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Everything about text messages – from early starts to today

Text messages, also known as SMS (Short Message Service), are a form of communication that has become ubiquitous in modern society. They are a quick and convenient way to send and receive messages and have become an essential tool in both personal and professional communication. In this article, we will take a look at the history of text messages, their evolution over time, and some of the important statistics related to their use.

A Brief History of Text Messages

The history of text messages can be traced back to the early 1980s, when a Finnish engineer named Matti Makkonen first proposed the idea of sending short messages via mobile phones. Makkonen was not a fan of the term “SMS” and preferred to call the service “short message exchange” instead.

It wasn’t until the late 1990s that SMS technology became widely available to the general public. The first SMS message was sent on December 3, 1992, by British engineer Neil Papworth, who sent the message “Merry Christmas” to a colleague’s phone.

Initially, SMS was seen as a secondary feature of mobile phones, with voice calls being the primary function. However, as the technology improved and mobile phones became more ubiquitous, SMS became increasingly popular. Today, it is estimated that over 20 billion text messages are sent every day.

Evolution of Text Messages

Text messages have come a long way since the early days of SMS. The introduction of smartphones and mobile apps has transformed the way people communicate with each other. Messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage have become popular alternatives to traditional SMS.

One of the biggest changes in the world of text messaging has been the introduction of emojis. Emojis are small icons that can be used to convey emotions or add context to messages. They have become an important part of modern communication, with over 5 billion emojis being sent daily on Facebook Messenger alone.

Another recent development in the world of text messaging has been the introduction of chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that can simulate human conversation. They are used by companies to provide customer service, answer questions, and handle other tasks. The use of chatbots is expected to grow in the coming years, with an estimated 85% of customer interactions expected to be handled by chatbots by 2022.

Important Statistics

Text messaging has become an important part of modern communication, and there are some important statistics that highlight its significance. Here are a few of them:

  • The average person sends and receives around 94 text messages per day.
  • Over 93% of text messages are read within three minutes of being received.
  • Text messaging is the most used feature on mobile phones, with 97% of smartphone users using it regularly.
  • Over 50% of consumers prefer to receive customer support through text messaging.
  • Using emojis in text messages can increase open rates by 75%.

Interesting SMS facts

Most people send and receive text messages on a daily basis, and it is hard to imagine life without this convenient means of staying in touch with friends, family, and colleagues. However, there are many exciting facts about text messages that you may not be aware of.

1. The First Text Message Was Sent in 1992

The first text message was sent in 1992 by a 22-year-old engineer named Neil Papworth. The message was sent from a computer to a mobile phone, and it simply read “Merry Christmas.” This marked the beginning of a new era of communication that would eventually become an integral part of modern society.

2. The Most Common Text Message is “LOL”

According to a study by AT&T, the most common text message sent by Americans is “LOL.” This stands for “laugh out loud” and is often used to indicate that something is funny or amusing. Other popular text message abbreviations include “OMG” (oh my god), “TTYL” (talk to you later), and “BRB” (be right back).

3. Text Messaging is More Popular Than Phone Calls

In 2018, a survey by Gallup found that Americans were sending and receiving more text messages than phone calls. The survey found that the average American sends and receives 32 text messages per day, compared to just ten phone calls.

4. Text Messaging is the Preferred Communication Method for Millennials

According to a study by OpenMarket, 75% of millennials prefer to communicate via text message rather than voice calls. This is likely due to the convenience and speed of text messaging, as well as the ability to communicate without interrupting other activities.

5. Text Messaging is Used for Business Communication

While text messaging is often associated with personal communication, it is also used for business communication. According to a study by Zipwhip, 64% of consumers have sent or received a text message from a business, and 85% of consumers said they would prefer to receive a text message from a business over a phone call or email.

6. Text Messaging is More Popular Than Social Media

According to a study by Pew Research Center, text messaging is more popular than social media among smartphone users. The study found that 97% of smartphone owners use text messaging, compared to 69% who use social media.

7. Text Messaging is Used for Emergency Communication

Text messaging has become an important tool for emergency communication. During natural disasters, power outages, and other emergencies, text messaging can be a reliable means of communication when phone lines are overloaded or down.

Text messages in E-commerce

In recent years, SMS messaging has become an increasingly popular communication channel for ecommerce businesses.  This can be a powerful tool for e-commerce businesses looking to improve their customer engagement and increase sales.

1. Increased Engagement

SMS messaging can be a powerful tool for increasing customer engagement. Studies show that SMS messages have a 98% open rate, compared to email, which has an average open rate of 20%. This means that SMS messages are much more likely to be read by customers than emails. This can be especially important for e-commerce businesses looking to promote their products and services to customers.

