The other night, I took a late night run to McDonalds and realized that the Monopoly game was back in play there. I don’t eat there often, but when Monopoly is on deck, I do tend to make my way around various Micky D establishments just to see what kinds of game pieces that I can obtain. I’ve not gotten any of the big prizes, but, it has been pretty fun to have this mobility-infused aspect to eating out from time to time.
And it was after that last trip, when I stumbled into a piece about the ineffectiveness of ebooks at the NY Times that got me thinking again that there’s something more that we should be doing with religious texts besides text and static images on the screen. What about something that was setup as more of an adventure that included things you’d uncover as you traveled in your local, regional, and global domains? Parts of books that would open up only when you triggered some social, event, or locational context. For example, this snippet from that NY Times piece:
…They wrote a 160,000-word book and, using the iPhone for inspiration, created a “scavenger hunt” element allowing readers to see more story lines by visiting specific locations — like China and Washington, D.C. — that are outlines on a map within the app. Users can also add their own story lines.
The whole idea, Mr. Horowitz said, is finding ways for devices like the iPhone to tell a story in a way that a print book could not.
“It’s a way to create a communal reading experience, so people can experience it in a certain time span together,” Mr. Horowitz said. “What we tried to make was something that allowed for the reader to approach it in his or her way. We wanted to allow for all levels of interest and obsession.”
Setting this in something of a more relevant frame of reference, you have your Bible, but it only comes to you in snippets that are just 15 minutes of reading long. As you read this Bible in various areas (on your mobile/tablet device that is), there are aspects of it which open up a bit more. You are at a bus terminal when reading about the Tower of Babel and another story about the development of languages and histories of various cultures are opened up to you from the text – some in video, some in audio, and some in text. Or, you device’s calendar notes that you are at a family event like a wedding or funeral, and then when you open the Bible, you are presented a shared family tree of your family, alongside a similar listing as what could be found in Matthew or Luke.
Confused? Take a look at the iPhone/iPad ebook & app called The Silent History. This is the approach that is taken here, and its one that is getting to the poiint of leveraging some of the unique and native characteristics of mobile devices, rather than simply relying on packaging older media types into a new one.
If you will, what about infusing a bit of mobility and context to the text? In a real sense, throwing ourselves into the story so that its more than just the things we’ve kept hearing, but now – like when the 2nd generation of Israel crossed on the way to promised land – there’s a relevant marker to go along with the history that you’ve had passed down to you?
Yes, I know that some people couldn’t deal with a Bible handed to them in parts; but imagine the possibilities for actually learning the text when its not 66/83 books you are dealing with at a time, but just 15 minues of content that literally meets you right where you are?