How Text Messages Are Being Killed and Replaced

TIME

The world’s very first text message, sent Dec. 3, 1992, was a cheerful, if early, holiday greeting: “Merry Christmas,” it read, short and sweet.

Twenty-two years later, texting has been used to communicate every kind of message there is — but if texts were to send a birthday missive of their own this year, it might be “please save us.”

Text messages, with their character limits and lack of embeddable media, are dying a slow death, getting replaced by more advanced messaging services that can include longer messages photos, videos and, yes, even poop emoji.

Apple’s iMessage service, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and similar services all look and act a lot like traditional texts. But, unrestricted by decades-old technological limitations, they are really the evolution of the now-outdated text message, enabled by innovations like smartphones and mobile broadband. Their benefits over SMS? There’s no character limit, you can use them…

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