Innovation That Matters

Sharing content on cellphones


Commuters, students and others who rely heavily on mobile devices but may often find themselves with time on their hands can now tap into a free online source for stories, essays, jokes and other text files that can be downloaded to their mobiles, read at their convenience and then sent to others via SMS. Wattpad operates much like YouTube, with users supplying files to share with one another. To get started, all customers need are compatible devices and data plans, and they can download Wattpad directly through their mobile Internet browsers at no charge—the site is financed by advertising dollars. Community members can share just about any type of text files—short stories, news articles, study notes, movie reviews—anything, provided they have the appropriate copyrights. They can even upload shopping lists, driving directions or reminders (though they should bear in mind that these files are accessible to the entire Wattpad community!). Top 3 this week: an essay by Albert Einstein, a dialogue-only short story by science fiction writer Terry Bisson, and quotes from The Simpsons. Wattpad supports a large variety of languages and special characters, and users can log onto the website to post comments, browse categories and interact with other members. Those who are looking for something particular can even post requests to the community at large via a bulletin board on the site.As with any Web 2.0 venture, Wattpad’s success relies largely upon its ability to build a rich community—with more than 13 million pages already delivered to mobile phones, they’re off to quite a start! Could be a handy new venue for viral marketing, too. (Related: Novels for the very small screen.)
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