Texting: it’s one of today’s major methods of communication.
You do it. Your kids do it. Your friends do it. Your parents do it. Maybe event your grandparents do it.
People text at the store. They text while talking. They text during TV shows. They text from major sports and entertainment events. They probably text while driving, when they shouldn’t be doing it.
And they are probably texting from your conference or event. Instead of asking people not to do it, why not engage your audience in texting messages and pictures about the event?
Imagine Using Texting At Your Event For…
Imagine walking into a nonprofit fundraising event where there are large screens on two walls beside the stage. People are sending texts, Flickr photos of their friends, and messages to the screens. Animated text bubbles with their messages appear and move around on the screen. Throughout the evening, people are invited to share their feelings via text about the organization and the services it provides. The screens are constantly changing with an animated array of incoming texts.
Or imagine a conference with screens set near a speaker. The speaker instructs the audience on how to text a comment or question directly to him. He’s also carrying an iPad that has the Wiffiti screen displayed. Throughout his presentation, he encourages the audience to interact with him in real time. Everyone can watch in real time the questions and comments of others.
What Is Wiffiti?
- What is it?: Tool that allows animated real-time messages sent to screens.
- Costs: Free
- What you need: Free Wiffiti account, customizable background, screen, image magnification, Internet access to display of screen
- Ease of Use: Very simple to setup and use. Participants can text directly from their mobile devices (smart phones, iPads, laptops, etc.) to the screen and the texts are displayed instantly in word bubbles. Tweets using a specific hashtag can also be displayed along with the users’ Twitter avatar.
Wiffiti by Locamodo is used at thousands of large or small scale events including art instillations, conferences, concerts, fundraisers, parties and receptions. There are even large Wiffiti billboard screens in Times Square where people passing by can text their message to the screen and it appears in real time.
Once you create a Wiffiti account and publish your screen, you are ready to display it for interaction by participants. New Wiffiti messages are displayed in large formats dead center in the screen. Older messages decrease in size and move to the background. As they shrink in size they dance around the screen, providing an interesting array of animation that keeps the attention.
How To Set-Up And Use Wiffiti
Here’s a step-by-step procedure on how to set it up and use it.
1. Start by creating a screen.
You create tags, (metadata) that people would use for search terms for your event.
2. Choose your message sources.
You can use the direct text from mobile devices, text from the web, Twitter hashtags and Flickr photos that have specific tags. You have the ability to use one or any combination of all of these message sources.
3. You decide the content rating from G to R ratings.
4. Upload a personal background like the event or organization’s logo.
5. Preview your screen and watch search pull in messages from your tags.
6. Name your screen and publish it.
Consider naming your screen by the location of where you are displaying it. Add the address for geo-location benefits too.
7. Once you publish the screen, you can embed it on your event website, place it within your organization’s Facebook page, etc.
When you publish your screen, you receive instructions that look something like this To Text: Number to text, with @nameofscreen and text message.
Example: Text: (@loca726 + text message to 87884)
8. Secure large plasma screens or LCD projectors that connect to a main computer displaying the Wiffiti screen.
Depending upon the size of the screen and the image magnification, they can even be used in large ballrooms.
9. Publish how to send a message to the screen.
- Directly from the webpage where it is published.
- Texts from their mobile devices using the number and text code provided.
- Photos from their mobile devices using specific published tags.
Go ahead and take the Wiffiti plunge for your next event. It’s free, easy to setup and provides a way for your participants to interact!
This post is modified from one that appeared in the Feb/Mar Tech Talk column in Event Solutions Magazine. Wiffiti is one of the tools that will be demonstrated and used in the Idea Factory’s iRoom as participants “Interact, Innovate and Inspire.”
Bill Cushard says
This is an excellent tool. I think I’ll experiment with it at our next ASTD Meeting.
Glad I saw this.
Christina Coster says
Foursquare had a rooftop party in Manhattan last year and projected this onto the side of a building across the street. It was visually awesome and gave those waiting in line to get in something to read 🙂