A Concise History of Texting

>> Thursday, August 29, 2013

If you’re under or around the legal drinking age, you probably can’t remember a time when there wasn’t texting. An older crowd remembers calling parents from a pay phone to ask for a ride home, and we can all be grateful that those days are over. As it turns out, texting itself just turned 20, and while many young adults are just gaining their true sense of identity, this incredible technology – you can click here for text marketing services that can boost your business’s presence – has already hit its stride. Here is a concise history of our favorite way to communicate. 

The First Text Message 
SMS – short message service or TMS – text message service – first came about when the 22-year-old Neil Papworth sent “Merry Christmas” via his computer to the phone of Richard Jarvis, on December 3, 1992. Not for another five years, however, would there be a cell phone on the market that enabled every day people – outside of the technology field – to send each other messages. 

Nokia Gives Texting to the People 
In 1993 Nokia introduced their portable cellular telephones with texting capability, but it did not catch on right away in America. In fact, two years later the average number of text messages sent by Americans was only 0.4 per month. Still, growth in cell phone technology in general – like allowing individuals on different carriers to message each other – meant that by the end of the decade American sent a little less than 40 messages per month on average. 

Texting Overtakes Calling 
Just seven short years later, texting became more popular than phone calls for the very first time, which in turn has led to such phenomena as micro blogging (via Twitter and Tumblr), text speak (“LOL” was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2011) and billions of dollars of profits for text operators – with trillions projected in the next decade. It should come as no surprise that something as intuitive as texting has become a primary form of communication around the globe, despite its rather humble beginnings.


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