We are sort of all aware that mobiles (smartphones+tablets) are invading the world, and are/will be changing the way we pick and read news, interact, comment, crowdsource, form communities. Stats are there to prove it, especially in Africa, where one can forget about landline and broadband at home, but where 3G mobile coverage is growing better and better (sorry, have not a lot of infos on other continents, but I suppose it’s a growing trend everywhere). I’d like to stress that for many young people in Africa, a mobile phone is their first and only taste of the Internet nowadays, and of the Web 2.0 experience, along with SMSs.
With this is mind, I’d like to suggest an innovation project consisting of: a community discussion + a task force + a pilot project to 1.vamp up our mobile version, 2. think ahead on how citizen news will be impacted by a small screen, a roaming access ( sometimes expensive). What becomes of our mission to connect people and foster conversations on mobile internet?
The questions for now are endless: how do readers search, choose and pick news with a mobile handset in their hands? How do they identify a citizen news media – versus a traditonal media? What are the successful mobile phone social network such as Mixi (Japan) and MXit (South Africa) doing to capture so many users? Are we condemned to “the app” or is there a more democratic and universal platform? Where do comments and interaction fit in on such a small screen and with very little info about other readers/members ? Should GV posts be tailored for mobile consuption? On the GV main site or on a sub-site, with shorter entries, that could also be distributed via bulk SMSs ? What about geolocalized translation? When will censorship pounce on mobiles? Etc.
With so many questions, and so many knowledgeable specialists in our community, all with their ear on the ground in their part of the world, wouldn’t it be useful we create 1- a Nifty GV version for mobiles, 2 – Dive in, and test all the innovations we can pack on a pilot project, to be tested in a few countries, where our volunteers could provide feedback as beta users?