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(Pocket-lint) - The text message has turned 20 today, showing us not only how far we've come in terms of the humble telephone, but also that for the past 20 years we've been using phrases like c u l8r, and ROTFLMFAO*.

The first text was sent on 3 December 1992, when Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old British engineer, used his computer to send the message "Merry Christmas" to an Orbitel 901 mobile phone.

According to Ofcom research, the average UK mobile phone user now sends around 50 text messages every week.

In 2011, more than 150 billion text messages were sent in the UK - almost triple the number sent five years previously in 2006 when 51 billion texts were sent, Ofcom was keen to tell us.

According to the government body, research shows that texting is now the most popular way to stay in contact – with more people texting friends and family on a daily basis then talking face to face. Not surprisingly, teenagers and young adults are leading these changes.

According to Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2012, 90 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds text on a daily basis to communicate with friends and family. By comparison, conversation is less popular among this younger age group, with 67 per cent making mobile phone calls on a daily basis, and only 63 per cent talking face to face.

However the same research shows that the popularity of texting is on the wane as more and more of us get smartphones, and turn to instant messaging services like Facebook, IM, Whatsapp, iMessage and BBM.

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* Rolling On The Floor Laughing My F***ing Ass Off, if you were wondering. 

Do you still text? Let us know in the comments below. 

Writing by Stuart Miles.