571,795 texts wins Jessica Simpson visit to high school

You’ve heard of these stupid text competitions, right? American radio stations absolutely love them.

They dangle some sort of celebrity visit to whatever school manages to text in the most votes.

There’s no skill involved. You just have to be celebrity obsessed enough to get your fellow students to text your school name (or similar) to the radio station shortcode.

571,795 texts were sent by Pleasant View High School students in Utah. (“UTAH SAINTS, UH UH UH UH-TAH SAINTS,” anyone?)

[Insert obligatory Jessica Simpson picture]

In other years I would have been very impressed at what this says about the medium of text in America. It’s well and truly integrated into teenage life there.

However I have to wonder at the boring, repetitive nature of these competitions.

Pleasant View Elementary has 601 students. Isn’t Google useful? By the way, I can also tell you that this morning (PDF link!), the students of Pleasant View are eating a Choice of Cereal, Fruit or Fruit Juice, Toast & Jelly (“Jam” I assume), Milk and a ‘k snack yogurt’. Next Wed it’s Pancakes!

Anyway, let’s do the math.

That is 951 texts per student.

I’m not saying it wasn’t worth it to have Jessica parade about your school. She even sat down and had a ‘private visit’ with two of the top texters before ‘fielding questions from students in the gym.’ But how BORING.

Did students simply spend every free moment texting ‘Jessica Pleasant View High School’ (or similar)? Hardly an academic achievement. Indeed it would have probably been far more effective to have had a chat to OpenMarket or MX Telecom and asked them to dump 600,000 text messages into the radio station’s shortcode. At five cents a message, that’d have cost about $28,600. Goodness knows how many messages — in total — were sent into the radio station. Although if they’re able to get a cent-a-message in aggregator revenue share, it could be quite profitable for them.

Whilst on site at the school, Jessica talked about reliance on family, friends and faith to handle the public scrutiny that comes with her fame — so reports Associated Press. I’m sure she also discussed the benefits and critical relevance of her entertainment lawyers, promoters and public relations professionals.

And just in case you’re not sold on Jessica Simpson, I refer you to a comment posted on Jessica’s fan site by user, Kristy:

I’m a fan (and you should be too) because…Jessica has good morals. She has completed all her goals and has worked hard for them. Unlike others like her, she does not need to do anything to improve her career. Overall she is true proof of a real down to earth girl, that knows how to work for what she wants.

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