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Messaging tools have improved exponentially over the years, and they now make it possible for people to stay in touch with family and friends everywhere, anytime. There are different ways and tools to communicate that become more and more important every day and that have been spreading all over the world.

Traditional letters, postcards, SMS but also messaging apps such as WhatsApp; these are just a few of the tools used over the years to send SMS from one to another.



Letters were developed during the Old Age and have transformed ever since. They are a form of written communication that can be sent to different recipients for several reasons: love messages, work-related matters, wishes and other types of contents.

There have been some historical milestones that are worth remembering when it comes to letters.

Stamps were invented in 1840 and, together with mass literacy, they contributed to the spread of letters, that were considered a privileged mean of communication and used also for personal matters.

The 20th century is significant for letters and their development due to the World Wars. Letters from the front were the only way of communicating the horrors of war and the despair of trenches to family and loved ones.

Another peculiar event in the history of letters dates back the end of the 60s. Two spaceships met in space, and they docked. In that exact moment, some objects were exchanged, including two letters, one with personal content and the other one with official content with a 10 cents stamp.

Thanks to this exchange, on January 16th, 1969, a letter was delivered directly to space.


Postcards are another popular way of communicating. They date back the middle of the 19th century, specifically 1865, when Heinrich von Stephan, the Prussian postal advisor, suggested the first postcard during the Karlsruhe postal conference. Shortly after, on October 1st, 1969, the Correspondenz-Karte, invented by Professor Emanuel Herrmann, was issued. It was sent from Perg, Austria and it got to Kirchdorf the following day. The content was short and private: the sender wanted the receiver to visit them.

The first postcards were written on ivory cards and the sender couldn’t write messages longer than 20 words. In a very short time, they became a common tool to exchange short messages.

The goal of postcards is to communicate a message of any nature in a simpler and shorter way, at a price that is affordable for everyone. The peculiarity of this mean of communication is that it doesn’t need an envelope; moreover, at least initially, it had a stamp already printed on it, as well as the address of the sender and, of course, the addressee.

Almost at the same time, in France, in 1870 the bookseller Bernardeau de Sillé-le-Guillaume created the first illustrated postcard. He adorned postcards with peculiar designs to make them look even more special. The following year, also in France, together with the drawn postcards, the first picture postcards began to be sent, and they immediately had a huge success. As a matter of fact, the first postcards used to promote a country’s tourist attractions, as we know them today, were designed in 1872 for Switzerland.

This way of communicating was soon adopted by many countries: in Italy, the first postcard was sent in 1874 from Naples to Modugno, near Bari. Great Britain also showed a particular interest in this new tool: in 1902 it was the first country to allow the divided-back, that is, the vertical line placed on the postcard to divide the recipient’s address from the message.

Source: Daily Express

One of the most common variants is the Christmas Card, originated in England and used to exchange greetings during the holiday season. Queen Elizabeth II herself wrote more than 50,000 Christmas Cards, which later became symbolic of her communication of the time.

The postcard spread is related to the early decades characterized by mass tourism, as many travelers sent postcards depicting monuments and sights of the countries they visited.

Today, with the development of new means of communication, such as cell phones or emails, postcards can still be employed by some to exchange greetings, but also as a promotional tool. Postcards have become one of the most collected items along with coins and stamps.


SMS, Short Message Service, are text messages sent mainly from cell phones.

The beginning of their history dates back December 3rd, 1992, when the first SMS message was sent. During a Christmas party for the company, Vodafone director Richard Jarvis received a message on his Orbitel TBU 901 pager from colleague Neil Papworth, a computer engineer. The first message, sent from a computer, said “MERRY CHRISTMAS.”

These fifteen characters changed the course of history and are now worth a fortune: the SMS was auctioned for $107,000 in Paris last December, via Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) certification, and the person who won it holds exclusive ownership of a detailed and unique replica of the original communication protocol. In addition, the Vodafone Foundation disclosed that the proceeds from the auction were donated to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

The first text message exchanged between two cell phones, however, was sent the following year, in 1993, experimented by a Nokia intern, Riku Pihkonen.

Thus, a new way of communication was born, and SMS became the main tool for sending rapid messages. In 2000, about 17 billion SMS messages were sent worldwide, and after eleven years, in 2011, the figures reached 89 billion.

