WHERE the internet has yet to take firm root, people plump for the next-best thing. In many emerging markets this means text messaging. Customers have embraced the short message service (SMS) not just to communicate with each other, but also to get weather forecasts, bus schedules and traffic information, or to vote in television talent shows. Authorities use it for public announcements. Companies text targeted advertising. India even has a rudimentary SMS-based social network.
The reason texting isn’t even more popular in such places has to do with the fact that—despite indignant claims in some quarters that texting is killing literacy—texters must be able to read and write. Continue reading