I signed up to be one of the people to trial Ivy4Evr, an interactive teen drama from Channel 4 told via texts, and was lucky enough to be one of the people invited to take part. Here's some more info.
O s***, I don't believe it. It was a rough week already but now Lilsis has put that photo on Facebook.
So people are saying I’m a slut but that’s totally not me.
I need to talk to someone but I don't know who I can trust. I just need to get away for a bit. I’m off to Adz’s.
Give me your number and I’ll text you? I think you might be the only person I can talk to about this.
Ivy4Evr is Channel 4's new SMS drama.
Ivy has left home because Lilsis has done the dirty on her and she's no longer sure who her friends are. For a week she'll tell you **everything** but can she trust you and what will you tell her?
Ivy will text you about her life.
If you text her back she will chat to you.
Ivy4ever is an educational project that deals with issues of sex and drugs as part of a frank and detailed drama. From Ivy4Evr.com
I tried to forget that this was a story, and try to act as if Ivy was a real person. It was a little slow at first because Ivy's replies didn't mesh with my texts. The replies you get from Ivy are determined by certain words contained in your own texts. Obviously, this is Ivy's story, so I was just replying to her questions, and asking about the situation she found herself in, but at the beginning, on the first day, they didn't mesh - she would answer a question I didn't ask, or respond to something I didn't say. It was a little frustrating, but I persevered.
The seriousness of the subjects discussed surprised me a little, which ranged from casual sex, possible pregnancy, underage drinking, and to lesser degree of seriousness, parents who had split up. I'm trying to pretend this character is real and a friend, and then she gets a problem - talking about it via text is not how I would deal with my mates problems. I'd be over there in a shot. Being a story, I know this isn't possible, but it just seemed odd to be trying to help her with this by text. It may be just me, but it just felt odd.
It also felt a little odd when Ivy all of a sudden wanted to talk to me about music apropos of nothing. The situations she finds herself in are pretty big deals for a teenage girl, and to start suddenly asking me about the music I like was just really weird, but I went with it.
The texts started meshing on the second day, to a brilliant extent. Perfect replies each time. There were some pretty serious subjects discussed, as I've mentioned, and had Ivy asking great questions - had a teenager not known the answer, it was a great way to open discussion between teens and parents, to get them talking about the subjects.
I loved the personal touch of having my name or initial included in some of the texts. But what I loved more was the "realness" of the story; sometimes Ivy would send texts with links to youtube videos, to recommend music, or she would email you with a longer message that seemed more personal, as she had more characters to play about with to explain and express how she was feeling - and this time with a link to a video she had "made" herself. At times, I got so involved in her story, I was actually worried about her; my own texts got more personal because of my worry, wanting to help her out.
Over all, it was a pretty good trial. I'm really glad I signed up for it, it was an interesting and entertaining way to have a story told to you. I personally would have preferred it to be an email story - that one email felt more powerful than all of the texts put together - but I guess as Ivy4Evr is aimed at teens, text is the better medium. I really enjoyed it, and I look forward to seeing where it goes from now.
You can sign up for the next trial here.
Ivy4Evr Facebook Page