It may not be the finest of literary forms – and it's certainly done nothing for spelling and punctuation, except to push them towards an early grave – but today marks the 20th birthday of one of our most used means of messaging; the SMS, better known as the text. For many of us it's simply a quick, convenient and most of all cheap way to express our emoticons, but for others texts spread important news and are a means of communicating in an emergency. There will always be a few who like to use it to secretly seduce or slander, as we've included below. After all, you know what they say about idle thumbs…
"Happy Christmas." Sent in 1992 from his work computer in Berkshire to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone's Orbitel 901 handset (remember those? We don't…) this festive message from Neil Papworth was the first SMS ever.
"Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee." The text message announcement made in 2008, bizarrely sent out at 3am, was one of many used by the president aka Texter-in-Chief during his successful tech savvy campaign.
"The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human." – It took Frode Ness of Norway 34.65 seconds to type this phrase into her handset, breaking the world record for the fastest ever text message in 2010. The touch-screen phone record is just 25.94 seconds.
"Mum, tell the police to hurry up. People are dying here." One of many chilling text messages sent by 16-year-old Julie Bremnes to her mother during the attack by Anders Breivik on Norway's Utoya Island in July 2011.
"LOL" – While being questioned during this year's Leveson Inquiry on her cosy, textual relationship with David Cameron, former News International Executive Rebekah Brooks revealed that the Prime Minister thought the common text abbreviation stood for Lots Of Love. LOL!
"Hey beautiful… the back door's open." The cricketer Shane Warne was caught out in 2007 when he accidentally text this message to his wife Simone Callahan, instead of the woman he was having an affair with.
"Would you like to do it in an exotic place?" The married Finnish Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva was sacked in 2008 after sending hundreds of saucy SMS's to the leader of the Scandinavian Dolls Dance troupe.
"Do you want to (can you?) come to a great sexy nightclub in Madrid with me (and some equipment)?" In case you were unsure, yes, disgraced French politician Dominique Strauss-Khan refers to women as "equipment" in this lurid text message revealed in March this year.