Happy 25th birthday, text messaging!

JC Torres - Dec 3, 2017
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Happy 25th birthday, text messaging!

There are just some inventions that are so disruptive and so pioneering that it changed history forever. Inventions like the wheel, electricity, the Internet, and, of course, text messaging. Nowadays, most markets take for granted this almost ancient way of communicating with text using mobile phones, but the first text message, which was sent 25 years ago to date, started the ball rolling that would influence many of the trends we also take for granted today.

No, text messaging wasn’t the precursor to instant messaging, but the IM of today is quite different from yesteryear’s system and takes more after SMS, short for “short messaging service” than the likes of Yahoo! Messenger, AOL, and the like. And no, “AOL Speak” was already in existence before text messaging, but the constraints of SMS made it even more ubiquitous outside of AOL. Curious fact: the first SMS sent, “Merry Christmas” was actually spelled fully and correctly.

Text messaging didn’t explode overnight. It’s adoption, at first, was gradual and even today some markets, surprisingly like the US, sort of missed out on the trend. SMS, however, eventually became one of the biggest factors in the increased adoption of mobile phones.

SMS allowed for a sometimes quicker means of communication when voice calls weren’t possible or Internet-based messaging wasn’t economical. In some markets, the price of text messaging was downright cheap that users preferred to just send a long chain of messages rather than make a single phone call. In the US, however, it was the other way around, which is why text messaging didn’t get a foothold early on.

That said, text messaging is almost pretty much dead, only remembered when Wi-Fi and cellular data fail in the direst of situations. It has, however, pretty much changed the way future generations expected communication to work, and has, unfortunately, also changed the way we spell. If you have ever wondered why Twitter had a seemingly arbitrary 140-character limit, you have SMS to thank/curse for that, too. Sadly, that legacy is now also dead.

SOURCE: Sky News


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