Yoza Cellphone Stories (NetExplo winner 2013)
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Yoza Cellphone Stories (NetExplo winner 2013)



Presented at NetExplo, Paris, 15 February 2013

Presented at NetExplo, Paris, 15 February 2013



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  • TNS Research Surveys. (2006). National Survey into the Reading and Book Reading Behaviour of Adult South Africans. Available at http://www.saccd.org.za/objects/sabdc_reading.pdf
  • Equal Education. (2009). EE rejects DoE's statement on school libraries. Available at http://www.equaleducation.org.za/press-a-views/press-releases/item/74-statement17dec2009 .
  • Dept of Basic Education, Republic of South Africa (2012). Available at http://www.education.gov.za/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=YyzLTOk5IYU%3D&tabid=298
  • Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/40042565@N06/3680282383/ License: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
  • Image: Steve Vosloo License: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
  • Images: www.kontax.mobi License: Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.5 South Africa
  • CC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/framesofmind/3810813873/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  • CC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbjones/4468257906/sizes/o/in/photostream/ Collaborative writing workshop Collaboratively written teen made-for-mobile novel set in Khayelitsha Real issues, real youth voices
  • 1.2m unique visitors. In SA, Tanzania and Kenya

Yoza Cellphone Stories (NetExplo winner 2013) Yoza Cellphone Stories (NetExplo winner 2013) Presentation Transcript

  • m-Novels for AfricaSteve VoslooNetExplo, Paris15 February 2013
  • The Yoza Project• Yoza enables reading, writing and engagement via mobile phones• South African project launched August 2009, initially funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation• Through Yoza, short stories, poems and classic literature are published on MXit and on a mobisite -- a website for mobiles• Highly interactive: users can comment, vote, enter writing competitions and review stories
  • yoza.mobiyozaproject.com View slide
  • What our users commented“Its great ... for me it really hard to pick up abook to start readin but i don mind readin onmy phone”dotty1 View slide
  • Background
  • 51%South African households that own no leisure books (TNS Research Surveys, 2006)
  • 7%Public schools in South Africa that have functional libraries of any kind (Equal Education, 2009)
  • 43%Percentage of Grade 9 learners that scored 50% or higher in home language tests (Dept of Basic Education, 2012)
  • Kontax on MXit (2009)
  • >63,000 subscribers>17,200 reads MXit statistics are for period 31 October to 26 November 2009
  • Yoza Cellphone Stories
  • Yoza today
  • “If friars plan wrks, then romeo wil b able 2cum nd take juliet wit hm 2 liv hapily 2geda atmantua bt if it fails, sumbdys gna b dead. Lol!”Elsie
  • “I loved the book, wish it didnt have an ending.Shakespear please bring another one like thisone. IT WAS MWAAAH!!”Blessed1
  • The basics• A growing library of titles: 31 m-novels, 18 poems, 5 Shakespeare plays• Some stories are serialised (a chapter a day) and every chapter of every story has a comment prompt or vote prompt• Stories in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa• Stories are free but costs for mobile data (less than 1c EUR per chapter)• All stories are either openly licensed (CC) or in the public domain
  • >575,000 reads>50,000 comments>200,000 unique visitors>90,000 MXit subscribers Period: August 2010 to December 2012
  • “I realy lv de story, it ws touchy evn painfulagain i hv learnd a lot 4rm it. Am gona pass it 2my frnd nd family 2 read 4 dem self”(Anon)
  • “Aha” moment:Mobile phones are a viabledistribution platform forlonger form content and forenabling user participation
  • “Yes I know about Shakespeare we are doingRomeo + Juliet and next year Macbeth. This isactually such a relief because we might nothave had enough books for 2011.”English teacher, Cape Town
  • Anthony Baatjies, Zandile Ntlatli,Christopher Mzamo and LamlaNyikila + Louise McCann
  • “Wow wat a story i like it shame it realy upliftsda spirits of those livng with HIV it shows thtbeing hiv+ is no death sentence wow am sotouched as im also livng wit hiv”Yonela
  • Chain Story Challenge: 6 writers 6 hours 1 storyYoza was one of six writing chain gangs“I.LOV IT IT HAS LOTS OF ADVANTURE”Shedow18
  • “I alwayz (H)ur stories guyz and i alwayz learnsmthing new”Sisipho
  • Beyond Yoza
  • On Vodafone Live!, zero data charges (totally free)”Love, sex and relationships in the time of AIDS”Yoza story:13,000 reads11,000 comments
  • WorldreaderOver 500,000 readers in December from Zimbabwe,Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, India …Published Yoza stories: The Awesomes, Sisterz, Kontax
  • FunDzaSouth African literacyimprovement initiative>500,000 active usersacross multiple channels>50 short storiesCharge for some content
  • Final thoughts
  • Mobile phone is the e-reader of AfricaParticipatory culture happens through mobiledevices: consumption, creation, engagementInteractivity is keyTxtspk iz hr 2 stayEmerging mobile literacies
  • Reading, writing andengaging in Africa
  • “The stories r interesting nd fun 2 read, theykip ma englsh gng”Hlengiwe gulube
  • How to access Yoza and contact detailsBrowser: www.yoza.mobiMXit: Add a contact (MXit Services) called yozaFacebook: www.facebook.com/yozacellphonestories Steve Vosloo Louise McCann stevevosloo@gmail.com thecontentstudio1@gmail.com www.yozaproject.com www.thecontentstudio.co.za 42