My year in texts – part 1

For the last 8 years, I’ve been archiving most of my text messages since I’m too lazy to keep a diary and this has proven to be a worthy substitute.* I do this by typing the texts over from my phone in an Excel document. I’m sure there are better ways, but this manual labour has one important benefit – I learn the texts almost by heart and it makes it easier for me to  remember the bigger and smaller events in my life.

This year I want to do some actual text data crunching. So for the whole of 2010 I’ve been meticulously typing out all of my received texts, the date it was sent, who sent it, and in which order the texts got to me each day, so I can order them cronologically. Now, there are flaws of course. I could have for instance used an official time-stamp structure (since the time texts are sent can be important contextual information). Maybe next year. Also, I haven’t categorised the people who sent them (e.g. friends, family, colleagues) or the nature of the texts themselves (e.g. informative, love, absolute bollocks). And the final flaw is that I do not archive the texts I send out. For a complete archive, this would of course be best, but it would be impractical to do this, and also like I mentioned before, I’m lazy.

Coming January, I want to make an overview of:

  • The number of texts received in total, and the busiest months / days / weeks
  • The number of texts received per person
  • The average / median / mode of the length of the texts, also per person
  • Then, I want to see if I can draw some conclusions about my personal relations based on all this data.

I’ve now archived all my received texts up to 7 December 2010: 1,228 in total. This is not a very large number compared to the slew of texts sent by teenagers of course, which in the U.S. averages to 3,339 a month according to a recent article on Mashable [1]. However, compared to European [2] stats I seem to be pretty much in the top scale, and also quite Irish.

Admittedly, these are stats of texts sent, not received. However, I have a subscription for 100 texts a month which I slightly exceed each time, so the amount I receive will most likely be similar to what I send.

Ok, the number crunching will start in the coming two weeks or so. Any things I need to add to the bullet points above, like text categories or topics? Let me know, and I’ll consider it :-).

[1] http://mashable.com/2010/10/14/nielsen-texting-stats/

[2] http://bit.ly/fyvvWN

* Also, it demonstrates my obsessive-compulsive data-hoarding archive-loving nature, but let’s not get into that.


3 Responses to “My year in texts – part 1”

  1. October 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I’m a film professional interested in the Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image course. I’d love to aks you some questions about the course and about your working experience in the field – would u be willing to exchange some e-mails with me?

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