Text Messages Turn 20-Years Old

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VIBE / December 3, 2012

It’s time for a special birthday celebration: the text message turns 20 years old today!

These days, texting seems as second nature in our everyday lives–sometimes we forget that it wasn’t always around. The first text message—which simply read “Merry Christmas”—was sent on December 3, 1992 to Vodafone director Richard Jarvis from software engineer Neil Papworth. Of course it wasn’t sent on anything like the slender iPhone 5; it was sent on an Orbital 901 handset.

However, interestingly enough, this is also the year text messages have come to a peak. Smartphones apps and services are slowing down the exponential rate of growth the SMS experienced for two decades. Blame it on chat systems like iMessage, GroupMe, BBM, and Facebook message. And Twitter, of course.