PopJam: A Children’s Social Media Network
Today’s technologies are at our fingertips. Every year our children spend increasing amounts of time on mobile devices at school and at home. Like adults, children are looking to technology to connect with others. Unfortunately, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter aren’t appropriate for young users.
Splashworks spent years researching how to connect with younger users through social media. Last year one of our contacts from the ad industry suggested that we try PopJam. Our team spent the past five months using the platform and we are impressed. Here’s what we’ve discovered.
The PopJam platform is a social media platform specifically designed for children — it has over 800K users and it’s COPPA and CARU compliant. We especially appreciate the care they’ve taken to address children’s safety. We were also impressed by the platform’s potential to build powerful relationships with a younger audience.
The following are a few of the ways PopJam endeavors to keep their users safe: 1) There isn’t a chat feature. PopJam includes text recognition code that prevents: proper names, numbers, negative language and unrecognizable words from appearing in the comments. 2) Users can’t post photos with faces — if someone takes a selfie within the app, a cartoon mask covers the facial features. 3) There are adults monitoring PopJam 24/7 for inappropriate behavior and users can always report any comments they find offensive. 4) Finally, PopJam works to increase its users’ awareness for online safety through pop-up messages and posts in their channels.
The game’s core play mechanic is for users to respond to posts by drawing on them. For example if a maze is posted on Pinterest, users need to print it and then complete the activity by drawing on the printout. If that same maze is posted on PopJam, users draw directly on the screen.
So, PopJam’s real strength is that it offers kids an outlet for their creativity. But every day, tens of thousands of original artworks are posted on PopJam—and the vast majority go unnoticed. Any content providers who post materials that foster creativity and generate traffic for user-generated content have the potential to build lasting relationships with this young audience. They’re hungry for creative recognition, and deservedly so. (More on this later.)
A Common Sense Media review of PopJam outlined two major downsides to the gameplay. The first is that the experience favors users with drawing skills, and the second is the way the community puts emphasis on acquiring followers. Both are valid points. But after five months working on our Hearts For Hearts Girls Games channel, I’ve realized that, as content providers, we have the power (and the responsibility) to deliver activities and information that improves the overall user experience. We can help make this a better platform, a more satisfying interaction, for its audience.
In December 2017, Splashworks launched a Hearts For Hearts Girls’ Games channel on PopJam, and we’ve acquired over 7.8K followers. The channel is projected to add another thousand followers per month over the next six months. Our team is pleased with the channel’s growth, especially since it was achieved without any assistance from ad buys.
In the next article, l’ll explore the types of content we’ve used to engage our followers, start dialogues, and build relationships.