In a short companion piece, Will Self adds the (to me) FF that texting is actually a bit of commercial serendipity: "Nokia included it in its first mobile phones as a way for engineers to report problems."
While the texts of Nokia engineers may have been indistinguishable, the same is not true of the trillion-plus messages now sent each year, generating more than three times Hollywood's box office totals. You don't have to be T-Mobile's Txt Laureate to have a distinctive style. In a 2002 UK murder trial, an uncle was convicted of his niece's murder in part because forensic examination of texts she supposedly sent after her abduction were shown to have been composed by him. In the words of Dr. Tim Grant of the Forensic Section of the School of Psychology at University of Leicester:
"One feature of text messaging is that it is creative, there are very few rules that people try to obey.
"We don't try to be grammatical or follow ordinary spelling, because of that potential for creativity, there's more potential for variation.
"There's the possibility that one person uses predictive text functions and others use traditional texting abbreviations, so it is possible to spot these differences....
"What was argued in court by the forensic linguist was that the messages from the girl's phone were in the style of the uncle who was trying to text as a teenage girl but there were significant differences in the style and that was able to break his alibi."
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