25 years of the text message—how communications have changed

December 3rd marks the 25th anniversary of the text message—and now it’s hard to imagine a world without it.

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Since the first text was sent (which contained the message, “Merry Christmas”), billions of people around the world have used messaging as their preferred way to communicate.

In fact, 80 percent of adults and 91 percent of teens message every day, according to a new global study commissioned by Messenger.

25 years of the text message—how communications have changed

Key highlights from the study include:

Emojis and GIFs are ageless

77 percent of people over the age of 55 use emojis to communicate while more than half (53 percent) use GIFs

Visual messaging is the new universal language

Most people (57 percent) have responded to a message with a GIF while 56 percent have sent a message using only emojis

Most people admit to sidebar conversations

Most people (71 percent) have sidebar conversations, and 62 percent of those that do say messaging makes them feel closer to friends (versus 36 percent of those who don’t sidebar)

Messaging replaces other communication channels

Half the population reports messaging has replaced their other forms of communication; 67 percent of people are messaging more than they did two years ago

More messaging equals greater in-person connection

People who message more are 52 percent more likely to be also talking face-to-face more, as compared to someone who is not messaging more

To mark the occasion, Messenger created a short video to represent moments over the years where messaging has impacted our lives and bought us closer together.

This online survey was conducted by Greenberg, Inc., from April 19 through May 3, 2017, and reached 2,255 respondents in the United States, 1,001 in the United Kingdom, 1,002 in Canada, 1,004 in Australia, 1,001 in Germany, 1,000 in Brazil, 1,001 in France, and 1,000 in South Korea. All respondents use one or several messaging applications monthly or more frequently.


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Bulldog Reporter

Bulldog Reporter

Bulldog Reporter is a leader in media intelligence supplying news, analysis and high-level training content to public relations and corporate communications professionals with the mission of helping these practitioners achieve superior competitive performance.


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