There are also cultural reasons for the spread of text-messaging elsewhere. The Chinese language is particularly well-suited to the telephone keypad, because in Mandarin the names of the numbers are also close to the sounds of certain words; to say "I love you," for example, all you have to do is press 520. (For "drop dead," it's 748.) In China, moreover, many people believe that to leave voice mail is rude, and it's a loss of face to make a call to someone important and have it answered by an underling. Text messages preserve everyone's dignity by eliminating the human voice.
This may be the universal attraction of text-messaging, in fact: it's a kind of avoidance mechanism that preserves the feeling of communication - the immediacy - without, for the most part, the burden of actual intimacy or substance. [...]
By 2 a.m., I was even more tired - especially tired of having only one hand available for typing long passages of text on the computer - and I ended up taking audio notes, something I'd never done before. I have a little lisp, and I speak Russian with a trace of what sounds like Moscow accent. I suffered through a radio class at the University of Iowa back in 1997, so I was aware of the lisp, and of the accent I have in English, but it was still quite a revelation to hear myself like this again, after all these years and in Russian. On the recordings, I'm interrupted by Marta's screams every now and then, and she also sneezes twice at some point, and I tell her 'bud' zdorova, koshechka.'