Text Messaging is 20 Years Old, But Will It Survive to See Another 20?

Simon Dudley, Video Evangelist, LifeSize

If you are hip to social media, you’ve likely seen an article or two floating around over the last few days about the “text message” turning 20 years old. On December 3, 1992, the first text message was sent via Vodafone: “Merry Christmas”.  It took a few more years for text messaging to really catch on (I think most of that had to do with keyboards on cellphones, as T9 texting was really only reserved for tech-savvy teenagers).

I remember when text messaging hit the big time last millenia, and honestly, I cannot believe it’s been 20 years. As with most birthdays, I find myself becoming nostalgic and looking back over the years at how much technology has changed. We had Nokia 2112 phones, now we have iPhone 5s. We had VCRs, now we have DVRs. We had pagers, now text messaging.

It’s easy to think that we’ve reached the height of technology now, that things are as good as they are going to get – but if history has taught us anything, that’s definitely not true. Technology comes in waves. The “next big thing” could be right in front of us, but we’d have no way of knowing. I wonder if the Vodafone engineer knew, in 1992, how big text messaging would become (7.8 trillion, yes trillion, text messages were sent in 2011, according to Portio Research). It’s now more popular than voice calling. Maybe there’s a technology we are using today that’s really going to take off in the coming years and become our new common mode of communication. Yes, it could be video communications but it could be something else – something that isn’t so obvious. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi de Nagyrapolt, a Hungarian Nobel Prize winner who discovered Vitamin C (the vitamin, not the pop artist) said, “Genius is seeing what everyone else sees and thinking what no one else has thought.”

Change is the law of life. I am very excited to see what the geniuses of 2012 and beyond have in store for us.

+Simon Dudley

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