Sunday, September 25

OMG: Text messaging turns 19

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NINETEEN years ago, when the first text was sent that was a ‘cyal8er’ to communication as we knew it.

Neil Papworth was a 22-year-old test engineer in December 1992 when he first texted a friend ‘Merry Christmas’.

Writing from his work computer at the Sema Group, he sent the SMS (or Short Message Service) to an Orbitel 901 handset on the Vodafone network.

Since then, the 160-character messages have revolutionised the way we communicate, date, work and network, along with fostering a completely alternate vernacular.

What would life be without OMG, LOL, TTYL and ‘cya l8er’? And – heaven forbid – without emoticons?

For many teens, who have never known life without a mobile phone, the world pre-texting seems inconceivable.

Landlines and snail mail are long gone, pagers and the fax machine were over before they began, and the world has been left texting, tweeting, chatting and IM’ing into oblivion.

Still, the take up of texting was slow.