Merry Christmas to SMS text turns 25 glorious years of existence spawning off mind boggling innovation in digital communication
Back in the 90’s and close on the heels of the arrival of email, we got something else which took the world by storm and was one of the harbingers of digital communication era – SMS! The three-letter word which expands to ‘Short Messaging Service’, gave us all, the 160-character limit to transform the way we the humans communicated. SMS was also the fountain head of whatapps, instagram and what not as they basically evolved from the idea of SMS. And this month, SMS completed its glorious 25 years of its existence!
In 1992 (four years prior to my birthday), the very first text message – dubbed ‘Merry Christmas’ – was generated via a computer to a mobile phone. However, the inception of a text message took place way before in 1984, all thanks to digital engineers like Matti Makkonen, Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert, who developed the 160 character protocol, and to Nokia, who created the first text message-enabled cellphone. While the initial response was not-so-impressive (given the need for an approval from the then-popular and now-dead GSM standards), it eventually got merrier for the SMS, becoming an integral part of any mobile phone owner.
Current Relevance: Back to 2017, texting (a daily chore we can’t do without) involves 15,220,700 sent texts every minute globally, and are read just under five seconds (that’s quick!).
As it grew older, the world saw introductions of various pieces of tech, further enhancing what a text message could. With the dawn of the internet, we have seen not just improvements in a text message alone (GIFs, Emoticons- we send them all), but evolving forms of a message came into being. The famous one till date (to start with) WhatsApp, iMessage, WeChat, Indian messaging app Hike, and many more in the list, have actually contributed into having a toll over what was a source of conversing when in class, back then.
While we love the ability to actually see when your ‘bae’ last used WhatsApp, or when you can actually type in thesis to an argument, or can (with great ease) attach all sorts of media to your conversations, and can now post the newest 24-hour long Statuses/Stories, the memory of an SMS pack clubbed with the short-heighted single message, and the SMS slang we all learnt, just can’t fade away.
Till day, a text message, although is more of a veteran in the world of technology, has still a vital role to play in places (we Indians know it all) where access to internet or a decent internet connection is still a struggle. (At least we can still tell our whereabouts in the absence of Airtel!).
What future a text message holds is anybody’s guess; we still use a text be it on the conventional messaging platform or WhatsApp. Till you find a reply, just DM!