The First Text Message Was Sent 25 Years Ago

Be prepared to feel ancient — the first text message is 25 years old. Engineer Neil Papworth sent the first SMS on December 3rd, 1992, when he wrote “merry Christmas” on a computer and sent it to the cellphone of Vodafone director Richard Jarvis. It was a modest start, but it ultimately changed technology and even social norms.

It took a long time for SMS to find widespread adoption, both because of the cellular networks themselves (coverage was far from ubiquitous in 1992) and phones whose buttons revolved around dialing rather than typing. But then the smartphone arrived. In the US alone, the volume of messages surged from 12.5 billion per month in 2006 to 45 billion a year later. By June 2017, there were 781 billion messages passing around in the country. Messaging was suddenly easy, and SMS was ready and waiting to take advantage of that newfound freedom.

There’s little doubt that texting has influenced communication in the years since. Where texting was once seen as a rarity or even rude, it’s frequently the first choice for communication — how often are you annoyed when someone calls you instead of sending a brief message?

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SOURCE: Engadget, Jon Fingas