What Is an SMS Message?

by Greyson Ferguson

SMS messages are commonplace for individuals who own and use cellular phones. They are so common place you probably have made and received dozens, if not hundreds of SMS messages within the past few months. Of course, most of use known and refer to SMS messages by a different name: text messages.

What is SMS messaging?

SMS stands for "short message service." These messages are small text messages that can be sent back and forth between mobile devices. These messages are sent in a similar way as phone calls, where you will select the user, but instead of calling the person, you type the message out with the phone's keypad and send it when complete. Traditionally, this feature is only used by cell phone users. However, it is possible to send and receive a SMS message from a computer connected to the Internet, as well.

Send SMS Message on Cell Phone

Although this can change slightly between the make and model of particular cell phones, most steps for sending a SMS message are similar. Navigate to your contacts or address book on the cell phone. Select the individual you would like to send the message to in your list of contacts. Type out the message with the key pad and press "Send" once the message has completed.

Send SMS Message on Computer

Many instant messaging programs have a feature that will allow you to send an SMS message to a person's cell phone. Open your instant messenger and log onto your account. Once the "Buddy List" loads, you will find an image of a cell phone somewhere on the window. Click this. A new window will appear. Type in the number of the contact, then type in the message. Click "Send" and the message will be sent to the person's phone.

Size of an SMS Message

Because the SMS messages are designed to be simple short text messages, there is actually a character limit per every message sent. The limit is up to 160 characters. This is why sometimes you will receive a double text message from a contact that seems to be split up in an odd way. When the text message exceeds the designated length of 160 characters, the message will be cut into two sections and sent in succession. You may even find that the second half of the message is sent out first.

Popularity of SMS Messages

SMS Messages have become an incredibly popular form of communication, since it is basically sending an instant email over your phone. As of 2004, an estimated 500 billion text messages were sent, and with text messaging increasing and becoming easier on a daily basis, this number will only go up. In the Philippines alone, the average texter sent out more than 2,300 messages in 2003.

First SMS Message

Although this fact is contested and it is had to determine who exactly sent the first SMS message, it is widely believe the first message was sent in December of 1992 from a personal computer to a cell phone in the United Kingdom.

About the Author

Greyson Ferguson is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design with a degree in film and television. He currently resides in Lansing, Michigan where he works on independent film projects and writes for numerous publications. Ferguson primarily focuses on computer and electronic articles. Greyson produces TheDailyUpbeat.com, focusing on only upbeat news stories with daily updates.