(Written by Michael Acton Smith)
We’ve got a number of new products bubbling away at Mind Candy but there’s one in particular that has been a very important passion project of mine.
It’s called PopJam and today we’re officially unveiling the app in the UK.
The simplest way to describe it is as a Creative Community for kids (aged 7-12).
One of our key learnings from the six years of building Moshi Monsters has been how much kids love to create, share and show-off. With our new app we aim to build a digital community that allows children to create art, stories, photos, games, contests and more and then share their creations with other kids around the world.
We love the idea of empowering kids with digital tools and then seeing what they come up with. Lego, Minecraft, Rainbow Looms, Play Doh and Crayons have all shown how extraordinarily inventive kids can be with relatively simple building blocks.
PopJam is similar to Instagram in that users can follow their friends or other users if they like their creations. They can also like, comment and even draw responses to other creations that pop up in their feed.
As well as user generated content, there will also be a large amount of professional content. We want kids to follow and engage with all the things they care about, whether it be their favourite band, cartoon character, artist, author, movie, sports team, school subject, game and so on. Ultimately we want to connect all the kids in the world with all the things they are passionate about.
Many of these content channels will be entertainment focused but we’re excited that the app will play host to a large amount of educational content as well. Stealth education is a key part of Moshi Monsters and we want PopJam to be no exception. We’ve always believed that amazing things can happen when you make learning fun.
Some of the key partners on board from the UK launch will include:
- Natalia Vodianova (inspiring children about philanthropy alongside her charity Naked Hearts)
- Decoded (helping children get excited and inspired to learn coding)
- My Blue Nose Friends (engaging children with Tatty Teddy and friends)
- Find Chaffy (bringing the hit books by Jamie Smart to the digital world)
- Jon Burgerman (inspiring children with art and doodles)
- Borrow My Doggy (running our popular Dogs channel)
- Chineasy (helping children learn to speak Chinese)
We’ve also been in talks with Jamie Oliver as part of his mission to teach every child about food and nutrition. With PopJam, we can explore opportunities where kids can learn about this in a fun and interactive way!
This is just the start. We would love to hear from other potential partners that are keen to join us on the journey of building a safe, creative and fun digital community for kids.
Keeping our young audience safe is a huge responsibility and something we take very seriously. Again, we have a lot of learnings from Moshi Monsters to guide us and a highly experienced moderation team headed up by Online Community expert Rebecca Newton.
Creating a product like this is full of complex challenges but we feel very strongly that without a viable community designed for this younger demographic, kids under 13 will continue using apps designed for over 13 year olds like Instagram, SnapChat and Tumblr.
PopJam is a walled garden where kids can be kids.
There are no plans to generate revenue from the app in the short-term but future plans might include a subscription service for premium content (similar to MoshiMonsters.com)
It hasn’t been done before but we believe we can build the world’s largest creative community that both kids *and* their parents love.
We have a big vision for PopJam, so if you’re intrigued and want to learn more you can download the app here.
- Michael and the PopJam Team