The term originally referred to messages sent using the Short Message Service (SMS). It has grown beyond alphanumeric text to include multimedia messages using the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), which can contain digital images, videos, and sound content, as well as ideograms known as emoji (happy faces, sad faces, and other icons), and instant messenger applications (usually the term is used when on mobile devices).
Text messages are used for personal, family, business, and social purposes. Governmental and non-governmental organizations use text messaging for communication between colleagues. In the 2010s, the sending of short informal messages became an accepted part of many cultures, as happened earlier with emailing. This makes texting a quick and easy way to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues, including in contexts where a call would be impolite or inappropriate (e.g.,