SMS (Text Messaging) Celebrates 18!

If you know someone turning 18 years old Today, you can say “Happy Birthday,” because they’re just as old as the first Text Message. Though there are a few rival claims to being the first, on June 7, 1993, Wireless Engineer Brennan Hayden sent what many consider the first commercial SMS text, profoundly declaring: “Burp.”

Perhaps it was a fitting birth to a messaging method that has grown exponentially into both a de-facto language for a generation and a scapegoat for the shallowing of human culture. It also brought forth sexting, texting-while-driving and the term “OMG.”

Text Messaging was flourishing in Europe, partly because Internet access was so expensive there compared to the United States, which had AOL and Prodigy. Companies here hadn’t worked out even the basics of who would do what tasks with SMS, and who would pay whom. The Text Message truly took-off with the birth of QWERTY Phones with micro alphabet keyboards.

The dark side of the text emerged as more states banned texting while driving, and in 2008 a train collision that killed 25 passengers was blamed in part on an engineer who was texting before the crash. Michael Jackson’s death in 2009 generated four million texts a minute, and the novel text-to-donate system came to be, and generated millions for Haiti relief.

Now, the text message has myriads of personalities: Recipes in 160 characters, the regret-filled TFLN (Texts From Last Night,) the MMS that adds video and photos, sexting, texting-while-driving, live Tweeting during childbirth, and just this month, “Weiner-gate” now ensnaring a member of Congress in controversy over a lewd image sent through Twitter.

And, in case you thought texting was the domain of the young and smart, think again. As of last December, The Pew Research Center found 72 percent of U.S. adult cellphone users send and receive text messages, and text messages are standard evidence in divorce trials.

Some Handy Texting-Terms:

  • LOL – Laugh Out Loud
  • ICYMI – In case you missed it.
  • IMHO – In my humble/honest opinion.
  • ROFL – Rolling on the floor laughing.
  • LMAO – Laughing my (expletive) off.
  • BFN – Bye for now.
  • BRB – Be right back.
  • NSFW – Not suitable for work.
  • GTG – Got to go.
  • FTW – For the win!
  • IKR – I know, right.
  • L8R – Later, as in goodbye.


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