Of porn, cute cats and activism,; the measures of successful web 2.0 at Ethan Zuckerman writes of successful digital media.
I’d offer the hypothesis that any sufficiently advanced read/write technology will get used for two purposes: pornography and activism.
Text messaging by this premise is working.
As far as the Porn goes, "its a weak test for the success of participatory media - it’s like tapping a mike and asking, “Is it on?” If you’re not getting porn in your system, it doesn’t work.
I was naive when it came to the stories of txt counsellors, no they don't do the smiley face thing, and definitely no winking. The people who make calls just to get a sexual gratification find such inducements too enticing. So no-one gets the softening touch. And so txt counselling is shaped. Whats possible vs what could be misconstrued albeit by (thankfully) a very few. The work that goes into shaping a txt could be conceived as the missing the work, whats taken out.
Activism is a stronger test - if activists are using your tools, it’s a pretty good indication that your tools are useful and usable.Its the method of choice when the young person has no voice, or is scared of their own voice- hearing yourself saying your not coping can be a trauma in itself. Txting seems to make the personal aspect less threatening. I hear young people who text saying, there's stuff i say in txt that i wouldnt dream of saying outloud or 'to the person' (!). There is some sort of a cognitive dissonance thing going on here.
And then there is the cute cat syndrome.
Web 1.0 was invented to allow physicists to share research papers.
Web 2.0 was created to allow people to share pictures of cute cats.
They are a little harder to fit into the 160characters of the txt SMS, but so far I have received cute bears, so i am pretty sure it is ony because i dont have enough friends that i have yet to experience a cat in this realm...