May 23, 2005

Celebrating a band, a rock star and his message

Originally posted by emily from, reBlogged by ts

Bono asked people to take out mobile phones instead of lighters
[photo by Sunil]

U2’s Bono in concert continues to solicit his fans to pull out their cell phones and hold them aloft, to fill the stadium with the soft blue glow of the phones’ displays.

And standing in United Center on May 12 was like standing in a moonlit field, gazing at a velvet canvas of stars. About a quarter to a third of the 24,000 U2 fans raised their phones.

Then, above the stage, the phrase, “Text your name to UNITE (86483) appeared, the One Campaign to raise awareness about global poverty and AIDS.”

Would people spend more time fumbling with their phones than absorbing the concert?

Would all 24,000 fans text in, connecting themselves to a rock star, his cause and the thousands of strangers who sincerely want to change the world?

Yes, it turns out. There were 1,980 names text messaged to UNITE that evening, according to representatives of Sun Microsystems. At every stop on U2’s tour, the networking company is charged with collecting the text-messaged names.

Thousands of people digitizing the time-honored flame tribute, bonding by text message even though they had different wireless carriers and celebrating a band, a rock star and his message.