June 12, 2004

Text Message Revolution

cap_030.jpgThis quote is exactly the kind of thing I like to hear out of social software, and helps back up my previous hypothesis about North Korea's motivations for banning cellphones. The claim that it has to do with preventing remotely activated bombs is foolish, irrational, and laughable.

nkcensorship.gif"Ohmynews is a website in South Korea that employs 26,000 citizen-reporters. Those citizen-reporters and their readers vote on which articles should appear on the front page. It's wildly popular, particularly among the young cybergeneration. Earlier this year, Ohmynews did something remarkable. The candidate that was favored by many of their readers and reporters was behind in the polls in the days before Korea's Presidential election, and the exit-polls in the early hours showed him losing. A call to action on Ohmynews led to readers sending nearly a million emails to their friends, urging them to get out and vote, along with an uncounted number of text messages to their friends' telephones. That unprecedented online get-out-the-vote effort tipped the election and the first interview President-elect Roh gave was to Ohmynews."

Basically what this indicates to me is that North Korea's neighbor has recently had a change in government directly due to improvements in communication in the form of the internet and cellphones. While censoring the internet is easy, censoring text messages is almost impossble unless you restrict or outlaw cellphones.

In any case, while North Korea's citizens are being held back in the dark ages, their goverment is still watching.


In related news, Italy takes the opposite approach, and spams it's hipster crowd with pro-voting text messages.

[Link from Howard Rheingold]

Posted by nym at June 12, 2004 10:50 PM | TrackBack