You’re about to feel really old.

The first text message is 25 years old. Engineer Neil Papworth sent the first SMS on the 3rd of December, 1992, writing “merry Christmas” to the Vodafone director Richard Jarvis. It was a piteous start, that nevertheless lead to the definition of what we know to be social media today.

It took a long time for SMS to find widespread adoption, both because of the cellular networks themselves (coverage was far from ubiquitous in 1992) and phones whose buttons revolved around dialing rather than typing. But then the smartphone arrived. In the US alone, the volume of messages surged from 12.5 billion per month in 2006 to 45 billion a year later. By June 2017, there were 781 billion messages passing around in the country. Messaging was suddenly easy, and SMS was ready and waiting to take advantage of that newfound freedom.

– Jon Fingas

Ironically, we are now only beginning to question whether the text message has a healthy future. It appears like the service is now being surpassed by others such as WhatsApp and Snapchat which while requiring data do not come at a hefty premium price from your carrier. WhatsApp itself now delivers 55 billion messages every single day and this is ignoring other popular services like Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts and Apple iMessage. It appears as all these reasons would result in the fading of the technology, however, for those of us who cannot get a hold of a smartphone, SMS is still a ubiquitous and useful method of communication.

So, what do you think? Will SMS fade out over the next couple years?

This was originally reported on Engadget. 

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