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Advertisers and service providers use direct text marketing to send messages to mobile users about promotions, payment due dates, and other notifications instead of using postal mail, email, or voicemail.
The service is referred to by different colloquialisms depending on the region.
Like e-mail and voice mail, and unlike calls (in which the caller hopes to speak directly with the recipient), texting does not require the caller and recipient to both be free at the same moment; this permits communication even between busy individuals.
Text messages can also be used to interact with automated systems, for example, to order products or services from e-commerce websites, or to participate in online contests.
Under SS7, it is a "state" with a 160 character data, coded in the ITU-T "T.56" text format, that has a "sequence lead in" to determine different language codes, and may have special character codes that permits, for example, sending simple graphs as text.
This was part of ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) and since GSM is based on this, made its way to the mobile phone.
text messaging was the most widely used mobile data service, with 74% of all mobile phone users worldwide, or 2.4 billion out of 3.3 billion phone subscribers, at the end of 2007 being active users of the Short Message Service.
As of 2017, text messages are used by youth and adults for personal, family and social purposes and in business.
Governmental and non-governmental organizations use text messaging for communication between colleagues.
The term originally referred to messages sent using the Short Message Service (SMS).
It has grown beyond alphanumeric text to include multimedia messages (known as MMS) containing digital images, videos, and sound content, as well as ideograms known as emoji (happy faces, sad faces, and other icons).