tl;dr: Modular phones and social media amplifiers; what is the Phoneblock/Thunderclap movement, and what does it for social media use?
If you haven’t heard about it already, Phoneblocks is an idea for a modular phone, being pitched by Dave Hakkens. The princple idea is behind creating a modular phone, whose parts can be switched out and upgraded in order to build what he calls ‘A phone worth keeping’.
I personally found the idea rather fascinating; and it would certainly open up a whole new avenue for customization and competition. Still, I doubt such a system would be lossless, in terms of hardware input and output, and while the idea of forcing manufacturers to compete along standard specifications sounds great in principle, the practice is often far more complex; patents have made sure of that. Still, I think it’s a neat idea, and I’d like to live in a future where it succeeds, but that is not the focus of this post.
Instead, I’d like to talk about the platform behind its promotion, known as Thunderclap, which describes itself as ‘The first crowd-speaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together’:
The idea is simple, but rather ingenious; we live in a world where people are constantly posting content all the time, so how do we make sure people are listening to us when we say something? Well, what if we all said the same thing at the same time, not over just one network, but all of our networks. It’s sort of the principle behind trending topics on Twitter, but instead of buying a campaign and promoting, you are instead timing it in such a way that it naturally occurs, in the hope that the sheer shockwave will incite attention.
It’s an incredibly interesting idea, and is already being applied to a variety of causes. It works in a sort of Kickstarter model, with people ‘donating’ their social media at a specific time to tweet certain content they’ve already agreed to. As of now, Phonebloks has reached 98% of its 850,000 goal, which means that 850,000 people have agreed to tweet, post, or blog one message at the same time; which their system calculates as an overall reach of 322,705,746 people so far, and there is still a month left before this event actually occurs. So, what is this one message that all of these people have agreed to simultaneously transmit?
“Show the world we want a phone worth keeping! #phonebloks http://thndr.it/12lPDsQ”
It happen to think it’s a very beautiful idea, a social media amp to amplify content based on involvement, and I’m eager to see what kind of effect 850,000 people posting simultaneously has, or it doesn’t have. In any case, I’m sure it’l create some interesting data, I’ll definitely be taking a look at it again later on.