Titanic 100th anniversary: If the Titanic sank today, how would the news break on social media?

Titanic's Passengers All Rescued -- The Syracuse Herald

100 years ago, the Syracuse Herald and many other newspapers around the world mistakenly printed reports that all the RMS Titanic's passengers had been saved. In reality, 1,514 people died when the 'unsinkable' ship hit an iceberg and there were far less lifeboats than could hold its 2,223 passengers.

“Breaking News” and “Newsflash” are almost completely outdated terms in the world of social media, yet “old media” like newspapers, television and radio stations, still use them. They’ll even use the term when someone else has broken the news and it’s all over Twitter and Facebook, hours earlier. Sometimes it’s a result of which sources have the better credibility or a bigger audience — if the Pleasantville Daily News “breaks” something to its 98 followers, then it’s fair to say CNN is actually breaking the news to most people when they pick up the story.

Ultimately, though, the desire to be FIRST! in breaking a story is no longer just a traditional media problem. Even Joe Schmo can “break” a story to his 254 Tumblr subscribers if he posts it early enough, which is why news breaks today on the Internet in confusing yet fascinating ways.

On the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic’s sinking, I wonder how the news on April 15, 1912, would have been covered on social media.

Here’s a few possible tweets that could’ve occurred:

  • @FanOfSeaStuff: “Just heard over the radio that the Titanic hit something.”
  • @RoseDawson: “I could not be any happier than where I am right now.” (Sent using the ship’s wi-fi before the rising water took it out.)
  • @NewsGuy04121912: “Reports coming in that the Titanic has hit something — could be an iceberg or a whale — but all passengers are okay.”
  • @KateWinsletFan: “Don’t believe the reports the Titanic hit anything. Just look: RT @RoseDawson I could not be any happier than where I am right now.”
  • @CNNBRK: “BREAKING NEWS: RMS Titanic has hit a large object, believed to be an iceberg, and is taking on water.” (retweeted 1087 times)
  • @DudeNamedDude: “I heard from @NewsGuy0412912 that a whale hit the Titanic. Bet he’s looking to make a nice snack out of some passengers.”
  • @FoxNews: “NEWSFLASH: The ‘unsinkable’ ship RMS Titanic is sinking on the Atlantic; passengers being taken to lifeboats.”
  • @NYTimes: “White Star Line confirms the Titanic ocean liner has been hit by an iceberg and boats are headed to rescue its passengers.”
  • @HersheyChocoholic: “Tweeps, don’t worry about the Titanic — @FoxNews says passengers are being taken to lifeboats.”
  • @TMZ: “Inside sources tell us someone yelled ‘women and children first!’ as the Titanic began rescuing passengers.”
  • @ReporterGuy: “Coast Guard reporting Titanic ship is slowly sinking as passengers fill the lifeboats.”
  • @MotionPictureGirl: “Someday this’ll be a movie, and they’ll probably make the Titanic sinking WAAAY more dramatic with cheesy music.”

Eventually, the true story would emerge, but as the news breaks there’s all sorts of conflicting opinions and reactions that confuse the world wide web. Even before social media, inaccurate reports happened all the time. The Syracuse Herald newspaper first ran a front page headline that said “Titanic’s Passengers All Rescued” with a dramatic telling of how they were all taken to lifeboats.

Apparently, what happened was: A wireless message went out stating ‘All Titanic’s Passengers Safe.’ A week later it was discovered that this message had been wrongly received in the confusion of messages flashing through the air. In reality the message should have read ‘Are All Titanic’s Passengers Safe?'” Can you imagine THAT going viral on social media? Reporters would lose their jobs and Mashable readers would lose their minds (because Mashable would’ve written a story about it, too, in an effort to get SEO traffic even though they claim they focus only on web/technology news).

While many of us (including Titanic director James Cameron) are shocked that some audiences are just now finding out that Titanic was real and not just a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, can you imagine if the Titanic sank today how it would be covered on social media? Ponder that the next time you see “Breaking News” somewhere on the Internet, and think before you tweet.

