A colleague of mine here at Silverpop was born and raised in New Orleans. His family still lives there and has been hit very hard by Hurricane Katrina. As they begin rebuilding their lives, an unlikely story of the power of SMS has emerged that is worth re-telling. In Stephen's own words:
" ...In New Orleans during the days after Katrina, the only reliable form of distance communications was SMS. Voice calls on mobile phones overwhelmed the network, but as people in New Orleans moved through areas with service, they were able to send and receive SMS messages.
"Several people I spoke with over the weekend who never used SMS before said they quickly learned how. They all said they likely will continue to use it.
"My family is now using it to communicate with my brother in the National Guard. He is posted there with National Guard members from all over the country who are using the same technology to communicate with their friends and family."
Stephen also told me his sister-in-law said she and everybody she knows used text messaging during the aftermath of the hurricane, most of them for the first time. She was able to locate several friends that way.
For Americans, SMS is slowly making its way into our daily lives. Stories like this will continue to pique the interest of potential new users, and the momentum will only continue. I write this from our London office this week, and SMS is already here--it's nearly ubiquitous.
If you do online marketing for a living, get ready for SMS. It's coming ... and probably sooner than you think.
P.S. Silverpop has two families hit hard by the hurricane. My thoughts go out to both Stephen's and Ann's families.