It’s hard to believe that text messaging has been around for 20 years and I’m just getting the hang of it. It’s also interesting to learn that the cultural revolution which started with texting did not begin in  high-tech Silicon valley. It actually came from an office in Newbury, Southern England.

The message sent on December 3,1992, was “Merry Christmas” and not Merry Xmas, J Xmas, or  Happy Holidays. The sender was Neil Papworth who worked for a technology called Sema sent the message to a colleague at Vodafone UK during a staff Christmas party.

As part of a team, Papworth was developing a Short Message Service (SMS) Center for Vodafone UK relied on concepts developed in 1984 by Friedhelm Hillebrand of Germany and Bernard Ghillebaert of France.

Texting, however, did not catch on quickly. During the early years and long before Twitter, texting in 160 characters was used only by geeks and telephone engineers.  When text messaging across all networks became possible and pay-as-you-go mobile phones became available, SMS texts rocketed, finding their natural market in young people.

Between 2007 and 2010 the number of SMS sent globally tripled from 1.8 million in 2007 to 6.1 trillion in 2010. In 2011 SMS text remained the most popular app in 2011 with 8 trillion text messages sent, which reportedly shows 15 million text messages sent each minute.

To read the entire article including an interview with Neil Papworth, click on Discovery News.

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2 Comments on Happy 20th Birthday text messaging!

  1. LInda Gartz says:

    Another fascinating find. My husband told me last night – “Guess what? It’s the 20th anniversary of text messaging. Who knew?” I gloated. “I know. Sandy Arnone posted it on her blog.” A step ahead, Sandy!

  2. Sandy Arnone says:

    Linda, Thank you!!

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