One of the reasons why this tool has become so successful is undoubtedly the fact that one can receive an instant “repartee” and this was inspirational for future popular social media chats.

Emoticons and Emoji

Emoticons, the ancestors of emoji, are an unconventional use of punctuation to communicate moods visually within our message. The most common example is the colon followed by a closed parenthesis ???? to indicate a smiley face. The combinations can be various, and all represent an emotion, which is useful to express ourselves best when sending messages.

Emoji, on the other hand, are small images that represent emotions, objects, animals, and any other elements of everyday life. They were created in the late 1990s by NTT DoCoMo, a Japanese communications company. The name comes from “e” and “moji,” which can be translated as pictogram.

Both are used in sending everyday messages, especially emoji, which can be used at any time and in any context due to the wide choice of elements.


A common practice used in writing messages is the use of abbreviations, which are useful for writing even faster. Some examples might be “c,” for see and “2nite” for tonight. Other techniques used in messages are acronyms, such as FYI, for your information or ASAP, as soon as possible.


Emails have been one of the most important breakthroughs in the world of communication: a simple message sent from any electronic device using networks.

Emails were invented in 1971, when programmer Ray Tomlinson installed a system on ARPANET that could exchange messages between universities, later defined by U.S. computer scientist Jon Postel.

Emails became the digital version of the classic letter, with the advantage of bringing it to several people at once, in a few seconds and with attachments of any kind.

Emails have become important not only for personal matters, but also for professional communications and they became a fundamental part within digital strategies, as it happens also with SMS. Therefore, email and SMS marketing strategies can be used by companies to communicate with their target audience.

Messaging Apps

The evolution in communication has also brought further changes in the tools used: instant messaging apps are useful for communicating even faster with one or more recipients.

Over the years, several applications have been developed that allow this type of service, giving the ability to share any type of message.

Fonte: – Dati Audiweb e Nielsen

WhatsApp remains the most loved app by Italians and the most used app in 2022 with data amounting to approximately 10 hours and 50 minutes of usage per person per month and 33.1 million users. WhatsApp was born in 2009 and today it is one of the most widely used apps worldwide, also offering opportunities to businesses with WhatsApp Business, which allows them to create a company profile and a catalogue for products and/or services and premium services for medium and large companies.

Facebook Messenger is the second most used app in Italy with more than 17 million users. Officially born in 2011 from the development of its 2008 ancestor Facebook Chat, it is an app that allows interaction with other users through the exchange of messages, photos, videos, audio and more. In addition to this, just as WhatsApp, it offers voice and video calls as well.

In third place in terms of usage we find Telegram, with about 15.5 million Italian users. Born in 2013, Telegram allows the exchange of messages and media like the other apps, with the peculiarity of having secret chats, that is conversations that are self-deleting, an element that has given the app a reputation for security and privacy.

Discord, a messaging app started in 2015 for gamers, is now used to aggregate communities with common interests where audio, images and videos are exchanged, as in all other apps. In 2022 in Italy, it was used by nearly 2 million users, and it is constant growing.

Other apps

There are so many applications that allow this type of communication:

  • LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitch and TikTok are the most widely used social networks by web users and give the ability to message, create group chats and exchange media.
  • Snapchat, an app that allows users to send messages of any kind that can only be viewed for 24 hours.
  • WeChat, an app that allows calls, messages, and media exchange, as well as payments.
  • Viber, an app that allows making calls, sending messages and photos in high definition.
  • Skype, still one of the most widely used apps along with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The app also allows calls to landlines, making it competitive even in the eyes of traditional telephony, especially for international and intercontinental calls. In addition to this, low-cost text messages can be sent.
  • Enterprise messaging apps, such as Teams or Slack, facilitate communication within the company, with a user-friendly interface and the ability to exchange documents and media, as well as schedule tasks and make group calls.
Fonte: Userlike

The messaging app market is constantly evolving. Just think of WeChat and the transformation it underwent over the years, that has now led to the possibility of making payments.

This market is undermining that of SMS, but let’s keep in mind that SMS can be used in any situation even in the absence of an Internet network and, above all, manage to save all users from the infamous breakdown of all the apps mentioned above. Given the constant updates, it often happens that some messaging apps crash for several hours causing general chaos among users. And this is precisely when SMS comes in, the ancestors that will never go out of style.