• TheDMonline.com Staff Member?
  • Log In
Share |

The text message celebrates 20th birthday

It’s time to say happy 20th birthday to someone special to all of us: text messaging. This year text messaging will celebrate its 20th birthday, and everyone is invited.
The first text message was sent at a Vodaphone Christmas party in 1992 from a computer to an Orbitel 901 handset, and it said “Merry Christmas,” according to urban legend.
But with age comes responsibility.
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about enacting a nationwide texting-while-driving ban. Currently, 37 states have fully banned it while only seven have no restrictions. Mississippi doesn’t allow bus drivers or anyone with a learner’s or intermediate permit to text while driving.
Even though texting while driving can be dangerous, no one likes to be stopped at a red light unless they are texting,” economics freshman Eldy Dawson said. “I love texting!”
What can’t cell phones do these days anyway? Ten years ago, that would have been a lot easier to answer. It is a major method of communication. Text messaging has never looked better than on its 20th birthday. With all the advancements in messaging and cell phones in the past decade, one can’t help but wonder, “What’s next?”
If you look at text messaging’s genealogy, the technology was fathered by Friedham Hilledbrand, a German engineer, and grew into the SMS (short message service) message with the help of Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen. Neither of the men patented the technology, so they never ended up profiting from their developments.
Though the technology has remained the same, texting has come a long way since these humble beginnings. In 2010, there were more than seven trillion text messages sent worldwide — a number that translates to 193,000 SMS messages per second. Of the under-21 crowd, 71 percent prefers texting over talking on the phone, according to one poll.
Students can look at the evolution of their own cell phone and see how companies are catering more and more to text messaging.
Nokia was the foremost cellular company that promoted SMS messaging services, including the first handheld with SMS capabilities. It also pioneered predictive text with the Nokia 3210, a phone that many current college students had as a first phone. This phone was equipped with Snake and the predictive T9 messaging.
When asked about their first phone, freshmen students Courtney Jackson, Lucy Edwards, D.J. Joiner and Kandice Mayes all expressed similar sentiment.
Jackson said her Nokia was “ancient, unbreakable like a rock. You could throw it, and it would never break.”
“Nowadays you have to take care of your phone and clean it,” Joiner added. “If you drop it, it’s dead. And instead of Angry Birds there was Snake. What a classic!”
The next most popular phone was the Motorola RAZR. No complaints about it as a phone. It took SMS messaging, taking pictures and listening to music to the next level.
The RAZR was a first step in making phones how they are today.
All smartphones now have a predictive text-autocorrect fusion built into the phone, and some even have voice-to-text options. Look at MMS messaging where pictures and files can be sent from one phone to another in a matter of seconds. The impact text messaging has had on everyday life is astounding.
“I definitely can’t live without it,” said iPhone owner and elementary education freshman Alli Rhodes. “It’s how I use Facebook and Twitter. It’s my alarm clock and my homework; my everything.”