Back in the day, that should be way back before most of you were born, SMSes used to be precious – it might be difficult to imagine now… but it’s true. You always knew that receiving an SMS meant one of two things; either you were an important someone to a certain somebody or it was some serious emergency.
But Econet ruined that! And I could bet you a million bucks (entirely figural) that 1 in every 3 people can relate.
For the sake of those who do not remember, or weren’t born yet I’ll tell you all about it.
So there’s a time when SMSes cost 9 cents. To make my point let’s do some quick math: 100 divided by 9 = 11.11111 (we can keep going but we don’t need all those) so this means if you had a $1, you could only send 11 SMSes chete chete. Therefore, it meant you had to be extra careful when selecting the serious enough issues for SMS. You also had to carefully craft the message because you only had 160 characters. OK, that’s a whole lot more generous than Twitter but you get my point.
Actually, at some point, calling was even cheaper than SMS because you could have a whole conversation for 5c. And by full conversation I mean you could ask where the person you were about to meet was and they could quickly tell you in 5 cents. In fact, you couldn’t risk sending someone an SMS in such a situation because you were not guaranteed of a response. So unless you were really sure that you were that person’s 9c-VIP then the best thing to do was to just call.
Therefore, it was in that scarcity that SMSes derived their value.. just like Bitcoin (sorry, I just had to). However, unfortunately even when Over The Top (OTT) services were ‘born’, that value was still en-grafted in some of us. So yes, I say it’s fortunate because that’s exactly how Econet ruined it!
Alright, say maybe you never got to experience the ‘9c SMS era’, you sure should have somehow experienced the EcoCash SMS notifications – yes the one informing you that “you have received $$$$” So yes either way SMSes are important!
Now had SMSes not been that important to us, we wouldn’t have been so irritated by all the Econet (and now Elevate) updates aka spam that we receive. Each time you hear your phone ring an SMS notification tune, you do either of two things; 1. you immediately check your phone, or 2. fight the urge. I don’t know about you, but I personally have to fight less of an urge for WhatsApp notifications during the day.
However for some, it has become so bad that they don’t even pay attention to any of their SMSes or anything SMS-like. I’ve seen a couple of people whose phones have heaps and heaps of unread SMSes. They completely gave up. Now the problem with that is some people never got their memo, meaning they will still think SMS translates to important, therefore they’ll send important messages via SMS which unfortunately will never reach their intended destination (though of course technically they would have).
So at the end of the day, our precious SMSes have lost their value, all thanks to Econet!
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