3.20.2011

New Media Allows You To Be "IN GAME"

I am a media junkie.  Especially new media.  I have an iPhone, Facebook, Twitter (although I don't use it as much), and YouTube accounts.  I am on LinkedIn.  If you wanted to find me, you certainly could. From high school reunion announcements to business connections, I am wired 24/7.  My question is: Are you? I started probing this question close to home - well, at home - and asked my husband what he thinks of this crazy, wired world.  A long, strange trip ensued. 

My husband, Michael, is a...well, let's unique individual.  By trade he is a software engineer.  He is also a musician.  He also has an (let's different) hobby.  You see, my husband is a gamer.  You know, like Lord of the Rings Online, World of Warcraft, et al.  But he doesn't just hide in the basement and play. He plays live in an arena called Live Action Roleplaying (LARP).  He doesn't just play.  He actually owns a franchise of LARP called WAR (We Are Roleplayers).  Are you still with me? 

A quick lesson.  WAR players go to a destination, usually a camp, where act out their characters for the duration of a weekend. The best way I can describe it is that is it comparable to the movie "Role Models".  If you've seen the movie, you know what I mean.  If not, check out the movie.  At any rate, it's a massive collection of dorks and geeks and gamers who act out their character - for real.  Not in mom's basement. 




WAR has been around for about 16 years in Wheeling. So to reach a new group of would-be role players, Michael has chosen to use emerging media to engage current players (customers) as well as attempting to attract new ones.  So, here's the question: What special, eye-catching innovations are companies using to initiate and build relationships with consumers? Do you feel they are working? Let's talk LARP. 

WAR has taken to using Foursquare and Twitter to engage current player and potential new ones.  When they are "in game" they are usually at a camp site somewhere in the woods.  By creating "places" to check in using Foursquare, they engage people who are "in game". They create "specials" on Foursquare such as discounted pricing (yes, you must pay to play) and coupons and other such incentives.  They use Twitter to give live updates during the games.  While still in its infancy, they are already seeing success at engaging their customers and growing their customer base. 

Social media is perfect for this demographic. Contrary to popular belief, gamers are by nature very social.  They like to be around other gamers and do what other gamers are doing.  By reaching them via social media, WAR is able to speak to the customer where and when the customer demands.  They are just starting to use emerging media, but it looks like this is a great way for them to start to evolve from table top games to LARP.


What are your thoughts about how they can use social media to engage their players?

3.19.2011

Cead Mile Failte - This Irish Girl Says Hello!

In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, I thought this is a good time to say hello as my forefathers did: Cead Mile Failte! It's pronounced kayd meeluh foll-tjuh roe-uht in Irish. The phrase appears in both Irish and Scottish Gaelic. In both, it means "A Hundred Thousand Welcomes".

This blog will be largely focused on emerging media for the next nine weeks as part of an assignment for graduate school.  I am currently a student in West Virginia University's groundbreaking Integrated Marketing Communications program and have been asked to have the blog center on emerging media for a while.  So what does this have to do with being an Irish-American?  Well, quite a bit.

Both my mother and father are "young" Americans. My mother's family immigrated to the states around the 1920s from Rocca de Mezzo, Italy.  My great-grandmother lived to be 99 years old and passed away in 2005. So, we know a lot about our heritage.  We are registered at Ellis Island. However, the Irish history, while new, is a little unclear......which brings to me to the point about emerging media.

My father's grandfather and father both died in their 30s, so we know very little about the Connors family.  So, to the internet we went in search of some answers about who we are.  Starting of course with Ancestry.com, we did a simple search for a name.  We found some interesting facts.  Our name was not Connors, but rather Connor.  What we have pieced together through public records like marriage and death certificates is that Michael Connor came to the U.S. from Ireland. This is my great-grandfather (one of the ones who died in his 30s).  He died in 1912.
  He is the last person in our lineage without the “S” at the end of the name.  This was curious to us, so to the internet we went to find out why.

When Michael died, it left his children orphans, one of whom was my grandfather, Edward Connor. In 1912 women didn’t work so my great-grandmother sent the children to a children’s home.
  When she walked in she said, “These are the Connor’s” signifying that there were multiple “Connor” children, one of whom was my grandfather. And the name was recorded as Connors.

Through the power of Facebook, my father and uncle recently found someone who lives in our same city named Michael Connor.
  This person is their FIRST cousin because his father was not sent to the orphanage thereby keeping the original name.  WOW!

So as we think of the power of emerging media, we often think of it in terms of marketing or growing a business.
  For the Connors family, it has become a way for us to finally understand who we are and from where we hail.

On a side note, my married name is Ennis.
  Through YouTube, we found that there is a town in Ireland called Ennis.  Our wedding bands are emblazoned with the Celtic Knot for the town of Ennis so that we can carry it with us always.  Incidentally, my husband’s first name is Michael. 

So in this week as we commemorate St. Patrick, I say to you Cead Mile Failte!