A folkloristic/textological study of pre-election circular SMSes.
Initially SMS, the short text-containing message sending system of cellular phones, served the purpose of personal communication. Nevertheless, as mobile phones have been catching on, the SMS has started to function in other ways (e.g., as replacement for postcards, news service, and even as a means of mass communication). Unexpectedly, SMS was given an important role during the 2002 parliamentary elections in Hungary. Between the two election rounds, campaigning was also going on via SMS (circular SMSes). Nearly all the 300 important messages of the two weeks have been documented. The results of the present research on election SMSes are as follows: (a) formerly observed phenomena of folklore or folklore-like texts have received a new medium; (b) the new type of spoken language usage has been strengthened; (c) SMS as a medium has been extended and put to new types of uses; (d) it follows the organisation of public mass communication; (e) it differs from the private language use of SMSes; (f) colourful linguistic humour and political talk in terms of experiences have appeared; (g) the SMS led to a total election campaign and it may have had an effect on the election results.
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