In 2012, we noticed that the use of microSD memory cards to share information between rural persons was reaching a potentially critical level. Could it be considered a significant medium for social change communications and conflict resolution?
People at tea places, in buses, markets and homes were all sharing audio and video recordings through microSD cards in phones. Common material included political speeches, news recordings of major events, recorded radio shows and pop music (android devices allow you to record radio with one click), football highlights and videos of local traditional music and dance.
Since then Transformedia has worked with partners to disseminate our media outreach content on microSD cards as well as through more traditional means, and the anecdotal evidence so far is that microSD can help film and audio clips spread quickly through urban and semi-urban networks. But how to really track user engagement with content?
We are trying to work out how we can measure the frequency by which files have been accessed? At what locations these viewings have taken place? How many times have files been copied (or deleted!)? How many people have consumed the media? And (a completely separate question) ultimately how many users have really engaged directly or indirectly with the content?
As part of our efforts to support community dialogue in South Sudan, we are now kicking off a bigger microSD card dissemination in six states and we will be trying to measure its reach and will share our results. And we will record our progress on this blog. To get started we will: 1) Undertake qualitative interviews over time with a sample group of recipients as a basis for a broader estimation; 2) Conduct an SMS poll of microSD card recipients; and 3) Analyse SMS feedback received from users who have not directly received a microSD card (and contact them as appropriate).
But there are clearly more elegant and exciting solutions. If you have suggestions, lessons or ideas as to how we can better track user engagement with micro-SD cards please get in touch. It would be great to discuss it.