Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

The power of text messaging


This past Sunday evening I was sitting comfortably on my sofa talking to my father on the phone, when my daughter (16 years old) came in and sat down. She had her cell phone in her hand and was looking at me like she wanted to talk. I finished up the call with my dad when she told me why she was sitting there. She told me that Gordon B. Hinckley, the president of our church, had died less than two hours earlier. She had received six text messages from her friends within the previous few minutes. While I was saddened by President Hinckley’s passing, I was amazed by how quickly word was spreading. I was impressed by the effects technology has on our ability to communicate.

That’s not the end of the story. The next morning I was eating breakfast and my daughter walked into the kitchen wearing a dress. I asked her why she was wearing a dress to school and she told me she was “dressing up” to honor President Hinckley’s life. She and her friends had texted each other and decided they would all dress up in “Sunday best” (girls in dresses and boys in white shirt/tie).

It turns out it wasn’t just my daughter and her friends, but thousands of students who had decided to dress up for school. And the way they all knew to do it was through the medium of text messaging. In a few short hours thousands of “kids” had made a decision about what to wear to school. The way teenagers communicate today (text messaging, chat, etc.) is impressive.

No less remarkable is the fact that teenagers would dress up in honor of a man who was 97 years old at his passing. Gordon B. Hinckley was a great leader and had the ability to connect with people of all ages. Check out the tributes coming in from around the world.

2 thoughts on “The power of text messaging

  1. Mike, I had a similar experience this week as my wife and I both received text messages within a few hours of President Hinckley’s death while we were cruising in the Caribbean. Teens are really into this form of communication, and I’m finding more and more that this is a tool for effective parenting. Some parents resist this trend, but what kinds of powerful things will start happening as teens and their parents find a new way to keep those lines of communication open.

  2. Mike, I had a very similar experience to Dr. Paul who commented above. I too was cruising on the Caribbean with him and a group of other couples on a seminar based retreat to enhance our marriages. Not more than a couple of hours after we set sail, we received a call from another couple on the ship who had received a text message with the same information.

    The amazing part to me was that we were already out of range of the cell towers and other land-based communication towers. The ship had its own satelite link to land communication systems.

    While I realize that there are also downsides to having these communication tools so close at hand, such as spending more time in the cyber world rather than in face-to-face communication, there are also so many wonderful benefits.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

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