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REVIEW: Build your own Kolony
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There are over two million users already registered with Kolony. SITI SYAMEEN MD KHALILI finds out that the SMS-based social network service is more than just connecting with friends.

Kolony is creeping up on us. For the uninitiated, Kolony is Celcom´s social networking service that runs on the regular SMS platform. Unlike web-based social networking sites (SNS), you don´t need to own a smartphone to be part of the action.

How does one become part of the Kolony colony?

Firstly, you have to be a Celcom prepaid subscriber under the new Xpax, U.O.X or S.O.X plan. Next, type in SMS KOLONY and send the message to the shortcode, 25333. Once registered, tell your friends to register as well, and jot down their nicknames. Then, all of you can be linked inside the Kolony network by sending the keyword KFREN to 25333, and vice versa.

Once in the same network, you can track what each other are doing, communicate one-to-one using the keyword KDING or KPOPP , as well as announce to everyone any good news using the broadcast command, KBOMM . With over two million users already registered in the Kolony, you can also make new friends. Simply type KWHO to check out who is on the Kolony and befriend them.

If ever you need help regarding the service, Kolony has resources to share with you via the KHELP keyword.

Now that you know how to navigate your presence in the Kolony, note that each command you send out will cost you 10 Koinz, and each time you receive a BOMM message from a friend, you will part with 1 Koinz.

Koinz is the Kolony currency which you can earn simply by making calls. That´s right, each time you call someone, the telco rewards you with some Koinz - your first to fifth call for the day will get you 10 Koinz each, and if you make more calls on the same day you will receive 20 Koinz on each.

Alternatively you can also purchase some Koinz by sending the keyword Koinz kz to the Kolony shortcode. For only RM0.30, you will get 10 Koinz.

So just how infectious is Kolony?

Let´s go over its plus points. Firstly, you can subscribe to this unique social networking service over SMS. This means not leaving anyone with a mobile phone behind. Even on an ultra-low cost model, you can still receive friends requests, updates from friends and be in touch with everyone in the gang. Unlike other SNS, you won´t be going through the hassle of downloading the client, widget or any other plug-in just to change your status or get the conversation thread going.

Secondly, you can gain Koinz just by making calls. This is one way to add value to each ringgit you spend on your calls. If you are a texter rather than a caller by nature, you can also purchase Koinz, thus the flexibility in the currency system is there.

Thirdly, the KBOMM feature which costs you only 10 Koinz each can help you broadcast a message out to many friends just by a single SMS. This is great for users who loves organising alumni gatherings, family potlucks and friendly hang-outs. For friends who don´t have enough KOINZ to receive your KBOMM messages, you can even share yours via the keyword KSHARE. Do note however that this facility will also be a cost to you at 10 KOINZ.

Lastly, it is a great way to make new friends, if you go about it carefully. It is quite a pleasant surprise to receive SMS notifying you that another Kolony member has FREN you. With only their nicknames displayed to you, there is a mystery element ala instant messaging via ICQ in the 1990s to keep things interesting.

However, there are a few things that may not go down so well with users. For example, the keywords KDING and KPOPP requires the keyword and the recipient´s nickname before the message get sent out - not as user friendly as a plain ol´ SMS, and the charge (10 KOINZ or RM0.30) hardly justifies going through the platform either. That said, if you do gain all your KOINZ from the calls you make, you might just make all the keyword, nickname and message typing worth it.

Another downside is the use of nicknames itself. It would be great if everyone simply sign in using their real name, but in reality no one ever does. If you only have CTZEEN2, c0mey9, kroinana, lingAI and Miwol as friends in your network, it might be easy enough to remember who is who, but if one third of your contacts are in the Kolony, would you?

Kolony has its plus points and disadvantages. However, considering that there are still a lot of folks out there who are not on Facebook or own a smartphone, the Kolony makes a great, mobile substitute. Go for it if you are a Celcom user and most of your contacts are too. With proper approach in building your own little Kolony colony, you might be able to reap in the benefits. Details at

by Siti Syameen Md Khalili

Published Date : 18 July 2011  

Source : New Straits Times

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