Poppy ‘app’-eal turns digital

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Every year, hundreds of thousands of people wear a red poppy to commemorate the sacrifices of the British Armed Forces, while showing support to those still serving their country.

It’s a powerful emblem – one that forms a central part in an annual fundraising campaign that this year must raise £40 million to fund the ongoing welfare work of the Royal British Legion.

Like many, each year I buy a paper poppy; like many, each year I lose said poppy, often finding the Remembrance Day symbol months later. The debate in our household is not whether we should wear a red poppy, or even opt for the alternative white ‘peace’ poppy. Pledging commitment to the cause is an easy decision to make – working out how to keep hold of the poppy is an entirely different matter.

This year, we thought we’d cracked it by buying a more sophisticated metal pin poppy – or so we thought. Right on cue, the poppy fluttered away, or rather dropped straight to the ground. The frustration of the disappearing poppy (whether paper or metal) is nothing new. However, at last there seems to be a sound solution that will not only help the Royal British Legion reach its £40 million target, but ensure people can show their support without wondering where their blasted poppy has gone.

Today, the Sun has launched the MyPoppy app in collaboration with the Royal British Legion. Commemorating the centenary of World War One, the app allows you to donate and get a digital poppy for your phone. Every donation ‘plants’ another poppy in a virtual field, which will grow as people donate.

With the ability to share your donation via Facebook and Twitter, while watching the field change through the app, this simple concept is yet another example of how the digital world is influencing every aspect of our lives. If you add into the mix that the Government Digital Service (GDS) is embarking on the next stage of its ‘virtual revolution’, not to mention The Globe starting to stream live Shakespeare performances via mobiles and tablets, it’s clear (if we didn’t know it already) the online world is continuing to enter territories once governed and protected by more traditional methods. The questions is: what next?

Let us know your thoughts.