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Is Messaging The Same As Texting?

Texting & messaging are often used in exchange for one another, but the two have vastly different purposes.

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SMS, MMS, text messaging…there’s a wide variety of terms to know when it comes to texting. 

A big debate surrounds this “age” old question: is messaging the same as texting?

Yes, when you text, you technically send a message. But sending a message isn’t the only qualifying element to messaging.

In fact, messaging is a much more in-depth, industry-specific term relating to digital communications as a whole.

So, the short answer—no. Messaging is not the same as texting. But for the curious minds who came here to learn a little bit more, we’ll explain the differences a bit more in depth.

What Is Messaging?

A hallmark A common icebreaker for anyone born in the 90s is: what was your AIM screen name?

It’s silly and fun to reflect, but anyone who participated in early turn-of-the-century internet chat was actually on the brink of a pretty revolutionary concept— instant messaging.

Instant messaging is a kind of real-time online chat enabled through a software application.

Many of the third-party applications that enable messaging also have robust features like file sharing, video chat, and voice calling.

Some of the most popular messaging applications include: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Skype.

You may also have heard messaging referred to by other terms, like “DM” (direct messaging) or “chatting.”

Although these are more social-media specific terms–you may have heard of someone’s “Instagram DM’s” or “Facebook chats”–they all fall under the umbrella of messaging.

What Is Texting?

On the other hand, texting, or text messaging, is the transmission of short electronic messages between two or more mobile devices.

Texting uses a cellular network to send messages, which typically land at around 160 characters.

Almost every single cellphone, regardless of “smart” internet technology, is capable of both sending and receiving text messages. 

With an inbound text service or SMS chat, you can use texting in a similar way to messaging.

What Makes Texting Different Than Messaging?

By definition, texting and messaging may sound similar thanks to advances in mobile technology.

With the coming of smartphones, like the iPhone and Android, text messages can be sent using an internet connection. 

This gets rid of the character limits and makes sending things like photos, videos, and GIFs fast and easy.

However, even with smartphones in the equation, there are still some core differences between texting and messaging that make the two very different.

For example:

  • Instant messaging requires both the sender and recipient to be using the same application. You can’t send a message on WhatsApp and deliver it to someone’s Facebook.
  • With texting, you can send and receive messages with any cellphone, regardless of which cell carrier you use. Someone with Verizon can seamlessly text someone with a Sprint plan.
  • With instant messaging, you can send messages to people anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection.
  • With texting, however, your international carrier plan will determine if you can send messages overseas. While it’s almost always possible, it may just cost a little extra.
  • Instant messaging can often be done on a desktop, tablet, or laptop. However, if you want to use messaging services on a cellphone, you must have a smartphone.
  • Texting is built into each mobile device, no need to communicate via a smartphone if you want to text.

These are seemingly small differences, but to someone considering (for example) which tool to use when communicating with their customers, these variations make a difference.

So, if you are in a position deciding which tool would better fit your needs, how do you make the right choice?

Texting or Messaging-Which Should I Choose?

Making business decisions should be fun every once in a while! 

To try and lighten up your decision-making process, we developed a quick quiz that will help point you in the right direction.

Answer YES or NO to each question to the best of your ability to learn if texting or messaging is right for your needs.

  1. Do you have a budget of at least $29 a month to spend on digital communications?
  2. Are the customers you need/want to reach within the U.S. or Canada?
  3. Would you like your messages to go directly to a cell phone?
  4. Is it important to you that customers get notified right away when you send a message?
  5. Do you need/want to be able to send messages without an internet connection?

If you answered yes to a majority of these questions, texting, or more specifically text marketing, seems like the solution for you.

The Final Word on Texting vs. Messaging

Both texting and messaging have their advantages, and we encourage you to find the one that meets your specific needs.

To help you get started, if you’re interested in learning more about what text marketing is (spoiler, it’s way more than just sending texts) you can get more information on our blog.

If you’re ready to dive into the world of SMS, we invite you to try out SimpleTexting for 14 days, totally free.

Meghan Tocci
Meghan Tocci

Meghan Tocci is a content strategist at SimpleTexting. When she’s not writing about SaaS, she’s trying to teach her puppy Lou how to code. So far, not so good.

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