Believe it or not, but what became the PhoneNews.com of today got started almost ten years ago. As we kick off our tenth (calendar) year in the mobile media, we feel we need to make some resolutions to get back out in front of the mobile media.
So, without further ado, here are our resolutions for 2013. We call them ten for ten, as we want to finish our tenth year off on a high note.
Expand the team on PhoneNews.com
This has been a pain-point for us, but it’s one we’re now going to face head-on daily until we get it there. Our goal is to double the team on PhoneNews.com to at least the better part of a baker’s dozen.
Roll out great new forums
This is actually a pretty easy one for us, since they’re already in testing. But, we can give you more details since our last update on the subject.
We will be using bbPress to power our new forums. We’re daring to be different on that front, but we want to give forums that are sustainable and can scale greatly. In our testing, bbPress allowed us to do this the best.
For one, bbPress stood out from the pack on user management; it integrates flawlessly with WordPress. We figured if we were going to ask you to sign up for one forum, that login should work on all the sites we roll out from here-on.
This is actually pretty important, since we hope to roll out sites that tackle issues head-on, in addition to the continuous coverage you see here. We’d love for people to be able to take action on a subject, with a one-click button push if you’re already logged in. bbPress gives us the power to do that.
And, two, bbPress actually stood out from the alternatives in the aspect of wireless access. No nagging popups to download an app so you can “more easily post with your iPhone/Android/whatever” – just a clean, fast HTML5-enhanced experience. bbPress even takes this elegance to pre-mobile days… posting a reply for example, is easily available at the bottom of each thread, instead of on a separate web page.
Get video going
We have come really close to this in the past. We actually have an unaired episode or two… no, we won’t air it. Really, you wouldn’t want to see it. We weren’t happy with the production quality.
We’d like to promise weekly broadcasts, but that’s a bit to ambitious if we’re going to make this a realistic list of resolutions to pull off (completely).
Get (more) serious with apps
We have an app for iOS. Didn’t know about it? Probably because we haven’t promoted it much.
Our goal for 2013 is to get a bit more serious with our apps, add features, integrate our upcoming forums (see above), and have consistent experiences across Android and iOS.
We’ll also consider rolling out on Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10, Tizen, and Sailfish in 2013, depending on reader feedback. One thing is for certain, 2013 is going to be a make-or-break year for each of those platforms.
Get local with meetups
We tried to get meetups going in 2013, had a lot of the logistics figured out, and government sorta got in the way. Hacker Dojo was our target venue, and unfortunately the city of Mountain View decided to require hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of improvements to hold a sizeable meetup.
We could have worked on a new venue, but we got all busy and had to focus on other tasks.
Good news, our friends at Hacker Dojo are moving to a new (city, state, and Orwell-approved) venue. We like what Hacker Dojo is doing, and we’re looking forward to start there with Meetups, and slowly expand the brand out with meetups elsewhere.
Make it even easier to submit news (anonymously)
Sure, you can submit news anonymously via a link on every page of the site. And our iOS app took that a step farther with anonymous camera submission on any camera-toting iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone.
But, we have some ideas on how to make that even easier. We think we can get some time in to crank the volume up on that, and get even more news out there by getting more news in the anonymous inbox.
Land on a surprise platform
In addition to expanding apps to the usual suspects, we expect 2013 to have an oddball or two in the app arena that will come out of nowhere and take off. If we’re right on that presumption, we’re going to work hard to innovate.
We’ve heard blips, chatter, nothing solid to report… and no, we’re not talking Google Glasses either.
Get our Sideloading Alliance off the ground
Awhile back we announced that we were burying the hatchet with the walled gardens. We noted we weren’t going to ignore them anymore, we will give their devices a fair shake, and come up with a non-snarky way to honestly explain walled gardens… without drawing the ire of the people that sell those devices.
But we also noted something more important. We noted that we were going to evolve our movement to push for an end to walled gardens. We announced plans to roll out a foundation.
We’ve started some of the basic steps to get that off the ground, but we are determined to get that into something tangible. This may be the hardest of our goals, but we really want to get platform developers, carriers, manufacturers, and app developers onboard. We think that the more open a device is, the more consumers have a fair shake.
Make the site easier for new readers
People that use pages like our Carrier Phone Number directory (which we brought back last year) love it. But, we’re finding that new readers don’t see features of the site like that.
So, we’re going to create a new welcome wagon of sorts for people new to the site. The challenge? Not annoying people like you that have been around for awhile.
Get the word out
As we turn ten, we’re going to be putting out more news than ever. That’s not even a resolution, it’s just going to happen.
But, we find over the years, we’ve been more of the quiet type. The industry knows who we are, and the industry reacts to what we say – but the average joe… not so much.
So, for our final goal, we’re going to promote PhoneNews.com more than ever. In fact, we hope to deploy more resources in promoting PhoneNews.com this year, then in all past ten years combined.
These aren’t just resolutions that we’re going to throw away, they’re getting pinned to the desks of everyone working on PhoneNews.com, and staying there as a daily reminder of what we’re aiming to achieve this year.