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RNC04 in 160 Character Bytes

RNC04 in 160 Character Bytes

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Published by natdefreitas
This document is a review of activities that occurred during the Republican National
Convention, held in New York City, in late August of 2004. Specifically, this is a narrative
account of a mobile phone text messaging service provided by a team of activists
organized through the Ruckus Society. Text messaging was a new tool in the existing
established model of a communications center, and piggybacked on the use of Nextel
phones, walkie talkies, and media monitoring.

This document is a review of activities that occurred during the Republican National
Convention, held in New York City, in late August of 2004. Specifically, this is a narrative
account of a mobile phone text messaging service provided by a team of activists
organized through the Ruckus Society. Text messaging was a new tool in the existing
established model of a communications center, and piggybacked on the use of Nextel
phones, walkie talkies, and media monitoring.

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Published by: natdefreitas on Sep 02, 2008
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09/23/2010

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Messaging Through Distortion:“Textingat the RNC
BETA DRAFT
Ruckus SocietySeptember 2004
TextAlert@Ruckus.org
 
SummarySummarySummarySummaryThis document is a review of activities that occurred during the Republican NationalConvention, held in New York City, in late August of 2004. Specifically, this is a narrativeaccount of a mobile phone text messaging service provided by a team of activistsorganized through the Ruckus Society. Text messaging was a new tool in the existingestablished model of a communications center, and piggybacked on the use of Nextelphones, walkie talkies, and media monitoring.The team’s goal was to both play a useful role in supporting demonstrations occurringduring the week and to perform a trial of text messaging’s usefulness within an activistcontext. Throughout the week the text messaging service was utilized in a number ofdifferent ways. These can be analyzed to be the following:1. Broadcasting news and media alerts2. Creation of Adhoc, mobile communication teams3. Enable viral subscriber growth4. Instant send of strategic field alerts5. “Flash mobbing”6. Media on-air awareness7. Demonstration/Event RemindersThis document walks through a log of the messages sent and points out when and howthe seven applications of text messaging were utilized.THIS IS A BETA DRAFT. PLEASE SEND ANY COMMENTS TO TEXTALERT@RUCKUS.ORGTHIS IS A BETA DRAFT. PLEASE SEND ANY COMMENTS TO TEXTALERT@RUCKUS.ORGTHIS IS A BETA DRAFT. PLEASE SEND ANY COMMENTS TO TEXTALERT@RUCKUS.ORGTHIS IS A BETA DRAFT. PLEASE SEND ANY COMMENTS TO TEXTALERT@RUCKUS.ORG
 
The First MessageThe First MessageThe First MessageThe First Message
Aug 25 8:04PM here we go...RNC 2004 Text Alerts!
And so began the exploratory efforts of the Ruckus Society in facilitating the free flow ofinformation to assist citizens exercising their rights during the 2004 Republic NationalConvention in New York City. The message above was sent out to a group of about onehundred users who had immediately signed up for the RNC 2004 Text Alert Service(TAS) after we announced its availability. The coming days would see the service’senrollment grow more than six-fold. Through coordination with the TXTMob service, inparticular the NYC Comms and Indymedia Dispatch team, nearly five thousand people inNew York, and some around the country, received timely and strategic information tothe personal, mobile computing device in their pocket or purse called a “cellphone”.This document will review what was learned from that week through commentary andanalysis on the log of messages sent out to the subscribed users. Only the messagesfrom the Ruckus organized UPOC-based service will be included. A more completeanalysis would include messages from the various groups served through the TXTMobservice, and a cross-referencing off these messages to articles published throughIndymedia.Launch and Service DetailsLaunch and Service DetailsLaunch and Service DetailsLaunch and Service DetailsRuckus’ decision to utilize a text messaging service as a supplement to their plannedcomms-facilitation activities came late in the game- a mere two weeks before the RNC.While we had some knowledge of the service offering by TxtMob, it was decided that analternate, redundant, and complentary system wouldn’t be a bad idea. The excellentTxtMob service is a custom developed, privately hosted system, initially targetingactivists at the DNC and RNC. Ruckus chose to use UPOC, a well established commercialtexting system, with thoughts that it would be harder to be shutdown or interfered withby authorities seeking to disrupt the free flow of information.The TxtMob service uses the SMTP/email interface for sending messages, while theUPOC system uses a lower-level of integration into the mobile phone operators’network. This allows, for instance, UPOC to support the subscribing or joining of a textmessaging service simply by sending a short message “JOIN RNC” to a phone numbershort code “8762”. However, the issues with a commercial system are there- no abilityto modify features, little control of user management, and ultimate mercy to theinterests of a corporation. During the week of the RNC, some mobile phone operators(T-Mobile, Sprint) may have blocked TxtMob messages, while the Ruckus UPOC servicehad no apparent problems.The Texting BeginsThe Texting BeginsThe Texting BeginsThe Texting BeginsThe first use of texting during the week was to send out a news alert for the amazingaction at the Plaza hotel.
Aug 26 8:06PM Successful banner hang this morning at Plaza Hotel. Seehttp://questionauthority.org/nycplazaaction/  
This first use of texting provides inspiration through communicating successes ofdemonstrations and actions throughout the week. This was used later to alert protestorson the street that someone had successful made it inside Madison Square Garden:

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