The ubiquity of mobile text messaging means consumers can access information on anything from bank balances to train times via their mobile phones. Now, thanks to a Norwegian Internet consultancy, they will be able to exchange passages from the Bible with their friends on the move as well.
GospelSearch, which operates an international Christian portal, plans to publish a version of the Bible in ‘SMS speak’ in the hope that this will make it easier to understand for young people. The new Bible will have the traditional version on one side of the page, and an SMS version on the other.
Language experts have criticised GospelSearch’s plans, arguing that young people are perfectly familiar with the written word. But given the soaring popularity of text messaging as a communications medium, it is sure to be a success among the young and devout.
By contrast, the young and frisky are clearly looking for very different kinds of SMS-related services – but mobile phone company Vodafone has been told to stop pandering to their baser instincts. In October 2002, the UK Advertising Standards Authority cautioned Vodafone for a campaign it ran that encouraged consumers to “get the flirting over with before you get home – text”. The campaign’s implication that texting is considered a legitimate form of foreplay, alleged Vodafone, was based on solid research into the real-life mobile behaviour of young people. The ASA, by contrast, ruled that the ads were “sexually gratuitous, unsuitable to be seen by children, and likely to cause serious and widespread offence”.