And another thing...

HELLO. TIME'S UP. A recent survey by Akamai Technologies confirmed something Web site developers probably already knew: You have four seconds to win your audience.

That's less time than you used to have and, most likely, more time than you will have. The survey of frequent Internet shoppers found that 75 percent said they would not return to a site that took four seconds to load. They also grow quickly frustrated with sites that are hard to navigate or slow to complete transactions.
The Akamai survey focused on regular online shoppers, but it's reasonable to assume their general attitudes are shared by visitors to other sites, such as those representing agencies. So, grab your audience fast.

NEARLY INSTANT MESSAGING. Handheld users have a new speed target to shoot for. A student in Singapore recently broke the Guinness World Record for fastest text messaging, typing a 160-character Short Message Service missive in 41.52 seconds, shattering the old record of 42.22 (and they say geeks aren't athletes). Ang Chuang Yang, 16, told Reuters the secret was all in the equipment, using a phone with fairly large keys.

BUT WATCH WHAT YOU TYPE. Text messages are being used to foment trouble in Malaysia, to the extent that the government there is threatening to jail, without trial, anyone who spreads libelous or false information via text message. Recently, some Malays received messages telling of a Roman Catholic baptism ceremony at which Muslims would be converting. Actually, the ceremony was for about 100 non-Muslim ethnic Indians, but about 1,000 protestors showed up, creating what the government called a potential riot. With religious and racial tensions running high in the country, the government already had ordered a halt to public discussion on the matter, and now could put the clamps on electronic messages. On one hand, it could keep the streets calm, but rights groups point out that it could also be used to 'disappear' critics of the government'which, it's worth noting, is the sole arbiter in these cases of what constitutes libelous or false information.

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