2. Increased Sales

SMS messaging can also be a powerful tool for increasing sales. By sending targeted messages to customers, e-commerce businesses can promote their products and services in a way that is relevant and engaging. For example, businesses can send SMS messages promoting sales or special offers, or remind customers of items left in their shopping carts. Studies show that SMS messaging can lead to a 14% increase in sales conversion rates.

3. Improved Customer Service

SMS messaging can also be used to improve customer service. E-commerce businesses can use SMS to send order confirmation messages, shipping notifications, and other updates to customers. This can help to improve customer satisfaction and reduce the number of customer inquiries and complaints.

4. Cost-Effective

SMS messaging is a cost-effective way for ecommerce businesses to communicate with their customers. SMS messages are typically less expensive than other forms of advertising and promotion, such as TV or radio ads, and can be more targeted and effective. This means that e-commerce businesses can reach their customers with targeted messages without breaking the bank.

5. Convenience

SMS messaging is also a convenient way for customers to interact with e-commerce businesses. Customers can easily opt-in to receive SMS messages and can reply to messages to ask questions or place orders. This can be especially important for mobile shoppers, who may prefer to interact with e-commerce businesses via their mobile devices.


Text messaging has become a popular means of communication in modern society, but different types of messages can be sent through mobile devices. Two of the most common types of messages are SMS and MMS. While they may seem similar on the surface, there are key differences between the two.

SMS: Short Message Service

SMS stands for Short Message Service, and it is the original form of text messaging. SMS messages are limited to 160 characters or less, and they can only contain text. This means that they cannot include images, videos, or other types of multimedia content.

SMS messages are sent and received through cellular networks. They are delivered quickly and reliably, and they are often used for personal communication, as well as for marketing and other business purposes.

MMS: Multimedia Messaging Service

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service, and it is a more advanced form of messaging that allows users to send and receive multimedia content, such as images, videos, and audio files. Unlike SMS, which is limited to 160 characters, MMS messages can be much longer, and they can include up to 1,600 characters of text, as well as multimedia content.

MMS messages are also sent and received through cellular networks, but they require a more robust connection than SMS messages due to the larger amount of data that is being transmitted. MMS messages are often used for sharing photos and videos with friends and family, as well as for marketing and advertising purposes.

Differences between SMS and MMS

While both SMS and MMS are forms of mobile messaging, there are several key differences between the two:

Content: SMS messages are limited to text, while MMS messages can include multimedia content, such as photos, videos, and audio files.

Length: SMS messages are limited to 160 characters, while MMS messages can be much longer and can include up to 1,600 characters of text.

Delivery: SMS messages are delivered quickly and reliably, while MMS messages require a stronger connection and may take longer to send and receive.

Cost: SMS messages are generally cheaper than MMS messages, as they require less data to send and receive.

Compatibility: While most smartphones are capable of sending and receiving both SMS and MMS messages, some older devices may only support SMS.

When to Use SMS vs. MMS

The decision to use SMS or MMS will depend on the content and purpose of the message. Here are a few situations where one might be more appropriate than the other:


  • Short messages that do not require multimedia content, such as text messages or notifications.
  • Business communications, such as appointment reminders or customer service messages.
  • Group messages that do not require multimedia content.


  • Sharing photos or videos with friends and family.
  • Advertising and marketing campaigns that require multimedia content.
  • Business communications that require multimedia content, such as product demos or training videos.


Text messaging has undergone a remarkable evolution since the early days of SMS. From a simple means of communication, it has become an integral part of modern communication, with billions of messages being sent daily across the globe. As a communication medium, text messaging has continued to evolve, and it’s expected to do so even more in the future.

One of the most significant factors contributing to the evolution of text messaging is the rise of smartphone technology. Smartphones have completely transformed the way we communicate with each other, and text messaging has been no exception. The emergence of messaging apps like WhatsApp, iMessage, and Facebook Messenger has completely revolutionized the way we communicate, providing users with more features and capabilities than traditional SMS messages.

In addition to messaging apps, there are now a wide range of other tools and features available for text messaging, such as multimedia messaging service (MMS), group messaging, and even read receipts. With these new features, text messaging has become an even more versatile and convenient communication tool.

Moreover, text messaging has also become a powerful marketing tool for businesses. As consumers increasingly rely on their mobile devices for shopping, businesses have started using SMS messages to reach out to their customers and offer them exclusive deals, promotions, and discounts. SMS marketing has proven to be highly effective, with studies showing that text messages have a significantly higher open rate than emails.

As technology continues to advance, we can expect even more innovative features to be introduced to text messaging. For example, the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning has the potential to transform text messaging by making it even more personalized and intuitive. We can also expect to see more integration between messaging apps and other technologies, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, allowing users to interact with each other in entirely new ways.

In conclusion, text messaging has come a long way since the early days of SMS. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more exciting developments in the field of text messaging. With its convenience, versatility, and increasing functionality, text messaging is likely to remain a vital communication tool for years to come.

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