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October 21, 2008

One Nokia N96, one suitcase, one world tour, lots of welcoming hosts

GLOBAL – A few weeks back I wondered what would happen if a phone went hand to hand, streaming wherever it was, slowly accumulating a story of its own travel. Part of this was inspired by The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (of which I’ve watched a trailer) and Flat Stanley (which my children both participated in). But, also, part of this was wanting to tie together a bunch of interesting people I have met and known, over the past few years, with something fun.

Next thing that happened is that I wondered aloud to one of my colleagues, Ben Lampe, and he took the idea and ran with it, goading me to work with him to make this so (so, many thanks to him).

So now we have the Nokia N96 World Tour. Read on to learn about what we’ve done.

The people

First and foremost, I wanted to pick a range of people, hosts, as it were, from different fields and countries, folks who might use the device in varied ways. The first three are a musician, an educator, and a media techie (well, they are all a bit techie). One lives in the UK, the other Australia, and the third in Brasil. We are in the process of contacting the next folks in my list, but I expect the World Tour to go through Canada (eh?), France, USA, and maybe even Ghana. Let’s see.

The traveler, an N96

We packed a nice black valise with an N96, a cool headset to listen to tunes, and some cables and chargers. We’ve set up the phone so that folks could Twitter (on behalf of the phone), upload images and videos, add music and games and videos, add apps, and so on, such that at the end, the device would have a physical and digital story to tell. In addition to taking pics and vids, the ‘hosts’ might even add stuff to the device, such as their favorite apps, their own music (for which they have rights, of course), stickers, bookmarks, or voice recordings.

After they play with the kit for a week or so, they just send it to the next host.

Be a voyeur or participate

There are a few ways you can follow the World Tour.

We’ve set up a Nokia N96 World Tour – Center Stage, where you can see the Ovi and Twitter streams from the device. We’ll be tweaking and updating the page as the Tour goes on, so bookmark it and keep coming back.

You can also add the N96 to your feeds:

N96 World Tour on Share on Ovi

N96 World Tour on Twitter

N96 World Tour on Sports Tracker

Just for fun

Let’s see what comes out with this. I wanted to start small with one device traveling. But Ben already sees the fun in this and wants to send out other devices circulating. Heh. Let’s see how this goes.

Oh, and Steve has already added his first video!

Image of the N96 World Tour Kit from schickr (that’s me)