Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday dear Text, Happy birthday to you!! So, text messaging is 20 years old this week. It’s no longer a teenager and is now a proper adult, probably with a job and everything. Do you remember life before text? Obviously none of us can (ahem…) but ‘apparently’ people used to actually phone each other up and have conversations, on a telephone that was attached to the wall! Software engineer Neil Papworth sent the first text message on 3rd December 1992. Everyone said it wouldn’t last and was just a fad. In a way they might be right; after twenty years of growth, the amount of texting is finally slowing down. People increasingly have smart phones and are taking advantage of third party messaging tools and social media to send messages for ‘free’.
Texting has changed the way we communicate and spawned a new language. I won’t embarrass myself by pretending I understand all text speak (I can remember life before text) but LOL, XOXO, and BFF are terms that are now regularly used in conversations outside our mobile screens. Text messaging has impacted on marketing with it often being part of a company’s communications strategy. Many businesses use it as a reminder tool and to share information about orders and deliveries. Marketers like it because of the high read rates. Emails are frequently deleted immediately; text messages tend to be read. But companies have to be careful with texting their customers; it can feel intrusive and may generate a negative response. It is also becoming more regulated. Last week the Information Commissioners Office used the new Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations to find two businessmen £440,000 for sending spam texts. Texting will probably be here to stay for a while longer but keep an eye on what is coming up. They will no doubt provide great ways to communicate with your audiences too.