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Spotlight: The queen of texting

BY KACIE KROMINGA | FEBRUARY 03, 2010 7:30 AM

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It doesn’t seem anything can stop Jamie Civitate from texting.

Tapping the keys at the dinner table receives reprimands from her parents. Sending 160-character messages at school once got her phone confiscated, leading the UI sophomore to steal into the office to snatch her SIM card back. She’s seen at least a couple bills from cell-phone companies distorted with overage fees. It still doesn’t halt her.

Good thing, too, because she likely wouldn’t have the $10,000 she won for her artful and expert text abilities if not for her years of practice.

“I think I’m addicted to my phone,” Civitate said and laughed, her iPhone resting nearby — on hand to check periodically.

She took first place in U.S. Cellular’s Speed Text Tournament after she scored the most points for accurately and speedily texting 10 28-character messages.

At the Iowa State Fair for her annual family outing, she typically gravitates to the usual attractions. But this past summer, she noticed the texting competition and entered.

“You’ve seen cows, you’ve seen horses,” Civitate said. “This was something new, so I decided to try.”

The contest required her to abandon her iPhone for the Motorola Q and its QWERTY keyboard. But it clearly didn’t cause any setbacks.

The 20-year-old stuck around that day for four or five hours, working toward a first-place finish for that day’s batch of contestants.

That didn’t get her the $10,000 win right away, though. The competition continued for participants in other areas — approximately 17,000 people participated across the Midwest. But no one could top Civitate’s record.

UI sophomore Lizzie Tillinghast was one of the first people Civitate notified.

“I was kind of skeptical,” Tillinghast said. “But I believed it. She texts all the time.”

Civitate’s 22-year-old brother, Chris Civitate — who won $500 for his fifth-place position in the tournament — said the two have always had a bit of a competitive nature. Still, he wasn’t upset she beat him.

So what can $10,000 get for Jamie Civitate?

Well, she’s used her winnings to buy Christmas gifts for the family, a Macbook Pro for herself, and some books for school. She also said she used the money to get her car fixed and pay off some debts. She has to use all the money by March.

The record for most texts in one month, according to Mobile Magazine, went to Deepak Sharma of Ludhiana, India, who once reportedly sent 182,689 texts.

Civitate’s record? She guesses the maximum number of texts she’s ever sent off in one month was about 10,000, roughly 300 a day.


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