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Degrassi: Community Heart and Soul

by Shirley Roburn

Roma Khanna, Executive Director of Toronto's SNAP Media, speaks about www.degrassi.tv, the online counterpart of the popular youth television series Degrassi:The Next Generation.

Roma Khanna:
"SNAP developed the idea of a virtual school, a virtual Degrassi school where kids come - they register to become members of Degrassi community school. They get assigned a homeroom, which is their smaller community within the larger community. And they get to participate in all sorts of fun things - everything from interactive storylines that run either parallel to the television show or completely independently (but are original story), to community things, like they have their own locker page.

They can join clubs. They can compete in intramural competitions with the games on the site, and win points for themselves and their homerooms. We have message boards, and they're on locker pages, which actually act as blogs: they can put on personal journals, they can put on photographs, they can update it as often as they want. They can create custom polls, and have people come and vote on their polls online, and all of that great stuff.

The real heart and soul of the Web site is community, and interaction between members of the community around Degrassi and the stories and the brands, and around their own stories and their own lives. And I think that's something that, for whatever reason, has attracted a lot of young girls. They really like sharing with each other, they really like telling their own stories, and they like reading everyone else's stories.

We have about one hundred and fifty thousand registered users of the site in Canada. Our core demographics for the site - so eighty-five per cent of our registered users - are girls between thirteen and seventeen. The hardcore users are girls, and they're thirteen to seventeen, and they come an amazing four to five times a week for at least half an hour, and sometimes three or four hours at a time."

Shirley Roburn is Editorial Assistant for HorizonZero.

Link :
Degrassi: The Next Generation

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