TechnologyTell

My life history with text messages

Sections: Features, Originals

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Today marks the 20th anniversary of SMS, better known as text messaging. In honor of this occasion, I wanted to look back at my history with SMS technology. Like many people, text messages have brought me great convenience and a lot of frustration. Let’s get started shall we?

Humble Beginnings

My first experience with text messages occurred in the 1998-1999 school year. I was in middle school and my parents bought me a cell phone for my birthday. I have no idea what kind of phone it was, but I remember some of its design. It was a fairly large black phone with a sliding compartment that revealed the keypad. The voice service attached to the phone was pretty bad. I remember it telling me I was roaming even when I was standing 10 miles from where it was purchased and activated. To avoid potential overages, I resorted to text messaging. Unlimited text messages wasn’t a thing at that time, so my texts were very rare. I’d shoot a few messages off to a friend that also had a phone, but making calls was still the preferred way to communicate. I stuck with that phone until it was eventually deactivated for reasons I can no longer remember.

Massive Overage Charges

My first damning experience with text messages came at the end of high school during the polyphonic ringtone craze. My parents allowed me to get a Samsung SCH-A610 from Verizon. First of all, this phone was awesome at the time. It had a swivel screen and a rotating camera for taking front and rear photos. This meant I could send both text and picture messages. That was a bad idea. My plan only allowed for somewhere between 200-300 text messages per month. Like any typical teenager, I exceeded that amount mostly due to dealings with the opposite sex. The bill became too high for me to afford, and my parents took over the line. Thanks text messages.

Present Day

I learned a valuable lesson in dealing with text messages. It’s way too easy to underestimate how many messages you send and receive every month. After the Verizon fiasco, I made sure to monitor my texting very closely. If I came too close to going over, I would send out the ironic “Don’t text me” text message. When smartphones came into the picture, I asked people to message me over Google Chat so I wouldn’t go over my texting limits. That all came to an end last year when I signed up for an unlimited everything plan. I have no idea how many texts I send now because it no longer matters.

Still, after having access to text messages for 13 years, I find myself using it more and more as time goes on. What’s your history with text messages?

 

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