Text Messages Celebrate Their 15th Anniversary

As any readers of the comic strip Zits knows, text messages are the bane of parents of teenagers. However, it's also increased the amount of repetitive stress injuries people get (in their thumbs anyway), created new (and lame) ways of firing people, and even contributed to fatal accidents. At any rate, the SMS or text message celebrated its 15th anniversary earlier this week.

Airwide Solutions, which helped pioneer the technology, claims it was the first message to be sent via the mobile GSM airwaves.  15 years ago in the first week of December, Airwide engineer Neil Papworth sent the test message to Vodafone's Richard Jarvis.

Now, according to the BBC, British people are sending SMS messages at the rate of one billion per week.  In the US, Verizon alone claims around 10 billion every month.

Despite the fact we can joke about teens who seem to have their heads buried in the cell phone screens as they constantly text each other, text messages have other uses besides just chatting. You can get directions to a public restroom, participate in a street performance, perform flight check-ins via SMS, receive emergency alerts --- the list goes on and on.