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m) The accidental success of SMS

m) The accidental success of SMS

25.03.2019

 

The short message service was conceived in the 1980s to alert individual mobile users of network disruptions, deposited voice mails, etc. Few believed it would serve for users to communicate with each other and, in fact, operators where slow to even set up charging mechanisms. (Early on, roaming customers rarely received bills for mesages sent while abroad, which made SMS an alternative to voice calls.) Since the late 1990s, the SMS phenomenon grew to epic proportions. The average number of monthly messages per user, which was 0.4 in 1995, reached 47 by 2006. The total number of monthly messages worldwide peaked at well over 100 Billion, at a cost that doubled Hollywood's box-office and global music sales combined! Second to none in fervor were the Philippines, which single-handedly generated almost 10% of the world's SMS traffic. Also, the need to convey more while staying within the 160-character limit led to the emergence of a new communication language that uses abbreviations to save time, space and effort. Anyone could get creative. "Go ahead & GIAG BBFN & TC". If you are puzzled, it means: "go ahead and give it a go; bye-bye for now and take care". Opinion was divided on this contortion of language, but it hardly seemed to matter to the users.

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