I'm MARVELING about Figment, a new website to be officially launched tomorrow, written up in the New York Times as a
Figment is an outgrowth of the keitai shousetsu (cellphone novels), so popular in Japan. Wired.com documented the rise of the cellphone-novel culture in 2005 in "Cell Phones Put to Novel Use".
Figment describes itself as:
"an online community for reading and writing young-adult fiction, which can be accessed from any computer or mobile phone. Here you can write a haiku or work on a 90,000 word novel while riding the bus to school. You can read a serialized novel by a friend down the block or a short story by your favorite author. It’s a place to engage with peers, authors, and content."
Here's a minute-an-a-half intro, from the site:
Print publishers are keenly interested in cell-phone novel publishing, and for good reason, as noted in Figment's link to the LA Times Article: For Japan's cellphone novelist, proof of success is in the print.
The fact that there's a teacher/librarian blog on the site makes it crystal clear that Figment is aiming to make an impact on education. And adding to the credibility of Figment's seriousness of educational purpose are the credentials of its New Yorker-affiliated team.
Figment already has 2000+ fans on Facebook and 700+ followers on Twitter. I'm guessing Figment's popularity will grow exponentially, and spawn imitators (you can count on it).
I see enormous potential for Figment and I will be looking for ways our student writers at Seabury can participate!
I just registered to receive updates from Figment.