Twenty years ago the first text message was sent; I know, that seems difficult to believe, seeing as how 20 years ago most adults were talking into cell phones that were the size of a trucker’s work boots. But it’s true; twenty years ago someone somewhere decided it would be easier to send a written message rather than call on the phone. More likely than not, it was someone who was trying to avoid talking to a significant other or that one annoying friend we all have who doesn’t know when a conversation is over.
Text Messaging Pioneers
In all actuality, the first text message was sent over in the United Kingdom by Neil Papworth, an engineer, who sent those first history-making words “Merry Christmas.” The young man was only 22-years-old and had been working on the concept of text messaging for Vodafone, a European cellular carrier. At the time, Papworth sent the message in a test to one of the computer phones in his office setting, and little did he know what was about to follow.
It should be noted, however, that it was not Papworth who invented the text message. The real credit goes to Matti Makkonen, a Finnish engineer, who started developing the technology back in 1984. But, even though text messaging hit more than 184.3 billion texts during most of 2012, experts say the day of the text message is almost over. Now, smartphones have brought back emailing and new forms of messaging such as iMessage. Instant messaging is also coming back full-force. Does anyone remember their old AIM name?
Why is texting declining?
Why is texting declining? Experts say it is because the technology can’t evolve, and without evolution to keep all the techies happy, people lose interest quickly. It is the same with all social media; Facebook is the new Myspaces, and something else will come along and replace Facebook. Technology and media companies know this, and this is why they all fight tooth and nail to remain fresh and interesting. Granted, there isn’t too much more that can be done in the way of text messaging; the entire process already takes as much as time as it would to actually call someone and tell them voice-to-voice.
But texters don’t want to talk about their secret addiction (and that’s really all it is). Why else would you chose to have an entire conversation with someone through texting when you could easily cover the same topic in half the time while actually talking. No, texters are a different breed. They have super strong thumbs and can type an entire dissertation in less than 160 characters. These people are not to be trifled with, which is one reason the text will never go away completely. The word-y form of conversation is 20 years old—that’s older than most of the people using it.