Cell Phone Text Messages (AKA SMS, Short Message Service)
Text messaging has become part of the culture, already a short-hand language has emerged. One can order a pizza, or vote on American Idol, with a text message. Obama announced his Vice Presidential candidate with a text message to 10 million people, or at the minimum that was his plan. An SMS message simultaneously sent to several million recipients, at the same time, is not however possible, and that is probably good, in light of the Spamming occurring with SMS.
According to research by Nielsen Mobile, during the second quarter of 2008, the average U.S. cell phone user sent or received 204 voice phone calls per month and sent or received 357 text messages per month. Teenagers in the United States, on average, send and receive an average of more than 1,700 text messages per month.
SMS was originally developed to allow the deaf to use cell phones, and is similar to paging (does anybody nevertheless use a pager?). In the United States, the term is colloquially called “texting”, but in some parts of world, the term is “SMSing”. SMS is obtainable on most cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDA), and is compatible with a wide range of networks (including 3G). However, not all text messaging systems use SMS. For example, the BlackBerry uses standard mail protocols such as SMTP over TCP/IP (internet protocol).
If the target cell phone is off-line, the Short Message Service Center (SMSC) will store the message for a later attempt. The message can be stored for several days. Successful message delivery is not guaranteed and the delay, or unfortunately, already the loss of a messages, is not uncommon. This most often occurs when sending messages between different networks. The sender of an SMS text message can receive a confirmation notifying them whether the message was successfully delivered.
On some carriers, it is possible for to send messages to a subscriber’s phone using Email. For example, an AT&T subscriber whose phone number is 234-456-7891 would receive Emails to [email protected] as text messages. SMS service now includes the ability to Email, fax, and integrate with paging and/or Internet systems.
Unfortunately, Spammers have discovered text messaging. Registering your phone on the “National Do Not Call Registry” only prevents phone calls, not text messages. It is usually advisable to not respond to text message spam. Often random numbers are tested for a response. If you reply with “Stop sending me messages!”, unfortunately, your number has just been confirmed as a cell phone, and you will probably receive more messages.
Obama’s VP announcement was just part of his text message campaign. His effort was an effective device for collecting millions of voter contacts. It also signaled that Obama could connect with young people. With SMS messages, the Obama campaign conducted surveys, sent reminder messages about voter registration, promoted other Democratic candidate in the recipient’s district, and reminded people to vote.
Shorthand has emerged because SMS messages are cumbersome to go into with cell phone keypads. Abbreviations such as ‘C U L8er’ for ‘See you later’ are used not just by young people, but also by adults. There are books and websites dedicated to translating this shorthand, for the “non-text-lingual”.
More than 2.5 trillion SMS messages were sent from cell phones worldwide last year. SMS text messaging revenues are expected to go beyond $165 billion by 2011.