On Message: Caribbean Audiences Are Coming Together, One Text at a Time

By Jones, Danielle A. | Communication World, May-June 2010 | Go to article overview

On Message: Caribbean Audiences Are Coming Together, One Text at a Time


Jones, Danielle A., Communication World


Text on the beach. In the Caribbean, this is not a cocktail. It's the reality. Mobile messaging has the Caribbean in a tight grip--and the Caribbean is gripping back. On Trinidad and Tobago, the number of text messages sent per day exceeds the size of the population (1.3 million), and companies are increasingly bringing the technology into their communication mix to keep internal and external audiences texting to their own beat.

Mobile phones are as common in the Caribbean as beautiful beaches. Larger islands such as Trinidad and Tobago boast mobile-phone penetration rates of more than 100 percent, with most users having more than one active mobile phone. This is due largely to low rates for usage and the decreasing costs of handsets. Text messages cost less than US$0.10 each, and in some instances you can text for free. Add a voracious appetite for information (which travels fast in small communities), and you'll see why the Caribbean is getting hooked on text.

Though the use of smart-phones such as BlackBerry devices and iPhones is increasing, the average mobile phone user in Trinidad and Tobago prefers texting to e-mail or e-based mobile communication. Today, you send a text to find your mas (Carnival) band on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, get the movie schedule, or vote for your favorite soca star (soca is a modern form of calypso music).

The convenience of texting is carrying over into the workplace--but not everyone appreciates it. "In the Caribbean, we are already a Laid-back people," says one Trinidadian in her 60s. "Now you are waiting in line to conduct business and seeing customer service staff texting away on their phones."

"It's easy to sneak a text at work," says Janine, a clerical assistant at an insurance company. "The irony is, sometimes I'm texting my boss!"

The initial response from employers? Antiquated, but not altogether unexpected: Many companies banned mobile phones at work. Schools set rules to confiscate phones on campus. But still, text usage is up.

Txt @ work ?

But text messaging isn't all about personal chit-chat. It also has applications for business. Enter the employee text program. As in North America and Europe, companies in the Caribbean text customers. People text each other. Wudn't it be GR8 if U could leverage txt @ work?

U can.

For less than the cost of printing one issue of an employee newsletter or outsourcing the design of an e-magazine, you can fund an employee text program for a year and drive traffic to more content-rich channels. In challenging work conditions, texting can provide easy solutions to stressful situations, with

a high return on investment.

On the customer side, texting can provide real-time information, drive customers to your web site or even engage them in social responsibility initiatives. For example, the Caribbean mobile companies Bmobile (affiliated with telecommunication giant Cable & Wireless) and Digicel held text-based fundraising campaigns for Haitian earthquake relief that continue to raise millions of dollars.

Text messaging is also playing a role in disaster aversion in the Caribbean. The Office of Disaster Preparedness in Trinidad and Tobago is testing text communication for emergency response, and plans to link it to social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Synergy between the communication channels is considered the key to the success of the planned launch of this campaign. "We affirm that text messaging combined with social networking media and other tools such as web sites must be used to keep citizens updated on how to plan and prepare to safeguard the lives of their friends, families, community and country," says Dike Noel, public information specialist at the Office of Disaster Preparedness.

The synergistic approach crosses island borders. Due to the size of the territories involved, emergency response often involves a multi-territory approach that is more easily coordinated with text messaging playing a supporting role to other communication channels. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

On Message: Caribbean Audiences Are Coming Together, One Text at a Time
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.