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Ditched by an SMS' Join Federline’s club

New York, Nov. 10 (Reuters): Ur dumped, Kevin Federline — and you are now part of a growing club of spurned lovers who have been ditched by text message.

A video of Britney Spears’ soon-to-be ex-husband apparently getting a text message informing him the pop princess had filed for divorce became the most viewed item on the YouTube website yesterday, with more than 1 million hits.

The web video shows Federline taping a reality TV show and talking about Spears being his biggest fan — until he gets a text message. Then he puts his head in his hands, rips off his microphone and disappears, returning 30 minutes later visibly upset.

Spears, 24, abruptly filed for divorce from fledgling rapper Federline this week after two years of marriage — and two children — while he was filming in Canada.

Experts on cellphone and text message use and etiquette said Federline was not the first to be dumped by text — and certainly would not be the last with rising numbers of teen-agers and 20-somethings using text to avoid confrontation.

“People in their teens and 20s feel more comfortable using a text message to communicate something serious than having to confront someone,” said Delly Tamer, chief executive of online wireless retailer LetsTalk.com, which researches phone use.

“It is instant gratification — and delayed mortification. At some point they will have to yell at each other.”

In Britain, 95 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds use text messaging regularly. But it is only in the past year or so that it has soared in the US. Figures from CTIA — The Wireless Association said 12.5 billion text messages were sent in June this year, up 72 per cent from 2005. Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association is a trade group representing cellular and enhanced specialised mobile radio carriers.

A recent LetsTalk.com survey found 49 per cent of US teenagers now listed text messaging as the most important feature of a cellphone.

A 2004 survey by Swiss messaging services provider Sicap found 9 per cent of cellphone users admitted to having dumped a boyfriend or girlfriend by sending a text message.

Few YouTube viewers seemed to have much sympathy for Federline, although some acknowledged it was tough for the break-up to be so public.

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