Why has the BlackBerry Messenger become the communication device of choice for British teenagers?

Everyone in Edmonton Enfield Wood Green everywhere in north link up at Enfield Town station at 4 o'clock sharp," was one message passed around by BlackBerry messenger users in north London on Sunday. So why has the mobile of the city professional become the communication device of choice for British teenagers? And which communication devices are being used by other demographics? And why?

BLACKBERRY

BlackBerrys were the mid-noughties phone of choice for high-flying businessmen and politicos, because they were one of the first handsets that would allow users reliable email.

Fast forward to 2011 and the demographic has changed dramatically. According to a recent ICM report, the archetypal BlackBerry user is now between 18 and 24-years old and earns between £15,000 and 30,000.

"The change can be put down to two things," says Patrik Kärrberg of the LSE's communication group, "Firstly, an increasing awareness that the BBM service is free, instantaneous and largely untraceable when you have other users BBM pins. And, secondly, the handsets price point. You can get a phone for free on a £10-20 contract or buy a basic Blackberry handset for £100 – so it's well within the reach of lots of teenagers."

PAY PHONES

Once the primary way to make calls when on the move, the British public has dramatically fallen out of love with the pay phone.

With more mobile phones in use in the UK than people – some 70 million handsets, which are used by 91 per cent of the population – the familiar red boxes (or more likely glass boxes) are largely unused and often in a state of disrepair.

As far back as 2003, BT reported that 70 per cent of its boxes lost money and several thousand had already been removed from operation. Their lowly status inow sees them primarily portrayed as devices for criminals in TV shows like like The Wire.

LANDLINES

"If a conversation's worth having, use your landline," ran the strapline of a BT advert from 2009. The message would have seemed obtuse 15 years earlier – but with the rise of the mobile phone and more people living in rented accommodation, fewer and fewer people choose to get one.

Around 15 per cent of UK households don't and further falls are expected in coming years.

VIBER

Like Skype, Viber is part of the Voip (voice over internet protocol) family of technologies. These allow users to make free calls using the internet, rather than a phone line. But where Skype is intended for use on a home computer, Viber is a smartphone application that can be downloaded for free.

The application functions anywhere in the world where there is a Wi-Fi connection. And its flexible, cost-free format has seen it become popular for travellers who use it to avoid expensive long-distance phone charges when calling home.

TWITTER

The micro-blogging service has frequently been described as a mouthpiece and barometer of middle-class, liberal opinion. It was also provided an online organising point for this wheel's post-riot clean-up movement, in which users co-ordinated post-riot repairs this week.

Its 140-character form and its declarative, rather than conversational, nature has seen it attract users who typically have a university education (76 per cent of users), are aged 26 to 34-years old and earn between £26,000 and £52,000, according to the tech specialist Digital Surgeons.

Suggested Topics
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
film
Sport
football
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
A photograph taken by David Redferm of Sonny Rollins
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    ***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

    £30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    ***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

    £35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Senior Software Engineer - C#, VB.Net, ASP.Net - Kingston, Sur

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior Software Engineer - C#, VB.N...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker