Text Messaging

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What Does Text Messaging Mean?

Text messaging is the transfer of short messages between two or more fixed or mobile devices. Text messaging devices include mobile phones, pagers and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Text messaging originated with the short message service (SMS), which was derived from radiotelegraphy. Today, text messaging is a critical global communication medium.


Techopedia Explains Text Messaging

Because the length of text messages is usually limited to 140 bytes (or 160 seven-bit characters), many words are replaced with numbers and single letters, such as “r u ok” (Are you okay?) and 143 (I love you.).

Example of users and uses of text messaging includes:

  • Advertising: Contests and promotions
  • Family members, friends and classmates: Keeping in touch
  • Groups or organizations: Activity communication
  • Political campaigns: Updates to constituents
  • Vendor system automation: Ordering products and services
  • Vendors: Payment due dates and other notifications

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.