The Evolution of Texting

Think back to the time you received your first cell phone. Most everyone in this class will relate this period of time to when flip phones were still a thing or phones that were just being developed with “qwerty keyboards”. We were so… fascinated by this new form of communication. However, it is considered the most common form of communication in today’s society. There was a point in history where the act of texting didn’t even exist, so how did this nonexistent term come to be so popular?

How mobile phone technology has changed over the last 40 years | Netstar

There was a time when those taking part in texting back and forth could only send SMS messages; better known as the dreaded “green bubble”.  In 1984, two European men came up with the concept of SMS messaging. However, it wasn’t until 1992 that the first SMS text message was sent through a retro company known as Nokia.

The 1990s was the developmental aspect of texting. This is when companies were learning how to send text messages to other people and how to use this new type of medium to communicate. Texting became available around 1993 for person-to-person, and then eventually through various networks like businesses. The 90s were also the time when the T-9 keyboard was invented.

a cinderella story hilary duff gif | WiffleGif Services were starting to be made available on mobile devices in the early 2000s. The news was able to reached on mobile phones at the beginning of the new millennium. “Text to” became very popular during this decade as well: “text to vote” on the hit singing show, American Idol, “text to donate”, “text to receive updates” on the presidential campaign. this was a time period where texting started become known and was being used commonly in everyday life.

2010 was not only the time “texting” was added to the dictionary, it was also when Apple iPhones started to become popular. The hype of a going from a T-9 keyboard, flip phone to an all touch screen iPhone was game changing. This may have been when the great Android vs. iPhone battle begin, also referred to as green bubble vs. blue bubble.

In our present day, texting has almost become a task. There are people who will have over 100 unread messages in their phone, with no intentions of replying to any of them. As far as we have come with being able to text, it seems that people would rather use the talk-to-text feature on their phones, or face-time, or talk to their apple watch. As the evolution of texting starts to become something that isn’t evolving anymore, the beauty of calling and seeing someone’s face while trying to communicate will hopefully *fingers crossed* be making a comeback.



Clay envelopes, pigeons, and drones

Cybersecurity sounds like a definitively contemporary term, alluding both to new fears and to the new technologies we create to cope with them. At Ohio State, Dr. Dan Gauthier is on the forefront of cutting edge encryption technology, promising to keep information traveling by drone secure. But as new as it sounds, information security is an ancient practice, and as technical as it seems, its social, economic, and political dimensions affect society in increasingly pressing ways. Meme of Michael Scott from the television show The Office saying. White text on top and bottom says,

Dr. Denise Schmandt-Besserat, an archaeologist and scholar of the history of writing, spent her long career looking for clues as to how writing came to be. Her token theory of writing is widely accepted, but also hidden in this history is the foundation of information security. Tokens were used to represent objects, especially in trade. Before the advent of writing, these tokens were counted, then sealed inside clay envelopes and delivered with the goods as a receipt. Upon delivery, the receiver could then break the envelope to be sure that the order matched what was supposed to be sent. This protection of trade data is an early form of information security.

Long after writing was invented, and long before the invention of the Internet, this tradition of defense continued. The introduction to The History of Information Security describes a 17th century example of encryption by putting letters carried by couriers into written code. These coded letters had multiple lines of defense: the fitness and physical defense of the courier, the encryption of the letter contents, and even international diplomatic immunity all served as mechanisms of information security.

In more modern settings, carrier pigeons evolved into drones, hand-written encryption evolved into digital code sequences, and international protections evolved into massive organizational innovations like ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee, the European Network and Information Security Agency, and the creation of national Computer Emergency Response Teams. Beyond information security, privacy as a concept has evolved into a right secured by laws like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation and the state of Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act.

As more individuals become hyper-connected, the importance of privacy and security takes on a new role. State secrets and mercantile arrangements aren’t all that needs protecting, though the potential for some information to cause political conflict and social instability is lost on no one. Now, the most sensitive details of our lives are now available for the hacking. While encryption and other information security measures may not themselves be forms of writing, their use to protect the knowledge we hold dear has made them an indispensable part of the information ecosystem, and an understanding of historical and contemporary information security is important for active and informed participation in the digital age.

Too Poor to Have Your Incredible Movement Make Millions? No Longer!

From shells and clay to “Reddit” and GameStop, writing has become cheaper and increasing democratizing. Systems of writing have progressed through an incredible number of technologies that have made writing more affordable throughout history.

A system of shells and clay indentations surely was an expensive system of writing, reserved for those who stood to make money in Susa. It seems unlikely that any political activists of Susa could have afforded to copy their essay on thousands of clay tablets.

Fast forward to the Printing Press of 1440. Suddenly ideas worth sharing like the Bible are no longer for those who can afford handwritten copies. It did not take long in human history, for activists to realize how writings like the Bible can catch fire at an affordable price.

Benjamin Franklin and many other enlightenment activists, although wealthy, now can actually spread their ideas such as revolting against unfair taxation. If the founding fathers wrote on clay tablets, it is likely that America would have remained a British colony.


The 20th century is where writing became about as cheap as it is today. Your average person could still afford to print their own pamphlets, and books had become cheaper than ever. But only large conglomerations like newspapers possessed the wealth and power to insight national change from writing.

Truly, all important speeches, announcements, etc. came filtered through the individual agendas of newspaper cooperation. Perhaps the phrasing “FBI Finds Nixon Aides Sabotaged Democrats” found on the front page of the Washington Post on Oct 10, 1972, could sway readers against Nixon before even understanding the situation.

Despite how cheap printing had become, newspaper companies remained in control of what was written and read by their massive audiences of voters. In other words, the proletariat was still being told what to think by those who could afford to tell them.

Fast forward to Jan 25, 2021. Extremely cheap online writing and communication have finally hit their stride. Communicating and writing on the forum “Reddit” if you look in the correct places is nearly entirely free, for example, a library computer. There the proletariat can finally discuss ideas to audiences of millions in a manner they can afford. This free passage of writing has brought greater coordination of free people than Ben Franklin could have ever imagined.  A subsection of Reddit, called “r/wallstreetbets,” created a proposition to topple the ability of the wealthy to control written narratives. Their success has once and for all proven that accessibility to writing can take power from the rich and give it to the poor.

Many articles have been written about the “wallstreetbets” GameStop short squeeze. But this will summarize the impact it has had on democracy through writing. Large firms and wealthy people were the only ones knowledgeable and rich enough to make significant money off of failing businesses in the past. “Wallstreetbets” was able to effectively counter these billionaires’ trade strategies and make even more from those billionaires. But “Wallstreetbets” is a group of millions of less wealthy people. So, the only way to effectively counter, as proposed before, is through cheap and mass communication. Only by being brought together through this communication could the proletariat have taken money, and control of what is perceived as possible from the rich and coordinate their movement. That is something that could never have been accomplished without technological and economic advancements on the clay tablet.