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Obama's 2.9 million texts create online frenzy

By Jimmy Orr / August 26, 2008

Jake Turcotte

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Obama's now-legendary text message announcing the selection of vice presidential candidate Joe Biden has been discussed ad nauseum -- including here.

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Why bring it up again? We know now just how many text messages were sent out.

The folks over at Nielsen tell us that 2.9 million texts were sent out. It sounds impressive. And according to Nielsen, it is:

"The V.P. message was sent in the late hours of Friday night and is, by many accounts, the single largest mobile marketing event in the U.S. to date," a release from Nielsen read. "While much has been said of the timing and the scoop by news outlets, Obama's V.P. text-message still ranks as one of the most important text messages ever sent and one of the most successful brand engagements using mobile media."

Online political pundits agree. This was a success. And if you signed up, get ready for more says the Obama campaign. Nick Shapiro, a spokesman at the Obama campaign told ABC News:

"Moving forward, we're going to continue to keep our supporters engaged with our valuable two-way communication tool," he said

This valuable two-way communications tool spawned an enormous amount of media coverage, not to mention the viral conversation it started.

The Obama text underground...

The text event generated a life of its own. Enter "Obama text message" into Google and 983,000 results pop up. It's a lot of reading but, in short, there are forums, web pages, articles, and even videos discussing the issue.

One of the most entertaining is an account of a fictitious lawsuit against the Obama campaign from an unemployed bricklayer named Manley Scott. In the fictitious (repeated for emphasis) account, Scott didn't receive the text and filed suit. The article comes complete with fictitious quotes from Senator McCain and FOX News anchor Sean Hannity:

"First he says he'll send Manley a text message, then he changes his mind and doesn't," said Sean Hannity of Fox News, "this kind of flip flopping is proof Obama is not ready to be President."
"Textgate is a classic example of why Obama is not fit to be commander in chief," said John McCain from one of his many houses. "When we should be bombing Iran, he would be fiddling with one of those new fangled cell phones, trying to order some arugula."

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