Monthly Archives April 2011

Royal Wedding 2011: Our Favorite Tweets

Today, William and Kate were not the only ones to mark a new beginning. It was truly the coming out party – the “marriage” between traditional media and social media on a world stage, and the results were smashingly brilliant. (Sorry for all the British/marriage puns. We can’t help ourselves.)

The social event of the century was easily the biggest social media event in history, and Twitter in particular became the go-to destination for discussion, jokes, and opinions. Here are some of our favorites, illustrating how Twitter is home to all different tones and modes of thought, all equally valid, informative and entertaining:

Royal Wedding 2011 tweets

What were your favorite Tweets? What did you think of the ceremony? Amazing and romantic, or over-hyped and boring? Tell us!

No Cell Phone, No Internet: My One Week Off The Grid

rome

As I stood gazing at a stunning panorama of the Roman Colosseum, cobble-stoned streets and ancient ruins, I was thankful for one thing: I had no phone.

I just went on a trip to London and Italy, and was unable to procure international functionality on my phone, and neither was my wife. I also made the decision not to lug my laptop along on our vacation. So we found ourselves in a situation that we hadn’t been in for about 10 years or so — no cell phone and no Internet access for a (seemingly) really long time. And I was surprised at how it affected the trip and my enjoyment of it, in both good and bad ways.

The real shocker to me in regards to being phoneless and Internetless was how much I didn’t miss it. I had my watch to check the time, and that was really all I needed. Not receiving texts, not having something constantly vibrating and distracting me, and not having that check-your-email-every-two-seconds temptation was a relief, and it allowed me to focus on the here-and-now, and really make memories of my trip. Whether it was site-seeing or enjoying Easter dinner with my Italian relatives, I was truly there, in the moment.

But reality is reality, and there were some definite downsides to being cut off from both the Internet and communicating. Not having the convenience of connecting with others or finding quality info when it counted – from coordinating a visit with my aunt in Naples to getting a train schedule to trying to find a good, non-touristy restaurant – was frustratingly difficult. And I really had no idea what was going on in the news or, more importantly, with the Knicks and the Rangers. (Turns out I was better off not knowing. Jeepers creepers!)

Ultimately, as I think most of us realize, being connected 24/7 is a mixed blessing. We have information at our fingertips whenever we need it, and everyone we’re close to is the touch of a button away. But being able to get away from that and the distraction it sometimes represents was refreshing. Still, it’s not something I’d want to be without for too long a time. After all, if I’d had my phone in London, I could’ve shown off the PaRappa the Rapper vinyl 45 I found in a record shop much, much sooner.

(P.S. Photocred to Jennifer Brooks!)

This Earth Day We Encourage You to “Think Global Act Social”

Social media has brought us closer to the planet we love and “live” for! On the day the world comes together for the sake and health of our home- we can all disagree on many things-sport teams, religion, politics, low top/high top Cons, but we can’t argue about where we live, and where despite our differences in opinion this is the place we all call home-it’s the big rock called Earth!

So on this Earth Day, when more of us have come together as one world on Facebook or Twitter, via a check in on Foursquare or checking it out on YouTube, the dreams and needs of Earth will be most likely be fulfilled because of Earth’s community social media revolution. With that: Think Global, Act Social.

There are some great examples of individuals doing just that. Here are some of our favorites from the large well known brands who share the planet to the more cause driven entities we are all in this mission together.

So whether you have already taken part in one of these campaigns or you want to help spread more awareness about this important day through Twitter (#earthtweet), Facebook messages or by writing your own blog entry. Remember that we may be different but we all share the same place so we here at Flightpath encourage you to #ThinkGlobal and put Social Media to work for your planet.

How will you think global and act social moving forward???

Angry Birds, Mobile and the Evolution of Portable Gaming

For a long time, video games existed on the outskirts of acceptable pop culture. First, with the NES and Genesis, games were considered as something just for kids: simple, colorful, dumb entertainment. Then, with the introduction of the PlayStation, things started to change. Games were growing with gamers, featuring more complex stories, realistic sports titles, and the market was getting bigger and bigger. But there was still one major issue facing video games: it was mostly dudes playing. But in 2006, Nintendo destroyed gaming’s biggest barriers – complicated controls and the negative perception that video games are a solitary experience only to be enjoyed by guys in basements – with the Wii. Using motion controls and packaged with the all-ages co-op romp, Wii Sports, the Wii made it safe for women, parents, grandparents, and pretty much anyone to play video games. But maybe even more impactful than the Wii in gaming’s evolution and acceptance is something no one saw coming: mobile touch phones and their killer gaming app, Angry Birds.

For those still somehow unaware of what Angry Birds is, here are the basics: it’s a physics puzzle game, in which the player, through use of the touch screen, launches birds via a slingshot at the increasingly complex fortresses protecting green pigs who’ve stolen the birds’ eggs. It’s up to the player to figure out the right angle, speed and arch at which to launch the birds in order to destroy the fortresses and egg-poaching pigs. It’s funny, it’s fun, and the numbers are mind-boggling. According to Electronic Gaming Monthly, Angry Birds has sold over 30 million units for the iPhone alone, over 100 millon across all platforms, and earns 200 million user minutes each day. And it’s not just guys playing. It’s hard to find anyone with a smart phone, no matter his or her age, without it. But why did Angry Birds reach this level of success where others – including gaming’s biggest developers – failed, and what does it mean for the future of gaming?

