One of the first things that my Shanghai friend did when I first arrived here last October was to add me to his 飞信 Fetion “good friend” list, so he could send me SMS for free from the PC. I, on the other hand, didn’t quite understand how it worked and have conveniently “forgotten” it until today.
I’ve always wanted to try a research method whereby the researcher sends the respondents SMS at different parts of the day as a cue for them to take pictures of where they are and/or what they’re doing. It’d give rich insight into someone’s daily lifestyle. So, we’re gonna do this for our upcoming project here in China, and 飞信 came to mind again. I decided to thoroughly explore it to see if it can fulfill my need of sending free messages to a group of people at scheduled times. Voila! It does just that, as long as the recipients accept me as a “good friend” (no problem since they already agree to the project) and are China Mobile customers (well, about 80% of the mobile population here is on China Mobile)
I just sent a few scheduled messages to myself, all have arrived on time and in perfect order. Wonderful. Tomorrow, I’ll test on a group, from Shanghai to Beijing. I’m excited.
It’s amazing how well-developed and robust the services offered by countries like China which had leapfrogged into the mobile era, that they put “developed” nations to shame. What about those M-pesas and so on types of services thriving in Africa and Bangladesh – so poor, but so rich in mobile experiences we could be learning from them.