The Connected Life: Decidedly More Social

Smartphone users are communicating in a number of ways.

By Brian Malina on July 25, 2013

Texting, calling, video chatting, IM'ing, tweeting – the options for connecting with family and friends on a smartphone are diverse. A report by Facebook and IDC Research says that a typical smartphone user spends an average of 132 minutes per day communicating on their device. So what exactly are they doing for two hours and 12 minutes?

CNET reported on a 2012 CTIA survey that showed traditional text messaging is in decline. With the number of text messages sent and received decreasing by almost 5 percent from 2011, texting is being replaced by instant messaging. The capabilities of messaging apps like Verizon Messages, Google Talk and MessageMe expand to include video chatting, multimedia sharing and group messaging, giving people the opportunity to connect in more thoughtful, creative ways.

Time spent on Facebook accounts for 25 percent of a user’s daily smartphone communication, according to the report from Facebook and IDC, while the remaining minutes are spent talking on the phone, emailing or on other social networks.

When on Facebook, users primarily check news feeds and comment on friends’ updates. Some also choose to send direct messages to friends for more personal, private conversations. According to the report, almost 80 percent of users surveyed have their phones on or near them for all but up to two hours of their waking day. They are using Facebook in the midst of other tasks like preparing meals and working out.

With smartphones regularly close at hand, it’s not surprising that being social begets going social. People are more likely to communicate via Facebook or Twitter when they are out in public with others, at a class, meal, event or movie, preferring to share the experiences of their nights on the town versus a night alone on the couch.

While individual smartphone communication habits vary, one thing is for sure: once-a-day phone calls to family and friends are ancient history.