Social media #fail: How AARP’s Notorious B.I.G. tweets lost sight of their audience

The Notorious AARP

Social media fail: The Notorious AARP

March 9, 2012, was the 15th anniversary of Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace’s death. “R.I.P. Notorious B.I.G.” was a trending topic throughout most of the day as fans mourned the loss of one of rap music’s most loved artists in the ’90s and the voice of hip-hop gems like “Hypnotize,” “Mo Money Mo Problems” and “Juicy.”

Some brands choose to capitalize on social media trends by joining the conversation and attempt to draw some attention. That’s not necessarily a bad idea, but it’s so easy to do it in the wrong way (See: Kenneth Cole) and anger thousands of customers.

AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, touts itself as “leading a revolution in the way people view & live life after 50.” In other words, they’re an organization that helps retired people — older people, mostly senior citizens. (Seriously, in this economy, how many retired people do you know between the ages of 50 and 65?)

Yesterday, AARP joined the conversation with #NotoriousAARP tweets and requests for fans (plus artists like Jay-Z, MC Hammer, Justin Timberlake and Snoop Dogg) to submit ideas for #AARPrapsongs. “We miss you, Biggie,” their official account posted Friday morning, sparking a conversation that was dubious at best.

“That tweet makes me forgive you for being on your mailing list for the past decade, although I’m under 40,” @macvitula responded. @NickReisman added, “Clearly this is designed to make my father feel less old when getting membership offers.”

As one blog pointed out, it sounded like someone’s grandson was running the association’s official Twitter account instead of their target older audience (who may or may not still be having trouble with webcams). That’s when social media is making a mistake — know your brand’s voice and, perhaps more importantly, know your audience.

Notorious B.I.G. would have turned 40 this year. Even if the AARP really has a significant number of members that are in their early 50s, a 50-year-old still would have been 34 when the single “Big Poppa” earned the rapper his first Grammy nomination in 1996 — already out of the age demographic of MTV and radio stations that would have played his songs.

Luckily, AARP hasn’t seemed to spark much of a furor — yet. Most of their members may still be figuring out this “Facebook thing” and haven’t even heard about what’s going on Twitter. And in case you were wondering, their Facebook page has zero mentions of Biggie. All they posted yesterday was pictures of a puppy contest called “Mutt Madness” and a link for members to get 10% off from exercise equipment from Smooth Fitness, which bears repeating my other point: keep your social media voice consistent.

By the way, for those hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel, @AARP still thinks their audience is a twentysomething (or even thirtysomething) hipster. “Working on a Storify curating the top #SXSW news, ideas and info for 50+… Tweet us if you hear something cool,” their Twitter account posted on Saturday morning.

‘Linsanity’: 17 reasons why the Jeremy Lin media obsession is perfectly rational

Even Jeremy Lin is jumping with 'Linsanity.'

Even Jeremy Lin is jumping with 'Linsanity.'

Everyone, especially the media, has become obsessed with New York Knicks breakout star Jeremy Lin. Headlines everywhere are filled with awesome puns about his ‘Lincredible’ basketball skills or his ‘Linsane’ fans but I, even as a Celtics fan, am OK with it. In fact, the media obsession is perfectly rational, and here’s 17 reasons why:

1. The little guy that finally got a chance. At 6’3″ and 200 pounds, he’s not your likely NBA star, especially next to Knicks stars Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. But when Amare took a week off for a death in his family and ‘Melo was injured, Lin stepped up. Big time.

2. Fans catching ‘Linsanity.’ I believe media should report on what audiences care about and, in one week, Jeremy Lin sparked higher ticket prices than last year’s “Melodrama” when the former Syracuse University star first joined the Knicks. His #17 jersey was #1 in the NBA Store this past week, and celebrities like Mike Tyson, Whoopi Goldberg and Mary J. Blige were all spotted at Wednesday night’s game.

3. Harvard University. Far too many professional athletes make academics a small part of their lives — Kobe Bryant skipped college altogether, for crying out loud. Kids look up to sports stars, so it’s nice to see they may start wearing jerseys or hang posters of a guy who had a 4.2 GPA in high school and not only finished college, but graduated with a degree in economics at one of the most prestigious colleges in the world.

4. MSG controversy. Time Warner Cable’s contract with MSG lapsed January 1 after the cable company refused to pay an extra 53 percent, meaning 2.8 million subscribers in New York couldn’t watch Lin until the dispute ended February 17.

