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Merry Christmas: the first text message...and Happy New Year!

Wendy . Blog Published 03 February 2009

The first text message to a cellphone was appropriate of the season: "Merry Christmas". Neil Papworth sent this message to Richard Jarvis who was at a Christmas party near Vodafone headquarters in Newbury, England. That was 16 years ago. Texting on the cellphone itself didn't exist yet, so the message had to be typed out on a computer keyboard. A couple of years later one could send text messages from a cell phone, and before long "texting" had become the rage.

Now the messages get shorter and shorter as words are reduced to sounds and spelling is abandoned. "The kids don't even try to spell anything anymore" shout parents and teachers the world over. They might write part of a message like "Happy Birthday 2 U" or "Sí U @ 4 2mor o" or "Hapi Nu Yir". Each language group and social set will have their own texting formulas and etiquette, or lack of it.
Yes, communications have come a long way since the first phone call: "Mr. Watson. Come here!" . And what about the telegraph and the Morris Code. Many lives were saved with a simple ... - - - ...
Long phone conversations and typed letters and messages are being dramatically abbreviated once again.

How many text messages will you be sending during the holidays? And on New Year's Eve? 1, 2,5, none? Maybe you'll try to talk to your distant friends and relatives, even though you know the phone lines will be busy. Maybe you'll try Skype.
In Spain most people will be in their homes at midnight on December 31st. They'll be gathered around the TV, looking at the clock tower in Puerta del Sol and listening to the 12 gongs as they eat their 12 grapes. This will guarantee good luck in the new year. Then the kissing starts. Everyone will kiss everyone else in the room and then toast in the new year with cava. And then people will scurry around searching for their cell phone in order to call or text a distant boyfriend or girlfriend, parent or child or friend. The busiest time of year for texting and for phoning is 12 midnight on the December 31st. Good luck! Happy New Year! Happy 2009!
Have a happy, healthy and safe New Year.

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