Wat did we eva do b4 txts?
On the 3rd December 1992, two little words were sent from a computer to a mobile phone by computer engineer Neil Papworth. His message just read "Merry Christmas", but it was the beginning of a revolution. The SMS text message was born, and our lives were changed for ever.
Here at the Oakeley Arms, we got to thinking about life before the text message, and before the mobile phone. When the only way to get hold of someone was on the landline; when the only way to meet up with someone and not thoroughly annoy them was to turn up on time; when each outing in the car was a breakdown roulette and when befuddling text speak wasn't even dreamt of.
That very first text message was the culmination of years of work, design and invention, across the world. Finnish civil servant Matti Makkonen is often crowned as the "father of SMS" when he first thought of the idea in 1984, but of course, alphanumeric messages have been sent over radiowaves as far back as 1920 when the "Telex" service was used to communicate across the Atlantic.
Today, texting is one of the primary ways of communication for much of the world. Last year in Britain, nearly 40 billion text messages were sent. The average Brit sends 50 texts in a week, and its an industry that generates over £70billion a year!
The humble SMS has given rise to many modern phenomena such as "sexting" (self-explanatory?), the so called "Blackberry thumb" (a form of repetitive strain injury caused by too much texting!), using texts to bully or intimidate as well as a whole new language. It even caused a change in the law a few years ago when texting whilst driving was deemed dangerous and distracting, so it is now illegal.
But, with smartphones and mobile internet fast becoming the future of mobile technology, the ways in which people communicate are changing quickly, with a sharp rise in messages being sent via facebook, twitter and other social media networks.
But, for now, the text message is here to stay. Send one to a loved one to celebrate!
Happy 20th birthday text messages!
image by BuzzyBee on sxc.hu