SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

New Thai PM addresses nation with SMS

Posted by Admin on December 18, 2008

News from Thailand’s Bangkok Post proves that technology and politics goes further than Messrs Obama and McCain on Twitter, and Prime Minister Brown on YouTube.

Following his appointment to the position of Prime Minister on Monday, former-Etonian Abhisit Vejjajiva (did you know he was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne) issued the below statement via text message in an attempt to engage with Thailand’s voting public.

“I am the new prime minister, and I would like to lead Thailand out of crisis. If you are interested, please contact me by sending your postal code back to this number.”

The above is an English translation so we can’t help but wonder whether he used ‘txt-spk’ in the Thai message?

Language aside, this appears to be an excellent idea at face value. Mobile phones ownership rates are so high that SMS is an incredibly effective and efficient method of conveying a message to the electorate. No amount of money or campaign volunteers could rival the sheer exposure of one, simple message.

However, before we begin endorsing copy cat schemes, leading Thai newspaper The Nation is reporting that Prime Minister Abhisit’s actions were illegal.

“Under the telecommunication law, mobile phone operators are banned from releasing the list of subscribers without their consent.”

Abhisit’s advisory team was either naively unaware of the law, or else cynically disregarded it to sent one message, which was more that adequate to reach the public. With Thai voters fiercely divided between the two main parties and an election expected soon, it will be interesting to see if the SMS spam kick-starts or hinders his campaign.


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