Since back in 1992 those brick-sized mobiles didn't have any keyboard, the SMS was sent via Papworth's PC to Jarvis' mobile. Initially Vodafone intended to introduce this service as an internal office thing allowing its employees to communicate with each other in a fun and of course convenient way.
"We thought SMS was a clever way for a company's staff to send simple messages to one another." recalls Papworth, "I do get a kick out of being called a 'legend', once a year. Even if at the time the achievement was nothing remarkable , I was just doing my job. It's been quite amazing to watch SMS grow from a simple way for secretaries to page their managers to all these innovative applications that rely on text messaging – voting on reality shows, tracking vehicles or packages and telling you when a plane has landed."
It took couple of years for SMS to finally kick off, since people believed that it's more convenient to simply call the person rather than making an effort to type. But 20 years later, we've become so fundamentally accustomed to texting that nearly 3 trillion text messages are sent every year.
One could argue that with Facebook, Twitter, Blackberry and apps like WhatsApp SMS may be becoming a thing of the past, but according to a survey by Acision, a mobile communication firm SMS is still the number one preferred mode of communication among 92% of smartphone users who have a single click access to emails and social networking.
Texting isn't just about sending a virtual message to someone, it is something way more personal. How many of us would prefer a 'Good Morning' tweet over 'good morning' text from our significant other?
Contrary to the common belief, men tend to text more than women. But then, men tend to keep their texts short and crisp while women prefer to write an entire story over a text.
Texting also comes with certain social norms and few drawbacks - while 'drunk texting' is a big no-no, breaking over a text is definitely frowned upon and of course, texting while driving can turn out to be fatal. Texting also gave birth to 'sexting' (sending explicit text messages), it also provided a whole new platform for criminals and terrorists to communicate with each other. But then, our law enforcement managed to outwit such activities by something known as 'stealth SMS' which does not show any message but helps in tracking a person. SMS also gave marketers a shameless platform to annoy users by sending spam messages.
SMS also introduced the ever-so expressive emoticons and of course all kinds of slangs and abbreviations. SMS has become so integral to our lives that in spite of Facebook, Twitter and all kinds apps, texting is the second most common use of a mobile phone, the most common being checking the time.
So here's wishing SMS a very happy 20th birthday and we sincerely hope that it's still around for its silver anniversary.