Yoza presentation given at NetExplo awards

Below is the presentation given by Steve Vosloo at the Netexplo Awards in Paris, 15 February  2013. It contains the latest stats on Yoza as well as examples of other mobile reading initiatives that have published Yoza stories or perhaps benefited from lessons learned by creating Yoza. The more reading and writing that happens via mobile the better!

Yoza wins NetExplo Award

Yoza Cellphone Stories is extremely proud to be a winner of the prestigious Netexplo Award in Paris.

Netexplo Award Winner“Every year the Netexplo global observatory of digital innovations identifies the latest and most promising projects and experiments on every continent through its international network of more than 200 spotters. This initial material, comprised of several hundred projects, companies and technologies, is then analyzed in greater depth. A college of international experts next selects the 100 most interesting cases, forming the annual Netexplo 100.”

There is even a short video describing the project.

Steve Vosloo receiving the NetExplo Award for Yoza Cellphone Stories

Steve Vosloo receiving the NetExplo Award for Yoza Cellphone Stories

Congratulations to the other winners for 2013.

Yoza nominated for WSA Mobile

In September last Yoza Cellphone Stories was nominated for a World Summit Award for Mobile Content.

The goal of WSA Mobile is “selecting the world’s most outstanding mobile apps, putting UN-WSIS targets into action. WSA mobile is a global initiative that awards local apps with global relevance. It selects outstanding mobile content and promotes it on a global congress in Abu Dhabi.”

WSA Mobile Award Nominee

While Yoza did not make the finals, it was a great honour to represent South Africa in the global contest.

Teenage collaborative writing workshop

Over the last few months, Yoza editor-in-chief, Louise McCann has been leading a collaborative story writing workshop with four teenagers from Khayelitsha. Anthony Baatjies, Zandile Ntlatli, Christopher Mzamo and Lamla Nyikila have produced the m-novel Someone like me for publication on Yoza.

Read the Mobook Story Co-Lab Report about the writing workshop.

What does “number of reads” mean?

To calculate how many times our m-novels are read we look at the number of page views of the last chapter (assumption: if a reader is on the last chapter of a story then he or she has read all previous chapters). Every time someone loads the last chapter, the page view count is incremented. A problem here is that if a user leaves a comment, then she will go the last chapter (page view+1), post her comment, and then see the last chapter reloaded (page view+1 again). So she is racking up two page views, but would’ve most likely only read the chapter once. Clicking “Back” can also reload a page that probably isn’t being read, again pushing up the page view count.

To mitigate against this we reduce the page views by a factor to arrive at an estimated figure for number of genuine reads. Since September 2009 that factor has been one third, meaning that if the last chapter had 3,000 page views then we say that it has been read 2,000 times. The one third factor stemmed from Kontax 1, where we had 94,185 page views of chapter 1 in it’s first month of publication, but only 63,310 subscribers had added Kontax as a MXit contact. (For more on this see the report by Dr Marion Walton titled Mobile literacies & South African teens: Leisure reading, writing, and MXit chatting for teens in Langa and Guguletu). Today, on Yoza, there are more subscribers than page views on most chapters (the opposite situation to Kontax 1). Furthermore, the number of comments posted on a chapter is vastly below the number of page views for that chapter (usually the number of comments is about 3% the number of page views on a chapter — and that’s for the most commented on chapters). This means that the number of non-reading page view increments due to users posting comments is very low. Lastly, the Yoza interface is also better than with Kontax, meaning fewer Back clicks are needed.

Given this shift, our page view reduction factor is changing from 33% to 10%, which is probably still higher than it should be (but rather be safe than sorry!) So, from now on when we say the number of reads of a particular story was 9,000, it means that the page view count of the last chapter was 10,000. The new reduction factor can be applied to all Yoza statistics since it launched on 22 August 2010.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 7,600 times in 2010. That’s about 18 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 30 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 50 posts. There were 23 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 21mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was August 25th with 153 views. The most popular post that day was Press release: Launch of Yoza m-Novel Library.


Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were twitter.com, shuttleworthfoundation.org, innovatingeducation.wordpress.com, vosloo.net, and facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for m4lit, m4lit project, kontax, book logo, and literature survey for project.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Press release: Launch of Yoza m-Novel Library August 2010


About the project August 2009


Reports March 2010


Literature Survey September 2009


Read the m-novels April 2010

What Do You Want from Yoza? The Yoza Community Responds

Launched 22 August 2010, Yoza Cellphone Stories is now more than 100 days old!

From 2009, when the pilot phase of the m4Lit project was kicked off, our m-novels have collectively been read more than 60,000 times and our readers have posted more than 40,000 comments.

Now you can imagine the growth in terms of diversity in preference and taste of our readers  who come to Yoza to be entertained, stimulated and more importantly, learn something new from an m-novel of their choice.

Seeking the guidance of our Yoza community, we asked them “What do you want from Yoza” and we awarded the THREE best suggestions with a prize of R500 worth of airtime each.

We received 600 entries and it was interesting to see just how many readers took this as an opportunity to suggest one or more genre of their liking.

Genre requests included: Historical fiction – “about famous South Africans that many youth don’t know about”, Classical (as in Edwardian, Victorian etc), Crime and Fantasy.

Along with our readers just suggesting a genre or two, they made sure to add their ideas on topics they would like to read about it, as seen in the word cloud above.

On improvements, there was definitely a consensus from the Yoza community that there should be more m-novels, more frequent releases of new m-novels, and m-novels written in indigenous South African languages. See below for the full list of improvements suggested by our readers…

  • More stories
  • Longer stories and chapters
  • Publish frequently
  • More chapters per story
  • A logo that better reflects the stories
  • More Sisterz stories
  • More Confessions stories
  • Like the educational aspect of the stories
  • “Better” plot resolution at the end
  • Some like daily chapter
  • Two chapters a day?
  • More Afrikaans
  • More indigenous languages
  • Image for each chapter

Some very well thought and interesting additions were proposed by our readers too. To these suggestions:

  • Print books of Yoza stories
  • Choose/write your own story endings
  • “Create chat rooms where users can chat about the situations in the particular story (not just comment).
  • Yoza Poems section (read, write, vote)
  • Advice column about issues
  • Quizzes
  • Chapter notification
  • Book reviews
  • Showcase user writing
  • Downloadable content

The THREE winning suggestions were:

Phumelela from Cape Town who wrote:

“ur stories are very interesting and nice, when u start reading them just can’t wait till the next day in order to read the next chapter. Maybe u guys should release 2 chapters a day, and just try and make ur stories longer, i’ve learned alot from the stories that i’ve read, every teenager can relate to ur stories, maybe u should do a story based on xenophobia, AIDS, or just the violence that happens around our communities.”

Astrid from Kempton Park who wrote:

“It would be cool if the reader could choose the way they want the story to go. That is, not strictly have chapters following one another, but options. So at the end of a passage, have ”latoya leans in for a kiss….” or ”latoya backs away,crying….” etc. as options, and so the viewer chooses the way they want the story to develop. Also, it would be cool if the commentary could take place at a set time in a multimix type of environment, because it is sort of difficult to comment in response to the comments of others. Thanks :)”

Kirthi from Durban who wrote:

“Today its obvious that mostly teenagers use mxit and read the stories. As an 18 year old girl who went through a lot during high school,i personally think that the stories should be bowt real ‘dramas’ as some people call it. And have logical happy endings which can guide other teenagers and help them through their difficult times. If i could give advice to younger girls out there i would,bt these stories can and would put a lot of girls in a better position.thank you”

In conclusion, most of the suggestions were well thought out and showed us just how interested and aware of Yoza readers are. Thank you to all those who participated!


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