Text messaging comes of age

Text message
Text messaging has remained a constant way to communicate with mobile phone users. Photo: PA

Texting has come of age - the ubiquitous form of communication turns 21 today and remains the most popular way to stay in contact.

According to Ofcom, the average person in the UK now sends 50 text messages every week and 200 a month - more than double the figure four years ago, according to a report by communications regulator Ofcom.

However, texting proves more popular with tech-savvy 12-15-year-olds who are estimated to send nearly as many in just a week - 193.

Teenagers texting
Kate Moore (L) and Morgan Dynda of the U.S. compete in the LG Mobile Worldcup Texting Championship in New York. Credit: Reuters

Text messaging has overtaken speaking on a mobile phone and face-to-face contact as the most-used method of daily communication between friends and family.

The trend looks set to continue - text messaging is used by 90% of 16 to 24-year-olds to communicate at least once a day with friends and family, followed by social networking (74%), mobile phone calls (67%) and face-to-face contact (63%).

Texting has come a long way since its inception back in 1992.

The first ever text was sent on December 3 1992, when Neil Papwell, a 22-year-old British engineer used his computer to send the message "Merry Christmas" to an Orbitel 901 mobile phone.

Five memorable texts

  • Julie Bremnes to her mother - 16-year-old Julie survived Anders Breivik 2011 terrorist attack on the Norwegian island of Utoya. She bravely texted her mother, "tell the police to hurry. People are dying" as she was afraid speaking would attract attention. She survived the horrific attack.
Britney and Kevin Federline
Britney and Kevin Federline had a two year marriage which began after a three month romance in 2004. Credit: Reuters
  • Britney Spears and Kevin Federline - They were hardly a love for the ages, but it seems Kevin Federline was genuinely upset when then-wife Britney Spears dumped him via text message back in 2006. Most of the initial break-up was captured as he was filming a Canadian TV show at the time.
Rebekah Brooks
Rebekah Brooks is currently on trial at the Old Bailey. Credit: Reuters
  • Rebekah Brooks and David Cameron - A flurry of personal information came to light at the Leveson inquiry, but it was the texts between the Prime Minister and former News International executive. However, it was the revelation that Cameron signed his messages "LOL" thinking it meant "lots of love". Brooks had to correct him.
Obama
Unfortunately Obama supporters did not get speak to the then-Presidential candidate on the phone. Credit: Reuters
  • Obama to his supporters - back in 2008 then-Presidential candidate sent his supporters a text message announcing Joe Biden as his running mate.
Chris Huhne
Chris Huhne tried to contact his son via text only to irritate the teenager further. Credit: PA
  • Chris Huhne to his son Peter - text messages between the disgraced former Energy Secretary and his then 18-year-old son exposed the sad toll of Huhne's divorce from Peter's mother, Vicky Pryce. The former Lib Dem, who left Pryce after having an affair, was met either with a barrage of swear words when trying to wish his son a Merry Christmas.