Archive for January, 2010

m4Lit strategy ideas from Geek Retreat

At the Geek Retreat at Stanford Valley Lodge I brainstormed two key questions for the future of m4Lit. The idea generation was awesome (despite some Geek Retreaters being wildly hungover). Below is what we came up with.

1. How to grow Kontax? How to make it more “sticky”?

  • Learn from the Disney model: create characters as a brand in one channel, then take across multiple channels, e.g. TV, radio, merchandise.
  • Refer a friend / invite a friend.
  • Advertising: advertise in top youth sites (mobile and web) and MXit. What about Mig33, The Grid?
  • Campaign with youth brands, e.g. Levis or Coca Cola. Cross over from m-novel to physical product, e.g. Coke can, or virtual merchandise.
  • Run competition in schools, e.g. write a story or remix a Shakespeare dialogue. Competition where they draw the characters.
  • Incentivise viral marketing behaviour:
    • Readers get points when referring friends.
    • Or they get something of value, e.g. a wallpaper for download after referring 5 friends.
    • If we publish a Choose Your Own Adventure style story, when arriving at the end of a particular branch of the narrative, send that to a friend, e.g. “This is how my story ended — how will yours end?”
  • Quiz at the end of a chapter (this is also applicable to the Education version of the mobile library). Have a game aspect, e.g. a leader board.
  • Facebook:
    • Have a presence on FB using the Fan feature.
    • BUT it’s very easy for users to forget they’re fans and not revisit that page, so the story or site must give a reason to go to the Fan page, e.g. for the inside scoop on an event in the story or extra wallpapers.
    • Put up images of Kontax and tag them.
    • Write an app that allows users to read the story on FB; when adding the app invite friends; and when the user interacts with the story to post those activities into their newsfeed (status, profile, wall) so that all of their friends see it.
  • Host story multiple platforms, e.g. http://www.obami.com.

2. How to monetise Kontax?

  • Digital is free, pay for print (from print-on-demand service).
  • Merchandise! Virtual merchandise (paid for), e.g. ringtones, wallpapers, gossip channels.
  • If we charge for one story, e.g. 2010 Action, then don’t charge for the story alone but bundle it with a ringtone. Or buy a ringtone and get an alternative ending to the story.

A general suggestion: Make the story multidimensional, e.g. story links through to images, videos, chat, etc.

Overall, the weekend was great for networking, putting faces to Twitterer I follow, hearing about very cool projects — such as Cognician — and getting ideas for projects. I’ll definitely attend future retreats. See photos from the weekend.

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On txtng and language

In a 2007 article titled Has txt kild the ritn wd?, Geoff Strong (writing in The Age) makes a delicious contribution to the txtng and language debate.

Firstly, he describes the result of txtng as “an emotionally stunted, encrypted creole that has left language purists reaching for their smelling salts and linguistic adventurers salivating.”

Secondly, Strong quotes RMIT University’s Julie Faulkner, who studies trends in popular culture, to highlight the long history of coded communication in the English language: “The implication is that the language of Shakespeare has witnessed a decline but isn’t Shakespeare as heavily coded a form of communication as txt itself?”

Lastly, he says: “Linguistic puritans might moan and long for a golden era of “proper” usage but they forget Shakespeare invented every tenth word he wrote and we still use many of them daily from aggravate to homicide and submerge. Others he invented such as “tortive” meaning twisted and “vastidity” meaning immensity have dropped out of use. Unhandled exception and p(^-^)q could well suffer the same fate.”

Language is constantly changing, increasingly influenced by the medium of communication. Txtng is undeniably a part of that change, whether for the better or not.