" ITREALMS: Valentine’s Day: South Africans take to phone romance

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine’s Day: South Africans take to phone romance

Despite digital evolution sweeping across the globe, a South African survey indicated that romance has not died, mostly in the spirit of Valentine’s Day.

A survey by BulkSMS.com, a division of Celerity Systems Pty Limited, indicated that despite all odds, digital age seems to be gaining momentum, especially in South Africa.

The report added that survey was conducted using a new media channel in January 2011.
According to BulkSMS.com, of the 51 South Africans who responded, the majority was from the Western Cape and the remainder from Gauteng and the Eastern Cape with all respondents aged between 18 to 50 years.

Marketing manager, BulkSMS.com, Ms Samantha Young, was quoted as saying that a similar survey was conducted in 2009 and the parallels were in line with what was expected, especially with the growing popularity of social media and the smart phones.

“The results of both surveys go some way to confirm that mobile phones provide an intimate medium to communicate with a loved one,” she said.

Young also said that two key findings emerged from the survey; firstly that irrespective of age, people still prefer calling the person they are romantically involved with rather than sending a message. Secondly, the survey said that people are becoming more dependent on their phones and are more likely to return home to fetch their mobile than go on a date without it.

Some of the other findings are first dates are arranged by calling and was rated in 2009 to be 57 per cent of respondents arranged; their first date by phone call, 2 per cent did so face to face and 19 per cent; preferred texting.

The 2011 results were somewhat different in that 41 per cent preferred arranging a first date over the phone, 41 per cent preferred; face to face and 16 per cent sent text messages over the phone.

Additionally, the survey showed that the preferred communications method in 2011 was the use of social media and instant messaging.

Equally, this survey showed that the preferred communication method is still phone calls with 69 per cent in both 2009 and 2011, texting has increased from 17 per cent in 2009 up to 25 per cent in 2011, and instant messaging, citing an instance with Mxit, Facebook chat, Skype; has increased by more than 10 per cent from 7 per cent in 2009 up to 19 per cent in 2011.

Other findings of the survey include that most people do not take romantic calls during a work meeting: 52 per cent of 2009 respondents and 70 per cent of the 2011 respondents had never taken a romantic call in a meeting. 24 per cent (2009) and 14 per cent (2011) indicated that they took the call in a work meeting without realizing it was a romantic call.

19 per cent (2009) and 14 per cent (2011) stated that they had, but that it was an emergency and 5 per cent (2009) and 4 per cent (2011) said that they often took romantic calls during a meeting.

Some people, the survey said could not live without their cell phones, especially when asked whether they would rather return home to collect their phones and be late for a romantic engagement than go without their mobile phone for a few hours.

55 per cent of the 2011 respondents said that they would, while this was up from 19 per cent of the 2009 respondents. 2 per cent of the 2011 group and 7 per cent of the 2009 group said that they would leave it but would spend the night wondering who was trying to contact them.

On the texting, respondents said it could be used to end romantic relationships as at 2009, 71 per cent of respondents said that they would not use text messaging to dump someone and 15 per cent indicated that they may consider doing so.

However, the survey stated that no-one had dumped someone using SMS, while in 2011, 22 per cent of respondents had dumped and 14 per cent had been dumped by text message.

“We did not ask the same question for Facebook users in the 2009 survey, but did in the
2011. 6 per cent of respondents had publicly either broken up with or had a relationship end by someone using a social media site,” Samantha said.

Remmy Nweke:
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