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12 questions to Emily Turrettini of Textually.org

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I, like a ton of people, have been reading Emily Turrettini’s Textually.org for years.  More recently, I’ve also been a fan of her picturephoning.com (dedicated to camera/video enabled mobiles) and Ringtonia.com which focuses on mobile music.

She been publishing on the internet for over 10 years so I’m not surprised to see that Google lists 46,500 pages containing the phrase "Emily Turrettini".  A browse through the first 10 pages of results surely demonstrates Emily’s been around the block when it comes to the web, blogging and observing trends in mobile.   That, and the 11,000 mobile-related entries across her blog sites.

Way back in 2003, I can remember being tickled pink at Emily posting a note (this one) about our Impulse SMS-text-to-screen service which we’d recently launched.  I was quite startled by the response we got from that one blog post and I was immediately hooked as a subscriber.  Soon after I began not to bother obsessively reading traditional ‘old media’ like New Media Age here in the UK — while they sometimes carried interesting stuff, Textually.org repeatedly trumped them all and still does.  If we had news to get out, my priority was to hope that Emily published it.  So, when we launched Text-A-Vet, I was stoked when Textually covered it.

It is with this in mind that I also hoped Emily would take some time out and answer a few questions I had from her.  Her posts are always direct and succinct — so I wanted to know a little more about her. 

Here we go:

1. When did you start Textually.org — what was your motivation?
Textually.org is a network of 3 blogs related to cell phones and they launched in February of 2003.  I had been publishing an SMS Chronicle in French on my blog Netsurf.ch for three years previously. I figured the time was ripe to publish cell phone news in English – after reading Americans were voting on American Idol by SMS.

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2. What was your first mobile phone? When did you get it?

It was a Nokia 6110 in 1999.

3. Describe your current mobile setup — e.g. phones/3g data cards? (Please don’t tell me you use a 5 year old Nokia!)

I have a Nokia 6111, I change phones every six months. It’s actually not the latest model, nor as sophisticated as my previous phone, but it’s the friendliest, most fun phone I’ve ever had. I have access to Vodafone Live, but find it tedious to navigate and video offerings are still slim.


4. If you’re on a train or have a spare five minutes, what do you use your mobile for?

(e.g. mobile web, texting, moblogging?)

Texting only if I need to. Talking disturbs the other passengers. I generally read.

5. You’ve got a huge archive of content on textually.org.  Could you pick three memorable posts from your archive and comment on them?

Impossible! Between the three blogs, there are over 11’000 entries. But I just blogged a great cell phone isolation concept found on WMMNA called "The mobile Scarf". Definitely my favorite today.

(e.g. perhaps you might pick 3 innovative services or products that you wrote about a few years ago?)
I’ll answer this one on the light side.

From the archives:
– The breast enlarging ringtone from Japan was an all time favorite
– More recently the teen buzz ringtone, inaudible to anyone over 20
– Though I’ve never seen it work, I Iove the idea of air messages, like SK Telecom’s Air Beam service that displays text messages in the air or Nokia’s 3222 model which allows a similar feature which they call wave messaging.
– A cell phone signal jamming device which is actually not a device but simply wall paper

6. Which would you rather receive on your birthday:
a) A birthday card
b) A birthday text message
c) A birthday MMS video
d) A birthday phone call

A phone call.

7. Do you have any pets?
Just wild ducks – from June through October.

8. What’s the most exciting mobile service/product you have seen this week?
I thought this was interesting technically, though humiliating for employees. NTTDotComo just announced a breath-alcohol sensor for cell phones, so bus and trucking companies can tell from remote locations if their drivers have been drinking. The driver breathes into the sensor and the results of the test are transmitted via FOMA’s network to a personnel manager’s computer.

9. What is your ringtone?
The theme song from The OC as a general ringtone. My son’s caller ID ringtone is 24’s CTU phone ring and my husbands caller ID ringtone is a song from Alain Souchon. My text message alert says "Anybody there?".

10.  What’s the last album you bought and the last movie you saw at the cinema?
I just bought a CD with songs by Serge Reggiani. Last movie "Volver".

11. Suggest a mobile blog that we should be reading?
Mine of course and all the links on my blogroll. My favorite mobile blog of the moment is  http://21talks.net/

12. What is the best thing and the worst thing about the mobile industry?
I’m more interested in the way people use their phones than what goes on between the industry players. In terms of usage, there are so many wonderful things to say in favor of cell phones – In our part of the world we think mostly of how they have made our lives so much simpler, always being able to reach someone when needed – parent/child, friend, business partner. But elsewhere or for certain minorities like the hearing impaired, they are truly a God send.

And in developing nations, they are contributing to drive the economy and bridge the digital divide. Also, cell phones have proven to be an empowerment tool, enabling activists to organize, assemble and demonstrate, or get the message out if a government or politician is playing foul. Some day hopefully when it happens, cell phones will be recognized as one of the factors in bringing down the North Korean government, as word gets out or gets into the country through cell phones. Governments can no longer enforce total blackouts – not for long.  And also wonderful, through text messaging campaigns, charities have a new and easy way to raise money.

The worst usage of cell phones is everything involving the dark side of human nature. Happy slapping, violation of privacy issues, abusive sousveillance, terrorists using cell phones as remote controls to detonate bombs…

Well, thank you Emily for taking the time to answer my questions! 

Emily Turrettini links:

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

One reply on “12 questions to Emily Turrettini of Textually.org”

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