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20 years later, risk and reward of text messaging

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Believe it or not... it is the 20th anniversary of the first text message. Some say the phone memo has changed the way the world communicates.

The first text message sent in 1992 read "Merry Christmas." Now people carry on whole conversations and sometimes even entire relationships via text.

"I love texting," said Mindy Campos. "I think it's very convenient. If somebody calls, it's different. I can text them if i don't really want to talk to them."

"It's the simplest way to communicate with someone when you're not right beside them," said Carl Stephens.

Despite the support and admiration from those texters, with the technology comes consequences. Over the past few years, scandal has come from texts.

In Wilmington last year, texts between two highway patrol troopers were at the center of an investigation after a Raleigh woman accused one trooper of falsely arresting her for DWI. The arresting officer was cleared, but his colleague was punished for using foul language in his texts.

A Pender County teacher was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with an eighth grader after police say she sent a 13-year-old hundreds of text messages.

A judge granted a restraining order against New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger in part because of texts berger sent to his ex-girlfriend.

That's not the only time a text has come back to bite someone in the name of "love." Most notably, pro golfer Tiger Woods lost his wife and a few sponsorships after news of repeated affairs surfaced. The damning evidence: text messages exchanged between the golfer and his mistresses.

Texting and driving is also blamed for numerous traffic accidents, some of which have been deadly.

"We live in an information age, where information is getting communicated on a daily basis, and texting makes it really easy to pass along little tidbits of information," said Justin Murphy.

Bits of information that come with reward and risk as they change the way we communicate.

Text messages have also been used in court cases. But if you're looking for a good laugh, numerous websites have popped up all over the internet documenting humorous exchanges over the phone messages.

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