Yesterday was officially the 25th birthday of the text message! When you consider how far mobiles have come in 25 years; it’s easy to imagine what a groundbreaking moment this was in phone history.
The first text was surprisingly seasonal, reading ‘Merry Christmas’. Since the first message, there has been an unquantifiable number of messages sent. If you’d like an estimate, there are over 96 million text messages every single day in the UK.
Text messages were originally called SMS, which stands for short message service. Interestingly though handsets/mobiles could only receive SMS but couldn’t send them, much like the ‘beeper’ you see in old hospital programs. The original SMS was therefore sent via a computer by programmer Neil Papworth.
It wasn’t until 1993 we began sending messages by phone; in 2012 before the rise of WhatsApp, BBM (blackberry messenger) and iMessage, there were around 151 billion text messages sent.
When SMS were first used in the UK, it was seen as a way to communicate without demanding immediate attention; a phone call requires the receiver to stop what they are doing and respond to the caller. A text message stays around until the receiver is able to give it the attention it may need.
Over time, as we’ve grown accustomed to messages, emails and any other form of communication our lives have become far more accessible. As our messages have become far more digital the need for immediate attention has grown once more; take read receipts, for example, we’re all mildly offended when someone reads a message and doesn’t reply.
Text messages aren’t dying out just yet; in some areas of the UK, there is very low phone signal meaning texts are often the only way to communicate via phone.
Elsewhere in the less rural areas of the UK, we’re already experiencing a shift from the text message 25 years on; predominantly services such as Watsapp are used but alternatives as they are totally free, rather than a cost per message.
It’s easy to wonder what’s next when it comes to the Mobile Phone, voice notes; moving talking emojis and facetime have all changed mobiles and the way we use them today.
We predict that the future may hold a more personalised way of messaging, holograms, video notes and voice notes. Considering how far the phone has come in 25 years it’s anybody’s guess.