Happy 20th birthday, Text Messages! 20 years ago today on 3 December 1992, the first ever text message was sent, kickstarting a communication revolution that gave way to its own condensed form of “TXT Speak” language and a few years down the line, internet phenomenon Twitter.
22-year-old British engineer Neil Papworth sent the first ever text message, using his computer to send the message “Merry Christmas” to an Orbitel 901 mobile phone.
And, as of 2011, more than 150 billion text messages are sent in the UK alone each year, tripling since 2006′s 51 billion messages. That’s an average of roughly 50 text messages per week, per mobile phone user.
To that end, text messages are now recognised as the most popular way of communicating with pals, with Ofcom’s Communications Market Report for 2012 revealing 90% of 16-24 year-olds texting on a daily basis. By comparison, phone calls are far less popular among younger folk, with 67% making mobile phone calls on a daily basis, and only 63% meeting up for a regular face-to-face chat.
However, internet-based messaging services are soon expected to eclipse standard SMS messaging services, with the rise of IM clients click Facebook Message, iMessage and BBM growing in popularity as smartphone sales surge.