Txtspk is not for me – says ‘Father of SMS’

Posted on December 10, 2012


Merry Christmas. It is a phrase that will get much of an airing in many forms over coming weeks – whether written in a card, typed into an email, or used as an intro on a cunningly crafted piece of SEO content.

However, the simple phrase also heralded the start of something new 20 years ago – the start of text messaging.

The rise of text language

it was used by an engineer to send a message from his PC to a Vodafone mobile in the UK on December 3rd 1992. Since then, more than 8 trillion messages have been sent worldwide.

Many of these messages are dull affairs, others life altering. Many though reduce language to a constant stream of abbreviations. Phrases such as ‘l8r’, ‘b4’, ‘gr8’ are commonplace.

SMS has even spawned an iconic abbreviation, LOL, which in some corners has even entered face to face (f2f) conversations. Textspeak is not loved by all, including the man who essentially created texting.

The fall of text?

In a recent interview with the BBC, naturally conducted by text, Matti Makkonen said:

“No! My passion is to write correct language (Finnish), using all 160 characters.”

The restriction of characters may have forced abbreviations to be created, and with the rise of Twitter, this has been taken to another level. Marketers responsible for handling social media platforms know all about optimising content for display in this regard.

However, new ways of sending data and communicating could well spend the end of text. Already, the number of SMS messages being sent is reducing across the world.


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