A few weeks ago, after some inspiration from Paul Corney and Mark Field, I decided it was time to try an experiment and I have developed a system to capture items by SMS and post them to a page on my website that I am calling an "SMS Wall".
Why do it like this rather than use Twitter or some other social tool? Quite simply, I wanted everyone to have the ability to post to the wall.
Not everyone, has a smartphone, not everyone uses Twitter and not everyone has an internet connection but almost everyone has a basic phone with SMS and knows how to use it.
People can also post messages before the Knowledge Cafe, during the KCafe, at the end of the KCafe and even on the train on the way home.
I can also dump the messages to a text file and email them to all the Knowledge Cafe participants as a record of the event.
I'll be trying it out a London Knowledge Cafe very soon. I plan to display the messages on a screen at the end of the KCafe but I think the real value is not so much the ability to see them in real time but to be able to view them in retrospect - say the following day but as I say this is a bit of an experiment and we will see how t all plays out :-)
This of course took a bit of technology to put in place:
- a laptop with a 3G modem that receives the SMS messages
- a clever bit of software called SMSEnabler - this takes incoming SMS messages on my laptop and sends them on as email
- being able to email messages into a Lotus Notes database i.e. my website
- about 2 days worth of coding effort by me to write an agent to process the emails and post them to a webpage (my techie background comes in handy sometimes!)