I came to mobile phones late and therefore SMS (text messaging) even later and predictive texting later still.
At this rate I’ll never make it to a Blackberry or iPhone.
This is no hardship – I’m at the stage in life where no data is so urgent it can't wait until I boot up my laptop. In any case I doubt I have the patience to master any mobile gizmos more complicated than my current £10 bog standard Nokia, which is sans camera.
According to this Daily Mail online story today texting was launched by a Brit 19 years ago this week. I can’t confirm the accuracy of the article. But I was a Fleet Street city reporter at the start of mobile phones, which in the UK began with the birth of Vodafone.
I can confirm that mobile phone companies were completely unprepared for the popularity of texting.
You can bet that they would have charged more per text had they known that by 2011 some 8 trillion text messages will be sent in the 12 months. That’s over 15 million each minute, according to DM’s Katie Silver.
Nineteen years is a few million short of having an evolutionary effect in lengthening the human thumb. But it’s enough to change the way we communicate.
If it’s information you want then texting is superior to verbal exchanges; of course neither is OK if you're driving.
A text strips away the unnecessary – even diversionary – which can accompany phone calls and it leaves behind what needs to be said.
I’m willing to bet plenty of boyfriends are more comfortable texting “C u pub 2nite x” than inviting their girlfriends directly. That way he doesn’t have to risk her sarcastic rejection/weary agreement/headache complaint etc.
The joy of text is that she can consider her response. She can reflect and then text back “Let’s eat first xx” in the expectation her charms will divert her man’s desire for beer and his mates.
Happy birthday texting.