500 texts a day is standard practice for this Ohio teenager. (With video)
Teens like to text. No secret there.
But sending and receiving 14,590 text messages from a cell phone in one month?
That’s about 500 texts per day, or one every two minutes -- if you factor in eight hours a day for sleep.
Hard to fathom, but 15-year-old Paige Horn of Massillon, using her family’s unlimited Verizon Wireless texting plan, did just that.
It’s impossible to say whether this is a record. But this, essentially, was Verizon spokeswoman Laura Merritt’s reaction to the total: Wow!
She’d heard of 5,000, but three times that?
One, two, three ... nine Mississippi, and Paige, seated on the porch steps alongside her mother, has dashed off a 10-word text message.
The messaging cycle, it seems, never stops. Every few moments, her phone quivers. A message has arrived. Horn -- who plays volleyball and basketball at Washington High School and has a grade-point average of 3.2 -- responds, making a friend’s phone tinkle or vibrate.
One would assume that the messages are jammed with abbreviations. Nope.
Abbreviations make the texts look ugly, says Paige. She is aided, however, by a “predictive text” program that guesses what she wants to say.
Sounds like a shortcut. But how about her master move: The no-look text.
From her hoodie pouch, purse or pocket, she can fire off a text without looking -- a move, no doubt, for the masters.
How can she possibly have so much to text about?
She’s just kind of random, she said, as are her friends. That’s how a lot of text conversations begin -- a remixed stanza from a popular song, the teens’ own lyrics inserted, an insider joke or phrase. The catalyst, a response to that, a response to that. Quickly, six, eight, 10 texts amass.
Merritt said the back and forth messaging between teens quickly can lead to a surprisingly high number of texts.
“It’s almost like a short phone conversation,” Merritt said. “The first message may be just the word, ‘Hey,’ and then the response is, ‘What’s up?’”
“Twenty-five messages later, they’re like, ‘Let’s meet up here.’”
Talk about multi-tasking
Paige couldn’t live without her phone, her mother, Milena Horn, says.
“It’s become a lifestyle, like getting up and getting ready for the day. If she doesn’t have that phone, she feels like part of her is missing.”
Can too, the daughter demurs: “It’s not like I have to brush my teeth and text at the same time. ... I’ve done it before, but I don’t have to.”
The mother-daughter relationship has a sister vibe -- a jab here, a jab back, no hard feelings.
Mom is no slouch texter either, says the daughter.
It’s true. Sometimes Milena Horn will send/receive 1,000 or more texts in a month.
Many adults -- those who may have never sent a text, or labor for several minutes keying in their occasional message -- view the heavy texting/Facebooking/ MySpacing genre as a sign of end times, of increased illiteracy, fragmentation, scatter-brained slouches.
But to kids, those alien texters, it’s simply a way of life, as foreign and odd as a pack of cigarettes rolled up in a T-shirt and twist dancing.
“She can be on the computer, on MySpace, with her cell phone sitting next to her, she’ll be texting on her cell phone, IM’ing on MySpace, and she can be talking on the house phone,” the mother says.
“I don’t talk on the house phone.”
“Not anymore you don’t, but you used to,” mom completes the list, “and watch a movie at the same time.”
Queen of texting
Merritt, trying to make sense of Paige’s text total, assumed she must be sending texts through a distribution list, meaning she could send one message to 10 or so people at a time. A single message, then, could count as 10 or more. But that’s not the case, said Paige. She doesn’t care for texts of that nature, nor does she like forwarded texts.
The Horns weren’t surprised when the cell phone statement with the whopping text total arrived. They had taken the phone to the Verizon store on Dressler Road NW in Jackson Township because Paige was having trouble with it -- likely because of the volume of texts, store employees surmised. The employees pulled up the family’s records and were stunned. They’d never seen that many texts.
Other customers also were stunned. One woman wanted Paige Horn’s name and number, perhaps thinking it would be comical to trade messages with the texting queen.
And the queen said she’s not seen her most voluminous texting month. How many more could she possibly achieve?
“A lot,” she said.