Ah, that's what you call instant nostalgia right there. When did I last hear that word? "Textmate", you will certainly never hear this word used today in regular conversations but back in the day, this word was huge. You can hear it everywhere, you can see it everywhere and you can read it everywhere even on the walls of bathroom stalls.
Textmate is someone you exchange messages with at all times of all days back then. Usually, these are your friends, partners, flings, and casual correspondence. They are pretty similar to the persons you "chat" with today constantly.
I can still remember my first Textmate ever like it was yesterday. The first mobile phone ever that I owned was a Motorola phone. It was so huge and could not fit in the pocket of your pants but all it can do is to call and text. The screen display was composed of a 2-liner LCD. If you are reading a long message then, you will have to spam the arrow keys just to get through the message.
The phone looks like this, but I swear that I remember it to be a little bit bigger than this, plus it was brownish gold in color, but overall the physical appearance is the same:
I can't find the exact model and likeness of the phone but it's roughly like this.
My first TextMate was the daughter of my parents' friends. We were texting and enjoying each other's company even through high school. We see each other from time to time if our families got together but we were constantly talking with each other via text messages.
You know what, I was still a kid back then but thinking about it now, I just feel so rich too. Why? Well here's the thing. A phone call or a text message costs something, you need to have a load balance first before you can do anything. Today, in the Philippines, there are promotional deals that subscribers could take advantage of. For just Php 20 or around $0.47, you can text all day and all night for 3 days, but back then there were no promos like that, a text message could cost Php 1.00 - Php 3.00 depending on the length of the message.
So imagine, texting all day all night back then, that must have been so expensive. Also, today, you can load your phone for as low as Php 5.00, back in the day, the only load available is Php 300.00 worth of credits on a prepaid card. You'll buy the card, scratch the back of and dial the numbers on it and voila, you have Php 300 worth of credits plus some bonus text messages.
That Php 300 will just last for a couple of weeks depending on how often you text or call. But of course, having a Textmate means you are using a lot of those credits in a fast-paced manner. For Php 300 today, you already have a decent monthly postpaid plan. That's a lot for a kid like me to ask so I was really dependable with household chores back then. Yep, I was a good kid.
Technology was ever-changing even then and even my phone was upgraded to a Nokia 3315 which was a hand me down from my parents.
Through time, also the services improved and they became more affordable as more and more people have their phones,s, and text messaging has become more and more rampant.
By the middle of high school, my Textmate and I had to part ways since they had to migrate to the U.S. Thankfully, I was just a kid back then and didn't really feel the anxiety of separation then. And also I became more involved in the texting world. I had more "TextMate" than I could count and then there came the group messaging, where you can send messages to multiple recipients at the same time. And with that, "clans" were established here and there. These are like the "group chats" of today.
Today, you type a message send it and boom, the whole group can read it. But back then, if you're phone does not belong to the latest line then you will have to put in extra effort to catch up to your group.
You type a message, send it to a person, then send it again to another, and so on and so forth. Some phones have it easy, some phones allow creating a group of contacts, you just have to send it to that group and you're done, others just have the "send to many" function where you type the message and then you will be forwarded to your address book, you just select the persons you are sending to, and you have to press the send button multiple times.
If you belong to a clan back then, you will receive messages nonstop all day. Your phone will be notifying you non-stop. Even if the content of the message is not meant for you, you will have to read all of it just to get what's happening.
As the users mature, the texting realm also evolved into much more mature content. From innocent text mates to casual flirtation and even to seatmates. The landscape was filled with all these intimate and private conversations flowing through the air. Well, I guess, in any era and in anything, sex sells.
Of course, as an avid texter, I have experienced all of those. It was fun, it was interesting, it was entertaining and of course, everything was a lesson.
It's just really fascinating to have a bigger picture of how people communicate from back then to today. A lot of changes were done, and a huge amount of progress we witness but some things really don't change. Just like the need for us to communicate and feel connected. It does not matter if it's text, chat, or video calls as long as we are all connected via communication, I think it's always going to be interesting.
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