Managing Texting

SMS stands for Short Message Service, but most of the time it's just referred to as texting. The first text was sent in 1992, but the standard for text messages was developed as early as 1985. The message "Merry Christmas" marked the beginning of non-voice services on phones.

Text messages can be very valuable to the productive worker. Sign up for messages if your flight is canceled. Use messages to alert your customers of a change in plans or to give customer service and resolve a problem. Request follow-up information during a meeting without having to interrupt the meeting to make a voice call. Send pictures of a job site from the field.

In this chapter, we'll cover sending and receiving text messages, using alternatives to text messages, and using apps to extend your texting abilities.

SMS text messages are short messages. The limit is 160 or 140 characters, depending on the phone and the application sending the message. Why so short? It's an old standard, and the technology at the time wouldn't have supported long essays. According to the Los Angeles Times, one of the standard's developers, Friedhelm Hillebrand, determined that 160 characters was long enough for short messages based on his own writing.

Texting took off, in part because an early billing loophole made texts cheaper than voice minutes. The wrinkles in billing have long since been ironed out, but texting remains popular. It's also moved beyond teens chatting with each other.

SMS messages also evolved into allowing MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) messages. MMS messages, or "picture messages," are a popular way to share pictures taken on a phone, but they can also be used to share video and other formats.

Before you delve into texting, you better understand how much this will cost. The trend for smartphones, including Android, is to bundle the phone with a plan that includes

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