Figures from story-sharing and writers’ social media platform Wattpad suggest that today’s tablets are becoming as much the writer’s tool of choice as their classical namesakes were for Greek and Roman scribes. And although I haven’t been able to track down the original Wattpad press release, the data points quoted from it and shared via Mediabistro are compelling enough. According to these, more than 50 percent of its members have contributed a story to Wattpad via either tablet or mobile phone during 2013, with more than 83 percent of access to Wattpad from such devices.
According to the quted press release, “the Wattpad community spent 87 million minutes each day reading and sharing stories from their phones and tablets last year.” Smartphones may hardly be the ideal form factor for extensive writing, but this doesn’t seem to have slowed down the Wattpad contributors much. As Wattpad’s own site outlines, Wattpad is also available as an iOS and Android app, and over 70% of our readers enjoy their stories using a mobile device, even when offline!”
Given the nature of Wattpad’s platform, its usage stats may incorporate a bias towards mobile and online usage. But they are equally likely to reflect usage in the self-publishing community as a whole. Despite the atavistic attractions of typewriters and other tools, the portability and convenience of mobile is clearly enough of a draw for the writing community as a whole – enough for them to spend time fiddling with 4-inch screens. Expect more of this in future.