Nov 2, 2009

Texting and Social Movements

The Manuel Castells reading, “the Mobile Civil Society: Social Movements, Political Power, and Communications Networks” discusses how mobile communications can be used to facilitate social movements and political change. Castells cites several examples mobile communications used for social and political change around the world, including how the People Power II protest in the Philippines used texting and mobile communications to help over throw the corrupt Erap Estrada. While texting played huge part in organizing and mobilizing the protest, Castells makes it very clear that there were other forces at work including the Catholic Church and several anti-Estrada blogs.

I really enjoyed reading this article. I think that texting is often over-looked by academia and older generations as an obsessive fad for teenagers and 20somethings. My parents (who have probably sent a combined total of maybe ten text messages in their entire lives) always ask me and my younger nephew and neice why we don’t just call each other instead of meticulously typing in text message. We keep trying to tell them how ideal texting is for brief messages when you don’t want to be overheard. Of course, we utilize these qualities for talking to our friends during work or class, but texting is a really great way to quickly communicate a short message to a large group of people.

Some parents may not get it, but the media definitely have picked up on it. Texting is made out to be a secretive way to get information. I’ve also noticed that texting and mobile communications are used a lot in action movies for characters to quietly convey clues, tips, and messages to each other, though usually this functions more as a product placement than as a crucial plot point.

Texting has also been added to MTV’s Room Raiders 2.0, the “high-tech” improvement of the original Room Raiders where a young single goes through the rooms of three potential dates without actually seeing them. A texting phone and a lap top were added to the Room Raiders’ “spy kit.”
I’ve also seen commercials on TV for the newest version of the board game Clue: Secrets and Spies where players can get additional clues delivered via text message to their phone.

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