♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 8/29/2008 05:03:00 PM
For all your humble correspondent's faults, rest assured that Amerocentrism isn't one of them. In the blogosphere, there are any number of blogs commenting on issues of international interest. However, some--but not all--are somewhat handicapped in terms of how cosmopolitan their outlooks are by the fact that they are maintained by Americans in the United States. If you buy the notion that travel broadens the mind, then the resulting implications are clear. Most of the time, I post from outside my home country (not the US) as you may have guessed by now. This thought comes to me as I came across an entry in a PC World blog claiming that "Text Messaging May Have a Big Future in Politics" due to the Obama campaign using the technology in its efforts to elicit grassroots excitement among Democrats:

The Obama campaign trotted out its new text messaging trick again tonight.

Last week the campaign said it would text message announce Obama's pick for running mate via text message. It was only partly successful, but the Dems collected thousands and thousands of phone numbers from people who signed up to receive the Veep text message.

Tonight the Democrats had another game for us. On the jumbo video screens inside INVESCO Field, attendees were asked to text in their answer to the following question: "What led you to join the 'campaign for change'?"

Looking around, I was surprised to see how many people with handset in hand typing in their answer. After a while, some of the text messaged answers scrolled across the jumbo screens inside the stadium.

And there's more. Huge maps on the jumbo-trons showed what parts of the country the largest volumes of text messages were coming in from.

While the DNC's particular application of the technology in a gee-whiz manner may be novel, the use of cell phone text messaging in politics is hardly new elsewhere in the world. Instead of merely using the technology for disseminating messages or soliciting opinion, what if I told you that text messaging has already been used to oust a sitting world 2001? Well, read on. This comes care of Diane Cross on Associated Content:

Text Messaging is IN! It is really not so new in Asia where everyone seems to own a cell phone for some weird reason. This brings to mind something that happened in Manila in 2001 when the people of the Philippines used text messaging to depose then Philippine President Joseph Erap Estrada.

It was called the first peaceful "TEXT REVOLUTION" in the world. It started in January of 2001 when everyone with a cellphone received cell messages exposing the corruption of the regime. Text messages were political jokes, so-called "secrets" and plain gossip. These messages also came with the request "please forward" , which meant that one had the option to forward the message to all those in his/her cell phone directory.

While the Philippine Senate then was voting on the impeachment of their president, everyone seemed to get a text message urging them to go and form some sort of "people power" at EDSA highway which was where the two main military camps were located. After three days, millions of people demanding the ouster of their president were in the streets with their cellphones.The crowd reached four million in two days because of "text messaging power". On the third day, January 17, 2001, the military from both camps decided to back the millions of people who were camped for the last three days and nights in the streets. On the same day, the Philippine president was forced to resign and hand over power peacefully to his Vice President (now President) Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Can text messaging be used as a political tool? YES. If text messaging was capable of bringing together the critical mass of a political crowd capable of toppling a President, then I would think that it can be a powerful political medium. Of course, a lot depends on the culture of the people but in Asia, text messages are taken seriously whether they are plain gossip or valid news. The same could work in the Western world , after all, don't most western texters subscribe to mobile news like CNN or BBC to know if there is anything "big" happening?

PC World: for a tech blog, it's quite sad that you are seven years tardy. Been there, done that, saw the movie, bought the T-shirt!