message but for those that don’t use the app, it makes no difference.

  • Trysta

    Traditional text messages have always been free for me and I still know people (like my mom) who don’t have a smartphone. So frankly i just don’t see the benefit of the instant message services (for my usage case).

  • patrick

    I really use combination of both. I am on a legacy VZW plan so I only have 500 SMS text plan, although i do have free mobile to mobile text with other VZW people. So once i hit my cap it’s either Whatsapp (which a huge chunk of my contacts use) or i just use Google Voice. Speaking of GV, the merger into Hangouts and MMS support for GV # can’t come soon enough. What the hell is taking so long? I’ll use Hangouts here and there and Kik on rare occasions.

  • Furyswrath

    Id be more apt to use a IM app. But if the other person dont use that app then its pointless. And there are so many of them to choose from. Ill Stick with text because everyone has it. Till there is a All in One IM service that everyone has.

  • steven

    I don’t see why people *wouldn’t* use texting. It saves data, battery life, you don’t have to worry about which client someone uses… Group conversations work perfectly fine too. I guess if you’re that bent out of shape over the quality of the photos sent over MMS I would just give them a link to that picture hosted somewhere.

    • BTLS

      I totally agree on all of your points… I don’t have FB so whenever I want to share a high quality pic I either send a dropbox link, or email…

  • Reed Kerr

    I would love to just use Hangouts as an instant messaging service all the time, but almost everyone I know over the age of 45 has an iPhone and they wouldn’t even know how to install the Hangouts app. So unfortunately, for the time being, I use Hangouts to send SMS about 60% of the time, and then I use Hangouts as an IM service with my younger friends and my wife.

    I love the seamless PC/phone integration of Hangouts as an IM service, and really hope that soon this expands to include SMS/MMS, at least for us Google Voice users.

  • BoFiS

    While I have unlimited data on my Verizon phone, I also have unlimited SMS, so that is not a restriction or benefit of one over the other. However, 100% of every cell phone, data plan or not, smartphone or not, can get an SMS. With Handcent SMS, I can SMS from a computer, I can reply from notification popups that appear over my lock screen, and overall, I can customize the look and feel of the app and conversations which all have advantages to me over Hangouts (which is really the only IM I do anymore, and again between on the computer and on my phone depending)

  • Suman Gandham

    Google Voice for all mt texts, which isn’t really traditional SMS…

  • Jkdem85

    Virtually every one of my friends and family uses I message, only my foreign business associates and friends use hangouts or whatsapp

  • Sorry guys, but facebook messenger really does messaging right!!! upload pics seamlessly, smileys, stickers, etc.

    beats my google voice and google hangouts 🙁

    never had text messaging plan and never will, unless it comes bundled in my forced upgrade to more everything plan on verizon 🙁

    long live grandfathered unlimited data!

  • Tay Swift

    Android needs a serious imessage competitor. Hangouts has been vastly improved but still no where near imessage. I hate apple but imessage is king

  • XvierX

    I’ve convinced my whole family to use hangouts messaging. It’s way more convenient considering they already use chrome as their default web browser. when I showed them the browser extension they were sold, not to mention that it works on their tablets as well. I’ve got one of my best friends using it as well but it’s a lot harder to convince them since their families use SMS exclusively.

  • jrbmed08

    I use Google Voice for texting and Hangouts for instant messaging. I have “traditional” SMS blocked on my line because I use GVoice exclusively and don’t want to pay for texts that other people inadvertently send to my regular number instead of GVoice. I refuse to pay a cent for texting (it’s not included in my plan) when I’m already paying $30/month for data.

  • speed4evr

    I prefer traditional SMS. It’s more efficient, doesn’t require internet access. Snapchat is handy now n then…Google Voice integrated with Sprint = great combo

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