Text messaging on a cell phone and instant messaging on a computer are two totally different ways of communication that have some similarities. Their main similarity, however, is the fact that they are both easy ways to reach out to another person when talking on the phone just isn’t possible. The following are some of the other similarities and differences between text messaging and instant messaging.

Typing Styles

Typing in an instant message versus in a text message may be different. People use shorthand abbreviations, like ‘U’ for ‘you’ and ‘2’ for ‘too’, mostly because there is a message limit on how many characters a text message can be- 160 for most phone models. Once a text message reaches a certain number of characters, it will then become a 2-part message, which will be sent as 2 texts, one immediately after the other. In instant messaging, abbreviations can sometimes be used in order to save time, but usually average to better typists tend to completely spell out their conversations messages, especially when talking to a co-worker or client.

Response Time & Delivery Delays

There is sometimes a significant difference in response time between text messaging and instant messaging. This is mostly because many people are not constantly on their or next to their phone at all times as they usually are when they are ‘online’ when using an instant messenger. In some cases, if a person needs to get a hold of someone for a pressing matter, than using instant messaging or the phone may be the best choice. In addition, delivery may be delayed more often when using text messaging as opposed to instant messaging. This is dependent on the type of phone carrier, distance between the two people texting, and the distance to a local cell phone tower.

No Away Messages

One of the biggest differences between instant messaging and text messaging is the ability to set an away message when you are not at your computer. This allows people who wish to contact you to see if you are busy or unavailable, as opposed to them sending a text message, waiting for your reply, and not knowing when you will be able to respond.