Top 20 SMS facts to mark the 20th anniversary of the text message

THE Short Message System (SMS), as it is properly known, has revolutionised the way we communicate and now 15 million are delivered to our mobile telephone screens every minute of the day. SecurEnvoy invented tokenless authentication; using an SMS to send a passcode to authenticate the user. This great idea of pre-loading has been patented over ten years ago by the innovation company, SecurEnvoy, for commercial use.

Here are twenty other ways texting is being used in todays fast moving world ……………1 The idea for texting is said to have come from pagers, which were capable only of receiving numbers. Someone realised that if you turned certain numbers upside down, they looked like text. Hence 07734 became “hello”.



2 The UK holds the honour as the official birthplace of texting. On December 3, 1992 Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old software programmer from Reading, sent the very first message when he wished his friend Richard Jarvis of Vodafone: “Merry Christmas”. At the time mobile phones didn’t have keyboards so it was sent via personal computer.

3 Texting was initially envisaged as a way of allowing firms to send internal messages and was slow to catch on. UK mobile phone companies didn’t think people would want to type in a message when they could simply speak. The first text from a mobile was sent in 1993.

4 Texting took off in 1999, when it first became possible to text across rival mobile phone networks. Crucially the phones were also becoming affordable for teenagers. On New Year’s Day 2003, the number of text messages sent in one day topped 100 million for the first time. Now we send more than 7 trillion texts every year – that’s more than 200,000 a second. However recent figures show that texting may have peaked in the US where for the first time there’s been a fall in messages sent.

5 Texting is now the second most common use for a mobile phone. The first is for checking the time, prompting concerns that texting will spell the death of the wristwatch.

6 The Philippines is the most text-crazy nation in the world. The average Filipino sends 189 texts a week, compared to a mere 50 in the UK. However, the number of texts sent in the UK has doubled in the past four years. The French are Europe’s least enthusiastic texters, sending on average 20 per user each month.

7 Typically text messages are limited to 160 characters. The figure was chosen because studies showed that most postcards were about that length. The latest mobile phones allow up to 20 pages at a time to be sent.

8 In 2002 the Eurovision song contest introduced voting by text. It was the first time the system had been used in an event spanning an entire continent and is credited with breathing new life into the annual pop extravaganza.

9 According to estimates texting earns about £75billion a year for mobile phone companies. Among English-speaking adults around the world, 72 per cent send texts. The peak time for texting is between 10.30pm and 11pm.

10 In 2008 British surgeon David Nott performed a life-saving operation on a wounded teenager while volunteering in the Congo. He received step-by-step instructions on how to perform the surgery from a colleague via text message. The operation was successful.

11 Sending patients text reminders about doctors’ and dentists’ appointments could save the NHS up to £150million a year.

12 Melissa Thompson, 27, from Salford is the current Queen of Texts. In 2010 she took just 25.94 seconds to thumb: “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.” It’s the fastest time recorded for this sentence which is used as a measure of speed. Andrew Acklin, from Ohio, is credited with the world record for most text messages sent or received in a single month, with 200,052.

13 If new to texting note that vowels and punctuation marks (except !) are usually omitted and then you won’t go far wrong. Here are a few essential forms of textspeak: LOL, laugh out loud; 99, parent no longer watching; L8R, see you later; IMO, in my opinion; IDK, I don’t know; FF, friends for ever; ZZZ, bored; CUZ, because; AFAIR, as far as I can remember; SWYP, so what’s your problem? TIME, tears in my eyes; XOXO, hugs and kisses; OMG, oh my God.

14 A survey by SecurEnvoy reveals that texting is now so popular that more than half of us would rather send a friend an SMS message than speak to them. Among 25 to 35-year-olds, just one in 10 would prefer to meet face-to-face. Earlier this year texting overtook speaking as the most popular form of communication by mobile telephone.

15 Men communicate via text more than women but send shorter messages and are more likely to text about practical matters rather than relationships. Text messages are usually read within 15 minutes of being received and responded to within one hour.

16 Chance Bothe, 21, of Texas texted a friend while driving home from college: “I need to quit texting because I could die in a car accident and then how would you feel?” Seconds later her pickup veered off a bridge and dropped 35ft down a ravine. She survived and now campaigns against texting and driving which is blamed for 200,000 crashes a year in the US.

17 Texting is often derided as harming language skills and a 2007 study blamed rising teenage illiteracy levels in Ireland on the habit. But conversely several studies appear to show that “talking with your fingers” can help children to develop their language proficiency and is coupled with a strong grasp of grammar and phonetics.

18 Repeated messaging has led to the discovery of a new medical condition, called texting tenosynovitis. It results in inflamed tendons of the thumb and has also been nicknamed BlackBerry thumb.

According to a study at the University of Queensland, in Australia, text messaging can be as addictive as smoking.

19 Tony Blair became the first prime minister to use text messages to answer questions from voters – in November 2004. The recent Leveson Inquiry heard from former newspaper editor Rebekah Brooks that David Cameron signed off his messages LOL (laugh out loud), mistakenly thinking it meant Lots of Love.

20 According to one study 11 per cent of under-25s have sent a text while having sex. One in four people has admitted sending texts while at a wedding or funeral.






Category: Industry News

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