Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, March 15, 2021

I came across this little factoid today, apparently out of some session at South by Southwest 2009:

The average 15 year old girl today sends 2500 text messages a month

If that seems eye-poppingly excessive, that’s because it probably is — but only that “sends” part. Recent Nielsen data pegs something close in teen two-way texting volume:

In addition to showing the trend of texts compared to calls, Nielsen’s research shows that the typical U.S. teen mobile subscriber (ages 13–17) now sends or receives 1,742 text messages per month (compared to making or receiving 231 mobile phone calls). (emphasis mine)

So that 2,500 number is likely right on the money, but the average U.S. 15-year-old gal is pumping out only half that, and receiving the other half. And she’s obviously the workhorse of her demographic — the overall number gets lowered by less texting-prone boys.

The reason for all that short-form chatter is a young girl’s normal development of self:

The term researchers use is “co-rumination” to describe frequently or obsessively discussing the same problem. The behavior is typical among teens — Why didn’t he call? Should I break up with him? And, psychologists say, it has intensified significantly with e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging and Facebook. And in certain cases it can spin into a potentially contagious and unhealthy emotional angst, experts say.

The research distinguishes between sharing or “self-disclosure,” which is associated with positive friendships and positive feelings, and dwelling on problems, concerns and frustrations. Dwelling and rehashing issues can keep girls, who are more prone to depression and anxiety than boys, stuck in negative thinking patterns, psychologists say. But they also say it is a mixed picture: friends who co-ruminate tend to be close, and those intimate relationships can build self-esteem.

A couple thousand teen-angst shorties per month? I’m thinking if thumb-typing were less laborious, we’d probably see tenfold that number from the average female adolescent.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/15/2009 08:52:12 PM
Category: Society, Tech
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Not that I’m into I-told-you-so’s, but, well, I told ya so:

Watchmen disintegrated 67 percent to an estimated $18.1 million for $86 million in ten days, trailing all previous superhero movies that debuted in the $50 million range through the same point. For perspective, 300, which Watchmen was oft compared to, fell 54 percent to $32.9 million in its second weekend (for a $129.2 million total), and, among major comic book movies, only Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Hulk had steeper drop-offs. The weekend further cemented Watchmen’s status as a movie with much more limited appeal than other superhero pictures, rooted in its non-mainstream source material and its diffuse storyline and marketing.

For context, I believe the standard second-week dropoff for new releases these days is 50-60 percent from the opening week. So this is indeed a nosedive of a decline.

The movie will still pass the $100-million box-office mark, but not much past that; and with a runtime of nearly three hours, it’s going to take a couple more weeks for it to limp to that milestone. Too many factors ultimately crippled this adaptation, commercially, for blockbuster status to take hold. So we won’t have to worry about the spectre of a Watchmen franchise of sequels/prequels.

Nope, I haven’t gone to see it. I don’t see doing so. If it cleaves so closely to the book, I’ll struggle through re-reading that for the dozenth time (struggling because I’m finding it to be unbearably dated by now, plus too-thinly plotted).

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/15/2009 07:35:30 PM
Category: Movies, Pop Culture, Publishing
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Who knew that there were so many made-up rock-n-roll bands in pop-culturedom?

Or more to the point, who knew that anyone was obsessive enough to keep track of them, to the point of publishing the list in book form?

The breadth of the entries is simply astounding. Along with usual suspects like Spinal Tap and The Rutles, there are more obscure candidates like Fresh Step and Johnny Casino and the Gamblers.

And then there are the really, really obscure ones, like Tim “There Were More Cuts On My Face Than On My Records” Wheeler:

This is weird. A fake folk singer from old Gillette advertisement I found in a 1973 issue of Esquire. Gillette saved his career!

It’s hard to tell if this ridiculously massive list is still being maintained; frontpage note says it was last updated in 2007. I suspect the editor’s head simply exploded from overload.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/15/2009 01:43:10 PM
Category: Internet, Pop Culture
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