Twenty-two years ago no one knew a simple season’s greetings text to a friend would turn SMS into the world’s most common form of communication. With the unprecedented popularity of Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp and Mxit, texting has become one of the greatest inventions of our time.
The world’s first text message was sent out on 03 December 1992 by Neil Papworth, a software programmer from Reading.
Initially the idea was for Papworth to develop an in-house Short Messaging Service Centre for staff at Vodafone’s site in Newbury, Berkshire.
It took 7 years for text messaging to take off.
Mobile phone companies in the United Kingdom were convinced that people would still prefer face-to-face contact as opposed to typing a message. The phenomenon became popular in 1999 when rival networks started allowing customers to exchange SMS while also introducing pay-as-you-go.
Whatsapp is the biggest competition in the SMS arena.
Owing to Whatsapp’s major success is the mobile messaging app’s free text messages. While many large mobile operators still charge fees for a set amount of text messages, Whatsapp charges close to nothing for their messaging service.
Men use text messaging more than women.
While women use SMS to send long messages and discuss their relationship issues, men see the messaging service as a functional way of communicating. As such, they use SMS to send short text messages.
Texting is the second most common use for a phone.
The first being checking the time.
Text messaging is in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Sonja Kristiansen of Norway broke the fastest text message when she wrote: “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality, they seldom attack a human,” in just 37.28 seconds. The record was previously held by 24 year old Scot Craig Crosbie, who typed the same message in 48 seconds.