25 Years Ago, The First Ever SMS Was Sent To A Mobile Phone On This Day

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Sending and receiving text messages is pretty much second nature to us these days, an indispensable facet of our digital lives. And it all started 25 years ago, on this day — the birth of SMS.

1st ever SMS was sent today 25 years ago

Back in 1992, Vodafone’s software engineer Neil Papworth wrote ‘Merry Christmas’ to company director Richard Jarvis on December 3, on a breakthrough mobile communication technology that later came to be universally known as Short Messaging Service or SMS.  

While Papworth sent out the first ever SMS to a mobile phone exactly 25 years ago, short messaging service didn’t pick up until a year later. That’s right, when Nokia added a beep sound to their phones in 1993 to signal the sending and receiving of an SMS, it pretty much single-handedly popularized the adoption of SMS as a communication medium.

Well before Twitter popularized its 140-character messaging (or micro-blogging?) platform, SMS allowed people to communicate in 160-character long messages — without any Internet.

SMS or short messaging service

So, did the Vodafone engineer who sent the world’s first ever SMS had any idea of the technology’s impact? “I had no idea just how popular texting would become,” Neil Papworth was quoted as saying, “and that this would give rise to emojis and messaging apps used by millions.”

Of course, one unfortunate consequence of communicating over short messages led to SMS lingo — that which makes anyone who has any semblance of grammar pull out their hair in agony and disgust. And led to the birth of popular acronyms like LOL, BRB, TTYL, and more.

Well, Happy 25th Birthday, Dear old SMS! In an age dominated by Whatsapp, welcome to your quarter life (existential) crisis.

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