AT&T’s It Can Wait texting campaign adds hashtag, sends unclear message
July 30, 2014
Given more than 5 million users have taken a pledge to avoid texting while driving, wireless carrier AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign has received a makeover with a mobile optimized Web site and a hashtag initiative aimed to resonate with social users and discourage texting while driving.
AT&T is asking smartphone users to use the hashtag #X to alert friends and family members when they are about to be driving and are not reachable. Among the many efforts made to discourage the dangerous habit, the hashtag implementation could have a reverse effect and encourage users to be more attached to their phones.
“This is a hot space right now, and there are other apps available that are based on speed,” said Anurag Lal, CEO at Infinite Convergence Solutions, Washington D.C. “For example, where if you're moving more than 5mph and a message comes through, it automatically sends a predetermined text saying you're unavailable.
“Either way, if you're actually sending the text yourself or if your phone is automatically sending it based on your speed, these efforts are aiding awareness even if they don't ultimately work.”
Mr. Lal is not affiliated with AT&T but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
AT&T did not respond by press deadline.
A controversial request
AT&T introduces the new hashtag with a YouTube video alongside the mobile optimization of its Web site, where users can find shortcut tutorials for making the hashtag #X easier to use in everyday life.