For a few years now, the Philippines is considered to be the “Text Messaging Capital of the World”, but the title could be in jeopardy as a growing number of Filipinos are turning to social networking sites for messaging instead of SMS.
Philippine telecommunications companies have reported that SMS messages have been on the decline in 2010, especially during this past holiday season. People are using online social networks such as Facebook and Twitter over texting on cell phones for three reasons; convenience, accessibility and above all, cost.
Rather than pay for home Internet and a computer, many Filipinos opt for renting time in an Internet café, which seem to be around every corner in most places. An hour to rent a computer at one of the thousands of Internet cafes in the Philippines costs about 20 pesos (about 50 cents USD), in some cases only 10 pesos are needed to buy an hour online.
A single text message may only cost 2 cents to send, but with an hour of online time a person can message hundreds, perhaps thousands of friends and family.
Filipinos are also discovering VOIP services, like Skype, and making low cost or free voice calls, especially with family and friends living abroad.
Sending frequent text messages from a mobile phone can also be tedious, according to some users. A single “Happy New Year!” blast on Facebook may reach hundreds of friends and family all at once. Achieving the same effect using a cell phone would require a great deal of time and effort.
Many recognize texting still has some important advantages over Internet messaging. SMS is more personal and secure; messages are not posted for public display on walls and in status updates. Users are not tied to an Internet connection, and able to respond to messages anytime, from more places.
In some regions, Twitter updates can be sent via SMS, giving users the best of both worlds.
If the social trend continues, the Philippines may soon have a new title, the “Social Networking Capital of the World.”