Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What can we do with Wiffiti?

If you're reading this, I hope you didn't miss the Wiffiti on the right side of this page. Too many people today have asked that the hell it is. I'm starting to wonder myself. Regardless it's fun, and could have some powerful uses in public health/health communications if executed correctly (I think).

So what is it? It's a screen that you can put anywhere that people can send text messages too and have them be visible to anyone who is watching the screen. Right now it's embedded in my blog, and if you click on the mini version in the left sidebar you'll be taken to a larger screen on the Wiffiti sight. If I wanted I could feed it to a gigantic screen at an event, or display it on a laptop at a coffee shop. Get it? The Wiffiti blog explains it better than I do.

How do you use it? Send a text message to 25622. In the body of the message type @isisinc. After @isisinc add your message. If I wanted to say "what's up?" the body of my text message would read: @isisinc what's up?

So what can you do with it? Lots of things I suppose, but are there uses in public health, particularly STD and HIV prevention? Sexual health? Here are some of my ideas. Please add yours.

1. Text the location of services at large spring break events, such as where condoms can be found, or clinical services like STD testing.
2. Use in a classroom setting as a silent brainstorming tool.
3. Embed in a website and use as an easy way to get feedback from people about your projects, artwork, web design, etc.
4. Use as a billboard in an urban area with designated people updating it with prevention messages. Perhaps using a health department sponsor.

Are these boring? What do you think? Post your thoughts here or on my Wiffiti. Click the pink arrow to activate.


SVGL said...

Am I correct in assuming that, when a message appears on a Wiffiti board, the name/number of the text sender is not shown?

That has some cool implications for high school sex education, where most kids are too embarrassed to discuss sex or ask the questions they actually need the answers to. Having this up on a big screen in the classroom where students could text their questions and comments for the teacher to discuss and respond to could result in better information. Also, the whole tech angle, especially the text messaging, could make the subject matter way more accessible to kids in the classroom setting, since we know how the kiddies love their texting. Might actually make them pay attention.

Phalligator said...

I agree, it could be a great classroom tool for drawing out different students and a richer discussion.

As far as the identifiers go, wiffiti will show the last 4 digits of your number. To make it more anonymous you can text your name (or what you want to go by) and wiffiti will remember it. For example, if i want to be known as peacock, I would text: name peacock" to 25622. nothing would show up until the next time I text, then it will sign my msg with ~peacock.

I'm not sure if you can change your name. I'll try.