The mobile phone is the hot new and powerful channel that savvy marketers are all talking about. It's already huge in the UK and parts of Europe and is about to unleash itself in the US too.

So what's it all about then?

As well as being able to use your mobile to make phone calls, you can use it to send and receive text messages or SMS (Short Message Service, for you jargon junkies).

This has been widely and passionately adopted by consumers--initially youth groups but spreading rapidly throughout the age spectrum. Adoption has been driven by the fact that SMS is cheap and convenient. It's also discrete, a bit like passing secret notes in school!

A Social Phenomenon

SMS has had a significant impact socially and culturally, too. A new language has emerged, which can be indecipherable to those not in the know. Examples might be:

R U up 4 it? (Are you up for it?) Cant w8 4 2nite. (I can't wait for tonight.) C U L8R. (I'll see you later.)

And emoticons are prevalent, such as the smiley J and more arcane ones like ;@) -- or, pig!!

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Russell Buckley Mr. Buckley <> is a leading author, speaker and consultant on Mobile Marketing in the UK.