Originally posted on the Reckless New Media website.
The first ever text message was sent twenty years ago yesterday. The message itself was simply "Merry Christmas", sent from a 22-year old British engineer named Neil Papworth to Richard Jarvis, of Vodaphone. Since then it's revolutionised communication, cost a few people an awful lot of money and started (and ended) countless relationships. More impressively, it has also been used to great success in improving healthcare in third world countries and even helped to bring about the Arab Spring, perhaps the biggest political change since the fall of the eastern bloc.
Of course, none of that has stopped newspapers proclaiming that it's dead or blaming it for poor spelling and grammar (presumably in the same way that the song titles that Slade used affected their own ability to spell).
It does seem to me, though, that perhaps SMS might be more similar to another older technology, email, which despite even the best efforts of tech-giant Google has managed to last well in to it's forties (and counting). It provides a fast, simple, reliable form of communication, and it's perceived limitations - the 160 character limit - is perhaps more of a strength than it's given credit for. After all, it's not done Twitter much harm!