Eighteen years ago in December, the first text message was sent. The text said simply “Merry Christmas” and was sent by Neil Papworth to Richard Jarvis using the Vodafone UK network on the 3rd of December 1992. Since then, SMS messages have become an important part of the mobile phone technology. While initially not many people were texting (only 0.4 messages per person per month in 1995) this system became incredibly popular. Nowadays, there are 140 text messages send per person per month in the UK. While in 2008, the total number of SMS messages send in the world was 4.1 trillion.
In the beginnings, SMS messages were mainly used by operators for network notifications. However, now we text for various reasons: to send wishes, get a piece of information, take part in TV voting or simply to chat. Why we don’t call instead? SMS messages are much more convenient, cheaper and more informal than a phone call. We sometimes do it just because we are bored and texting is less intrusive than calling.
However, SMS messages have their disadvantages. The length of a text message is limited to 160 characters and an SMS message can be hacked. It means that someone can impersonate others’ phone numbers and send texts to deceive mobile phone users. Some people claim that texting is not safe because mobile operators may have access to messages and manipulate their content, but it has not been proofed yet.