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What is an SMS Collection?

Judith Smith Sullivan
Judith Smith Sullivan

A short message service (SMS) collection is a database of text messages. Usually, an SMS collection is part of a website. These text messages might be poetic, holiday themed, romantic or funny. SMS collections are often made of texts submitted by users, not professional writers. The only qualification for submission is that the text is less than 160 characters.

Individuals might use an SMS collection to find a message that expresses personal feelings more eloquently. An SMS collection provides a group of ready-made SMS texts for different types of occasions. These kinds of SMS texts are like greeting cards in that they might rhyme or contain jokes. The texts in an SMS collection are normally available free of charge. An SMS collection website instead can make money from advertising, or personal website owners might provide SMS messages without desiring to make any money off of them.

Poetry makes up a large portion of many SMS collections. It is sometimes called creative texting. SMS poetry is a organic movement mostly found in teenagers and young adults, but there are some professional poets who have experimented with the form.

SMS poetry has strict length requirements that are a result of the standard SMS limit of 160 characters. A character can be a letter, number, space or line break. A rhyme scheme is not mandatory in SMS poetry.

A person sending an SMS message.
A person sending an SMS message.

Texting poetry is common in countries that use the Latin alphabet. In countries that use non-Latin alphabets, the text limits are different. For instance, mobile phones in China have a 70-character text limit. Therefore, Chinese SMS poetry also has a different length.

There is a particularly strong group of SMS collection users in India, because Hindu and Urdu can be written using the Latin alphabet. It is called Roman Urdu. The character limit of the texts lends itself well to the ghazal style of poetry, which has a couplet form ending in a refrain.

There are have been many SMS poetry competitions. Many contests are held virtually through online forums and blogs. Eligible texts must conform to the character limit. Use of SMS shorthand — the popular acronyms for commonly used phrases — is also encouraged but not required in these competitions.

Caution should be exercised when one searches online for an SMS collection. Many of these websites are not created by professionals and might contain spyware, malware or aggressive advertisements. Some SMS collections also might include adult content.

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    • A person sending an SMS message.
      A person sending an SMS message.