Did You Know: The First Text Message Was Actually Sent 20 Years Ago
On this date 20 years ago — Dec. 3, 1992 — the first short messaging service, more commonly known as the text message, was born. Although still the most popular form of text-based messaging, other services that update social media or chat methods are beginning to take center stage.
After British engineer Neil Papworth sent the first text at age 22, the new method of communication would not only change the way mobile phones were designed, but also shift how an entire generation preferred to communicate. Among teens, texting is on the rise whereas traditional phone talking is down. The median number of texts sent per day among teens is 60.
But texting in and of itself is changing. According to a recent report by the New York Times Bits blog, traditional texting has declined in the United States and around the world as users opt for services that won’t charge them to send messages to their contacts:
Instead of sending traditional text messages, cellphone owners are shifting toward Internet-based messaging services, like Apple’s iMessage, Facebook messaging and WhatsApp, [independent mobile analyst Chetan] Sharma says. These services are popular because they don’t charge per text; they are gradually redefining what we think of as text messaging.
According to a report by the Pew Research Center, 85 percent of Americans now own a cellphone. In addition to simply using the phone to talk, Pew found that a significant number of people use them to complete many other tasks as well. Here’s a look at some of those:
In case you’re wondering what the first text message said, it was “Merry Christmas,” according to Papworth’s website. The message was typed on a PC — mobile phones didn’t have keyboards at the time — and was received by Vodafone executive Richard Jarvis’ mobile phone while he was at an office holiday party.
“Initially the idea was for them to use it essentially as a paging service — no one had any idea how gigantic the texting phenomenon would become,” Papworth wrote on his website.
Featured image via Shutterstock.com.
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