As media called the presidential race on Tuesday, Americans fired off text messages at a record pace. AT&T Inc. today reported that in the hour following the announcement, text messaging traffic across its network surged about 44 percent -- the highest spike in company history.
Tuesday night's jump in text messaging volume smashed previous spikes in text messaging reported by AT&T. For example, the peak transactions per second following Tuesday's announcement was significantly higher than the peak transactions per second logged for the most recent New Year's Eve, a day that consistently ranks among the busiest texting days for AT&T.
"The spike on Tuesday night rang true for us," said Mark Collins, vice president of Voice and Data Services, AT&T Mobility & Consumer Markets. "Texting has become so valuable a communication tool that it is how people are sharing thoughts and information and connecting with each other in even the most important moments."
Text messaging became the ubiquitous language of politics for young people this election cycle. Throughout the election, AT&T worked to advance public discourse through text messaging and mobile technology, teaming up with Rock the Vote to drive voter registration and turnout among young adults ages 18-29, in particular. For example, the two organizations launched a short code that let youth opt in to receive election information and reminders via text.
A recent Nielsen study reported that U.S. consumers now use their cell phones for text messaging more often than for talking. In third quarter 2008 earnings, AT&T reported that more than 64 billion text messages crossed its network. The company also recently launched a new line of quick messaging phones that are designed to make texting faster and easier.
The percentage increase in text messaging traffic for election night was calculated by comparing day-of peak messages per second with the average messages per second peak for the previous five days.