NEW YORK: Texting remains the most popular communications method among US teens and many are now turning to Jott, a messaging app that does not require a data plan or wifi connection to operate.
According to TechCrunch, the app is currently adding up to 20,000 new users a day as younger high schoolers catch on to the possibilities of communicating with friends via a "mesh" network that can send messages between devices – including iPods or iPads – without a cell service as long as they are close enough to each other.
Co-founder Jared Allgood explained that not anyone can use the app. Rather, users within a closed network have to create an account in their own name, state their actual age and verify they attend a specific school in order to participate.
Users don't need to know someone else's phone number, but can simply look up a classmate through the closed system and begin chatting immediately, a factor that Allgood said was instrumental to the app's rapid growth.
"Middle schoolers really want to make new friends but need phone numbers, and they often don't have a data plan to text each other," he said. "Jott becomes the equivalent of passing notes in class but for the digital era."
And as privacy is a concern among teens, Jott – like Snapchat – also features messages that disappear in a set time period.
A recent Pew study found that teens do an awful lot of texting, with girls sending an average of 3,952 messages a month, whereas boys lagged behind on a mere 2,815.
TechCrunch argued one reason why Jott had taken off so quickly among younger teens is that they are less likely to have a smartphone than older teenagers. Similarly, not all of the former group possess a data plan or a way to access the web during school hours.
"While not everyone has a data plan, most kids have an iPod," Allgood noted.
The app is set to pick up even more users, as Allgood intends to use some of the proceeds of a recent funding round for a marketing campaign that will feature two stars from short-form video service Vine.
Data sourced from TechCrunch; additional content by Warc staff