Abbreviations are common in text messaging, and many phrases are reduced to acronyms, such as FTW instead of "for the win," LOL instead of "laughing out loud" or LMK instead of "let me know." Individual words such as "okay" become K. Exclamations such as "oh my God" are abbreviated to OMG and some words are spelled phonetically, such as L8R for "later."
Text messaging was first introduced to mobile phones in 1993, but users couldn't text friends on different mobile networks until 1999, and messages were originally limited to 140 characters. The first text message was sent by Neil Papworth from his computer to a Vodafone user in 1993 and it read, "Merry Christmas." Abbreviations were necessary to communicate in the early days of text to fit messages within the limits. Shorthand such as IIRC for "if I recall correctly," TTYL for "talk to you later" and BRB for "be right back" helped early texters communicate with well-known phrases without going over their character limits.
A 2007 study blamed teenage illiteracy levels in Ireland on texting, but later studies demonstrated that texting could promote language skills and help children learn grammar and phonetics. Texting has its risks, too. An Australian study said that texting could be as addictive as smoking cigarettes and extreme texting can result inflamed thumb tendons.