The Evolution of the Text Message

The Evolution of the Text Message

Continuous advances in communications technology have enabled us to send and receive digital images, audio messages, stream videos, and much more at a speed and volume that was unthinkable at the turn of the century. Despite the range of options available to us, statistics show that the written word (i.e. SMS/texts/chat) remains the modern user’s preferred method of communication. 

The Growth of the Text Message

On December 3rd, 1992, the very first text message was sent from Neil Papworth’s computer to Richard Jarvis’ mobile phone. It simply read “Merry Christmas.” Within a year, Nokia released the first commercially available mobile phone, which included text messaging as one of its options. In 1995, Americans sent an average of 0.4 texts per month; in 2011, that number grew to an incredible 357. Text messages outnumbered phone calls for the first time in 2007.

Texting Trumps Calling

Twenty years after Papworth’s text, the exchange of text-based messages has snowballed into a $585 billion industry. Today, texts are used for purposes beyond just personal communication, such as advertising campaigns, charitable donations, appointment reminders, and even identity theft alerts.

Text messaging remains the most popular mobile data service worldwide, with over 74% of all mobile phone subscribers actively using their carrier’s SMS (Short Message Service). That’s 2.4 billion people sending and receiving text messages on a regular basis. It’s no wonder then, that over 8 trillion texts were generated in 2011 alone - and that number is expected to grow as younger generations enter the world of smartphones and data plans and prices fall – look at iMessaging for example.  As a free service between iOS users, there is no financial constraint on the number of texts sent.

Take Control of Your Texting

Like most forms of modern communication, texting has evolved beyond its original limitations. You don’t need an SMS to send a text message - savvy users have their pick of online services, downloadable applications, and built-in options like iMessage on the iPhone. Online texting is huge - a variety of chat clients and mobile applications, such as Google Voice, Kik, and Boxcar, offer alternatives to a paid SMS. 

It’s difficult to imagine a world without modern advances in communication technology. Today, there exist endless possibilities for sending unlimited amounts of cheap and free text messages. Traditional SMS - as well as a myriad alternative texting options - make it possible to talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime.