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Happy B-Day SMS

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The world’s first text message was sent 20 years ago last month: “Merry Christmas,” transmitted by British software engineer Neil Papworth to a director at telecommunications giant Vodafone. No one had any clue back then how text messaging would forever alter the culture of communication.

To mark the 20th birthday of SMS, Experian Marketing Services released results of a survey of some 1,500 U.S. smartphone owners. During a typical week 95 percent of them talk on their mobile phone, while 59 percent text; among 18-to-24 year olds, 89 percent talk on their phone and 85 percent text. During a typical month, smartphone owners in the under-24 age group send 2,022 mobile text messages and receive another 1,831 for a combined total of 3,853 texts.

Though older generations were partial to traditional phone calls, Experian’s data shows that nearly half of the 18-to-24 crowd considers a conversation via text message to be just as meaningful as a telephone call -- and nearly as many adults ages 25 to 34 feel the same way.