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Tuesday, 5 June, 2001, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Will txt msgs get a result?

Political parties are now using txt msgs and e-mails to try to encourage voters to go to the polls. BBC News Online's Megan Lane decided to give the parties some of their own medicine by text messaging them out of the blue. How did they respond?

First off I identified a campaign organiser from each of the main parties. Then, by fair means, I got hold of their mobile phone numbers, and sent them the following message. I intentionally wrote it in "txt".



HI IM MEGAN FROM BBC NEWS ONLINE. R U UP 4 A TXT INTRVW? I WS WNDRING IF U THNK TXT MSGS WILL B AN EFFCTIV VOTE WINNER? PLS RSVP! :-)

How did they respond? A deafening silence. Not a sqk out of them. So I rang them to find out what was going on.

Labour: The party's media people can be notoriously cagey about giving out their mobile numbers, so we consider it something of a coup to have secured that of spokesman Steve Bates.

He is, however, less than enthusiastic at the idea of being interviewed by text message.

"It'll take me ages to tap out my answers. I'll get bored," he grumps. But fair play to the man, he agrees to do it.

And here's what he said: I AM UP 4 IT TXT IS FST N FUN REM 2 VTE LAB ON THURS :-)


Conservative: Our chosen textee from Conservative Central Office sounded, dare we suggest, somewhat amused by our text message.

Text message
Texting the parties
"I use text messages all the time, so I got it straight away."

So why hasn't she replied? She says she's reluctant to speak for the party on the issue.

"I don't give out this number, so I'm not particularly happy about being interviewed on my mobile."


Liberal Democrats: Communications director David Walters says he never uses text messages - and points out that journalists typically phone or page him with questions.

"This is a new phone, and I'm not familiar with the technology yet. It's probably my age - I'm 53 - but I will learn to use text messages after this election."

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