There were a couple of cellular outages recently that reinforce the notion that every wireless user should know how to send and receive Text messages. Many of us rely on getting a call at a certain time to get to the next event in out lives, from picking someone up at the store to making a corporate deal across the country. As we recommended in our Cellular Tips & Secrets, not only should you know how to Text someone, you may need to teach other family members how to receive them, too.
In the South Dakota case, Text and Data seemed to work properly, while Voice circuits did not. There is no guarantee this will work in the next emergency, but historically, Text has been able to get the message through when Voice calls fail. Part of the advantage is the 'store and forward' aspect of Text Messaging, similar to email that is delivered eventually, as soon as even the briefest connection is made, like a short burst of usable cellular signal. We also posted a list of Text to email addresses in case you need to Text someone when you are away from your wireless phone.
This year the average number of Texts exceeded the number of Voice calls. I must admit, only one or two of my wireless-carrying family members know how to access a Text, or even what it means when they are notified of one. Teaching Mom how to read a text Message may save you a lot of grief some day. In my wife's case, it opened a whole new avenue of communications, and charges, for her. Remember, baby, no Texting & Driving!