What Are the Benefits of Texting Vs. Email?
By David Nield
Updated August 23, 2017
As our cell phones become more powerful, the distinction between texting and email is becoming a less defined one; however, key differences still remain. In many situations, the immediacy and simplicity of a text message makes using the medium preferable to sending an email.
Texts are delivered immediately and directly to a device that most of us have with us at all times. Not as many of us are checking email on such a regular basis – even if someone owns a phone capable of sending and receiving email, there's no guarantee email is being checked as regularly as text messages. SMS messages have more of a sense of urgency, whereas email tends to be seen as information that can be responded to at a later date. With cell numbers typically more closely guarded than email addresses, a text message also represents a more personal and intimate connection.
The benefits of being able to receive an SMS anywhere also apply to the sending part of the – a text can be sent from any location you can get a data connection, and there's no need for email client software to get up and running. Most modern smartphones now come with built-in email clients, but texting remains simpler to do, and is the only option if you're using a more basic cell phone.
SMS messages are almost always typed out on a mobile phone keypad, whereas emails are generally composed on a full-sized keyboard or a bigger tablet keypad. This limitation can work to the advantage of SMS, encouraging shorter messages that get to the point. Paragraphs and text formatting are all stripped away, leaving only the message itself. While email may be preferable for discussing topics in-depth, texting has the advantage when it comes to making quick arrangements or sending shorter messages.
Volume and Security
Spam messages and group emails have to some extent diluted the impact of email. Messages sent over email can easily get lost or inadvertently filtered out of the inbox. While text messages can be sent to a group, or used to spam users, the problem is not as widespread as it is with email – this gives the SMS format another advantage. Virus attachments and malicious links are other problems with email that don't exist to the same extent on text messages, making it a more secure platform as well.
An information technology journalist since 2002, David Nield writes about the Web, technology, hardware and software. He is an experienced editor, proofreader and copywriter for online publications such as CNET, TechRadar and Gizmodo. Nield holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and lives in Manchester, England.