Texting, that practice of writing short, barely understandable cell phone messages to friends, has exploded locally over the last few years. A new report by Verizon Wireless on customer text use shows a 551 percent increase in texts to and from Charleston between April 2006 and April 2008. That’s a lot of Os, Ms, and Gs. Among South Carolina cities, Charleston ranks a distant third with more than 31 million texts. Columbia was second with 59 million and Greenville had an unbelievable 116 million (proving there is, in fact, little to do in the Upstate).

In The Beginning

• In 2001, Verizon Wireless first introduced its two-way text messaging service coast to coast as a hybrid of instant messaging and e-mail. In December 2001, Americans sent 253 million text messages. In December 2006, Americans sent 19 billion text messages. That is a 7,300 percent increase in five years.

• Text messaging has evolved significantly. In its early introduction, text messaging could only be exchanged by users on the same network, and only a few handsets offered this service. In 2003, messaging finally became available between customers of different wireless carriers and its popularity has exponentially increased since then.

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