Poetry App “Siyoil”
Publication Content Breathing Anew In A Mobile Age
Poetry and mobile
Siyoil was planned and launched out of necessity for a platform on which users could read at least one poem a day, easily find poetry and share it with other users. Those in charge of the project believed poetry was a literary genre ‘made for’ mobile devices like smartphones, where aesthetic content is consumed everyday. After its launch, the application has improved consistently, tailored to the needs of its users, and more poems have been added including new works. On April 23, the app marked its first anniversary and a new section called ‘Poem Diary’ was launched where users could upload works of poetry and writing on the app like they would in a diary. Siyoil saw more than 200,000 users register before its first anniversary. In comparison, the Facebook account for Changbi, Siyoil’s parent company, took seven years to gain more than 200,000 followers. There are some differences in operating costs for the two communication channels as well as their target clients and user interfaces, but they can both be used as marketing strategies. Siyoil was able to secure many users quickly because the company was able to use its pre-existing intellectual property in a mobile environment.
Siyoil’s services and functions
Once the app is downloaded, users can enjoy one selected poem a day. The ‘poem a day’ function is usually the first thing users see once the app is launched and the poems, selected by young poets, are chosen to match the day they are provided. With a push alarm, app users get one new poem a day delivered to their phone. Users can also read poems recommended to them by theme, including emotions and situations. Other free functions include ‘Siyoil’s choice’ where various forms of prose can be accessed on books, arts, music, movies, travel and pets. The app also offers a keyword search function that lets users search for specific poem titles and text. Tag searches are also possible inside the app, enabling users to search for certain works of poetry based on their themes, emotions, time and elements. Users can also bookmark poems they like and share custom-decorated images of poems or verses. Inside the app are also audio recordings of some poems created by the poets themselves.
Achievements over the past year
Siyoil currently has roughly 550 collections of poetry from over 320 poets. A total of some-35,000 poems can be accessed through the application. Over the past year, users have read about 96 percent of the entire registry and that number has been growing. The most searched for poem collections have been: The Order In Which Pain Is Comforted (Changbi, Kim Kyung-mi), Words Closest to the Heart (Changbi, Park So-ran), Dandelion Flute,The Sky, Wind, Stars and Poetry (Changbi, Yun Dong-ju) and Variation of Love (Changbi, Kim Soo-young). This, in part, was linked to the ‘poem a day’ function. One thing to note was the fact that readers reacted positively to works by relatively new or unknown poets like Park So-ran or Choi Young-sook. This showed the poetry curation function had worked well in shedding light on hidden poets. This function was found to have affected paper book sales as well. In the case of physical poetry collections, sales turn stagnant around the 2,000 copy level unless the book is by a well-known poet. Sales also start declining six months after the date of publication. However, collections with poems that have been introduced through Siyoil saw sales either hold steady or even increase. When categorized by gender, 61.2 percent of members are women, 36.6 percent are men while 2.2 percent are unidentified. Sorted by age, 48 percent of the app’s users are in their 20s while 24 percent are in their teens, 16 percent in their 30s and 7.6 percent in their 40s. When considering the fact paper poetry collections were usually consumed by readers in their 30s and 40s, the application has contributed in boosting the number of younger poetry consumers in their teens and 20s who are naturally more accustomed to digital content.
▲ Siyoil’s key functions
▲ Key functions of Poem Diary
Siyoil going forward
Siyoil has been gearing up to provide even more poems for its users. Different modern poems and new works of poetry have been consistently uploaded and soon the application will upload the Gosijo Daejeon (Korean University Research Center for Ethnic Culture, 2012), an anthology of ancient Korean poetry that was compiled for 23 years by seven Korean literature academics including Korea University emeritus professor Kim Heung-gyu. This was the first attempt at collecting all known Korean sijo in one publication and soon, Siyoil will have roughly 45,000 works of ancient Korean poetry once the collection is uploaded. Siyoil is also aiming to add B2B functions and one of these was launched on May 15 called ‘Siyoil School’ for schools. Siyoil School is available in both web and mobile versions and can be tailored to school lessons. The company is also in the process of preparing a Siyoil Library function thanks to interest from several libraries. The function is expected to meet the needs of both libraries and those who use libraries. Aside these, Siyoil also plans to combine POD(publication on demand) to Siyoil to enable users to create their own poetry collections in paper form. The application sees itself as a new kind of platform by continuously developing and growing.
Written by Jeon Byung-wook (Team leader, Digital Enterprises at Media Changbi/Management Team leader, Siyoil)
Jeon Byung-wook (Team leader, Digital Enterprises at Media Changbi/Management Team leader, Siyoil)