Happy birthday SMS: The text message turns 20

Neil Papworth was, at the time, a 22-year-old engineer who wanted to share a holiday greeting with his colleague. The date was December 3, 1992, and Papworth wished Richard Jarvis, an executive at British telecom provider Vodafone, a "Merry Christmas." Instead of writing a note or sending an email – which was in its primitive stages at the time – he used a phone and sent the first text message in recorded history.

Today, the text message celebrates its 20th birthday. While virtually everything that surrounds the basic communication technique has changed, texting is still very much the same at the end of 2012 as it was when Papworth wished his friend season's greetings. Sure, he didn't have a sleek iPhone, but the mechanics we see today were all there. And that's part of the reason behind its prolonged popularity. Mobile technology can change, but the SMS application is still the most used app on any device because it functions the same way regardless of model, carrier or age of a phone.

There are some, of course, who suggest it may have peaked. New messaging and mobile communication solutions are constantly flooding the market. Social networks give more people the opportunity to connect from a number of devices. As a result, many are projecting the downfall of text messaging in the coming years. 

"This may also be the year the text message peaks," writes Heather Kelly, a contributor with CNN Money. "After two decades of constant growth, text messaging is finally slowing down as people move to smartphones and use third-party messaging tools to circumvent wireless carriers' costly per-text charges."

However, this sentiment doesn't account for the fact that unlimited text plans are more prevalent than ever. Many individuals still rely on older phones that lack social networking capabilities or they simply stay away from sites such as Facebook and Twitter altogether. Non-SMS digital communication requires a tremendous amount of additional factors such as account registration and online access. Texting only requires a connection to the carrier's network.

Because of this, text message marketing will remain one of the more effective methods companies can use to reach out to customers. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools needed to launch strong SMS campaigns.