Daily nuggets of inspiration from the good folk
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I’m a gamer. There, I’m out, ok? I’m not into the mindless combat sims that are released year after year like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2. No, I much prefer unique, interesting and original stories I can shape.
Ever since I first got my hands on a computer I’ve been into video games, but it wasn’t until Sony launched the Playstation that it became cool and I considered myself a gamer. Maybe I just needed a brand I could stand behind, but back in 1995 the Playstation was fresh and original, and I loved it – I loved it so much I bought into the next 2 iterations of the console without even thinking about it.
This year in February, Sony revealed its plans for the future of gaming and gave it a name (drum roll) …the ‘Playstation 4′. My immediate reaction was ‘oh… so what’s new?’, ‘what’s the compelling reason to ditch my Playstation 3?’. Sony went on to talk about social gaming and a gamer-centric strategy – all well and good but it didn’t sound new, it sounded more like a sequel.
Sequels are rubbish, everyone knows that. Well ok, there are a couple of notable exceptions; The Godfather 2, The Empire Strikes Back and Toy Story 2, I’m sure you have you’re own favourite sequels but these are the exceptions to the rule, mostly I would argue that people prefer originals.
So why are sequels inferior to their predecessors? Because usually they are retelling the same story – ok maybe it’s a different setting or a new character is introduced – but largely it’s the same. Hollywood seem to have got wise to this. Look at the trend for rebooting rather than endlessly churning out sequels to say Spider-Man. ‘Rebooting’ a franchise is effectively making a sequel seem like a new film again – very clever.
This brings me onto the iPhone. Each year from Apple we get the predicable roll out of first, say, iPhone – technically already a sequel – and then along comes a ‘new’ iPhone 4S – the sequel to the sequel – not quite as sexy is it? Sites are already predicting the arrival of the iPhone 5S but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it materialising under that moniker. The reboot trick has not been lost on Apple – iPad 3 anyone? Nope? How about ‘The new iPad’?
So in my view, Sony would have been better taking a leaf out of Hollywood’s book (or should that be script) and rebooted the Playstation brand. Because no matter how much gloss and high-end specs you provide, it’s really just another sequel…
I love a good Facebook check-in. I guess it’s a little bit of narcissism. A bit of ‘hey, look at me, I’m in a strange / cool / swanky / unbelievable place.’ A friend once said: ‘I love your check-ins, I like following you around and seeing where you pop up next’. That’s nice, but he then proceeds to rip into every single one in some humorous, derogatory manner. It’s also a little bit of connectivity with friends without too much thought or effort – just my style.
So I’m in this bar on my lonesome and I start fiddling with my smart phone so I don’t look sad and give the bartender the impression that somewhere in the world I do have some friends. I check in via Facebook. Nicholson’s (Scottish themed?) GastroPub US style. I was there. It’s official.
I order a burger, a pint of Tennent’s and carry on with my daily Instagram. My food arrives and as the waitress places it in front of me she chirps ‘Hi Ben, welcome to Nicholson’s, hope you enjoy’…thanks!…Wait!…she knew my name? So I spend the next five minutes wondering how that could be? I never told her? I have no credit card behind the bar? But now it’s obvious…the staff were keeping an eye on their Facebook feed. Now I see the point of checking in.
It’s an insanely easy thing to do but it made my night a tiny bit better. Sad right? It’s hardly groundbreaking and yes, i’m probably way behind on this, but I now look at those check-ins in a totally different way. If businesses use them creatively it can be a very useful tool and a great example of a localized personal service and useful two-way connectivity.
So the story concludes, the waitress got a bigger tip, a virtual connection was turned into a real-life connection and conversation, I stayed a little longer and I will probably go back. Job done.
Nuji, a new social network launched in 2011, enables members to create their own virtual stores by selecting items and saving them to wish lists. The lists are presented as a personal online shopping page and link directly to the e-commerce page for each item.
Members can follow their follow friends and other members on the site, and scan barcodes on their mobile phones. The site now features 300,000 tagged items from 15,000 stores.
‘Discovering things is more interesting through people than it is through algorithms,’ says the site’s co-founder Dean Fankhauser. ‘I think that a great opportunity in social commerce lies in enabling you to connect to people with similar tastes.’
Fellody is a new social networking service that connects people with similar taste in music. It compares the music on people’s computers and ranks the highest matches in your area. The system is clever enough to ignore the songs you never play and if you want to keep your guilty listening pleasures a secret, you can choose the songs within your music library that will be matched.
Amazon has quietly rolled out a new social networking service for Kindle owners.
Rather than aiming for the mainstream social media users, Kindle’s network targets the bookish types – and if you count the number of Kindle users, that’s a pretty big social network in itself. Amazon Kindle owners will now have dedicated profiles online, similar to Facebook pages, where users can follow each other and find out what they’re reading, what they’ve put down and what’s waiting in a stack on their nightstand.