Like all other video games that have seen crossover success, such as Tetris, Pac-Man and the aforementioned Wii Sports, Angry Birds nails the essentials: simple premise and simple yet intuitive controls. (To give credit where it’s due, Nintendo saw the value in touch screen controls early with the 2004 release of the Nintendo DS, and with titles like Brain Age, they did try and make games that appealed to a broader demographic, but never really saw this level of buzz.) There’s also the magic price point (Angry Birds has a starting price of just .99 cents). But perhaps the biggest key to its success is platform. The iPhone and other mobile devices have turned out to be Trojan Horse video game machines. Even with all the barriers Nintendo broke down with the Wii, there are still millions of people who have no interest in gaming or would ever dream of buying a video game system. Yet everyone needs a phone, and most non to casual gamers ended up buying a powerful gaming device with the iPhone, Android, and other touch phones, and they didn’t even realize it.

Now, the pressure is on Nintendo and Sony, video game’s two main players in the portable gaming business, to try and compete with this new gaming form and platform. Sony has already announced that their next PlayStation Portable (PSP) will be available with phone functionality. But will its traditional style of games find Angry Birds-level success, and will shorter, more casual games, be accepted on something branded “PlayStation?” Nintendo just released the 3DS, a true wonder of technology, which offers a 3D viewing experience without the use of glasses. Nintendo has taken steps towards iPhone-like functionality; the 3DS features Netflix streaming (in 3D!), maintains the original DS’s touch functionality, and will have access to an app store. But it’s still being branded as a gaming device, and Nintendo does not want to get involved in the phone business. “We have no desire to get into telephony,” Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime told CNN. “We believe that we will earn our way into someone’s pocket without having to offer that (phone capability) as an additional factor.” The 3DS has been successful since its late March launch; indeed, Nintendo sold more launch day 3DS units than any of its previous handhelds. But games are still $40, generally more complex than popular mobile games like Angry Birds, and they’re still physical media. Fils-Aime defends against this criticism, and told Game Trailers TV, “Angry Birds is a great piece of experience but that is one compared to thousands of other pieces of content that, for one or two dollars, I think actually create a mentality for the consumer that a piece of gaming content should only be two dollars.”

It’s a fair point; there are gaming experiences more in-depth and more rewarding than much of what’s available in app stores. But it may already be too late. Mobile phones have forever changed how consumers view the handheld gaming experience, from price to content. There is a huge movement centered around casual gaming both online and on mobile phones – of which Angry Birds is a posterchild – and it’s taking eyeballs and dollars away from the giants of the video game industry.

The Intersection of Sports and Social Media

This is one of the best times of the year for a lot of sports fans. It is the time when the sweet smell of freshly cut grass fills our nose and the unmistakable sound of the crack of the bat fills our ears. Sports bars will soon be filled with ball fans and millions across the country will join together at their respective club’s ballparks to cheer on their favorite team.

The magic of sports is not one that is best enjoyed alone, although it can be done. The true enjoyment of the game comes from the social aspect of coming together and “sharing” your love and enthusiasm for your game. Yes, we all know Yankees fans don’t always agree with Red Sox fans but the sport of baseball is what brings us together. In fact, one of my colleagues mentioned the fact that sports can take the place of regular social interaction. “It gives you something to talk about with someone who you don’t know and may otherwise have nothing to talk about.”

It is this sharing of your passion and love for the game that makes sports a natural fit for social media. To me, and I think most would agree the main purpose of social media is to facilitate connections by sharing content that others will find valuable. So when I saw a recent article highlighting the MLB Fan Cave and how they proposed to use social it was intriguing.

The MLB Fan Cave is the second part of a campaign that originated last year. Last Year Major League Baseball encouraged fans to compete for the dream job of the ultimate fan. Fans were encouraged to use social channels to explain why they should be chosen.

Mike O’Hara, who was picked from the 10k+ applicants will be manning the fan cave along with his sidekick Ryan Wagner. According to the article the main job of this fan is going to be to hang out in a Manhattan location that is equipped with 15 flat screens to watch all 2,430 regular season games. The two will also be expected to be tweeting from an official MLB Fan account (@mlbfancave ) and not only offer their own observations but also respond to comments and connect to other fans.

The duo will also be authoring a blog and producing videos . In short, they are expected to use all of the major social channels to broadcast their experience and share their opinions and observations of the game. Now of course there are also some additional features such as well-known players stopping by (Joba Chamberlain and others) as well as prizes and contests for everyday fans who visit the physical location.

What makes this interesting to me is that it capitalizes on the very essence of what makes sports social. It allows these two otherwise unknown individuals to share and connect with other fans using all of the tools and from an official capacity of the Major League Baseball Name. It is too early to tell whether or not this campaign will be a home run, but by bringing the traditional offline activity of sharing and connecting around your love for the game to the online social channels that help facilitate connections it is clearly a smart play.