5. Talent. You can refuse to believe the hype, but the fact is Lin scored 136 points in his first five career starts, the most by any player since the NBA and ABA merged in 1976. He may not have Rajon Rondo’s speed or LeBron James’ strength, but he’s Ivy League smart and can make shots when he needs to — just ask Jose Calderon.

6. Elevates the team. When Stoudemire returned Tuesday, Lin switched to passing — he’s averaged 12 assists in the past two games, and you can expect it to go up when leading scorer Anthony returns from a groin injury. New York also had seven players score in double digits for the first time in 2+ years.

7. Fresh star in an unexciting season. Until Lin emerged, the lockout-shortened season slogged along with too many games crammed in, leading to tired/injured players. Sadly, the most exciting things to happen were either LBJ and Blake Griffin’s back-to-back dunks or Will Ferrell’s hilarious player introductions at a New Orleans Hornets game.

8. First Asian NBA star since Yao Ming. Lin, a Taiwanese-American, is in the minority in the league, but Toronto saw a rare sellout crowd Tuesday thanks to the city’s 11% Asian population that was excited to see him.

9. Ignore the racism. Floyd Mayweather and Jason Whitlock both made racist comments recently, and both MSG and ESPN have been offensive, but to pretend that bigotry hasn’t existed in sports before is naive. Lin doesn’t react to it, even when a teammate made a mock Chinese bow after his game-winning three against Toronto.

10. He never gave up. No team picked him in the 2010 NBA Draft, but he stuck with it in the NBA Summer Leagues and was eventually offered a contract with the Golden State Warriors. The team later waived him to clear up salary cap space.

11. He’s the league’s answer to Tim Tebow. The Denver Broncos quarterback fueled hype for success on the field and his religious beliefs, and Lin is not much different — his mellow playlist includes Christian artists Hillsong and Lecrae.

12. Modesty. Lin wasn’t making millions but made enough to get by, yet he was still living on teammate Landry Fields’ couch until this week. Of course, now that he’s moving into Trump Towers, that may change…

13. That nerdy handshake. He and Fields, a Stanford graduate, pretend to read a book and put on glasses in the dorkiest handshake since the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff.

14. Even the President is a fan. Barack Obama, the Commander-‘Lin’-Chief, went to Harvard law school so of course he loves the 23-year-old alumnus. “It’s just a great story and the President was saying as much,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

15. His goofy sense of humor. Mashable found his Xanga blog (holy old Internet stuff!) where he joked as a youth about trying different styles for wearing his headband.

16. His name. If Lin’s last name was Okafor, then this hype wouldn’t be as much fun. It may be getting excessive, but let the media have fun with the nicknames ‘Lin-Sync,’ ‘Lin it to Win it,’ and ‘Linsider.’ You know you love it.

17. All he does is win Lin. The Knicks started the season 8-15, despite having two NBA All-Stars and Chandler, who won the Championship with Dallas last season. They won all of Lin’s first 7 games as a starter to finally reach a .500 record.

All I want for Christmas is the ‘DeafGeoff’ poster from a Garbage Pail Kids tribute art show. Seriously.

Deaf Geoff by Ryan Brinkerhoff

This is a poster by Ryan Brinkerhoff from a Garbage Pail Kids tribute art show at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles

Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles hosted an awesome Garbage Pail Kids tribute art show in September. It consisted entirely of GPK-inspired art, including remakes and reinterpretations of the famous trading card set (and TV show, and movie) that grossly parodied Cabbage Patch Kids, with characters like “Adam Bomb” and “Dire Rita.” The Hundreds posted photos of the gallery’s opening, which featured celebrity guests like Hayley Williams from Paramore and Chad Gilbert from New Found Glory.

My favorite was a piece by Ryan Brinkerhoff, an electro-inspired remake of “Deaf Geoff,” which was an actual Garbage Pail Kids trading card in 1986. (Yes, I have the card.) His design is similar to the original, showing a character literally blowing his ears out by blasting music from a boom box on his shoulder. But Brinkerhoff changes up the colors for a funky interpretation that would have looked cool on the walls of any ’80s dance club.

It’s currently on sale as an 18″ x 24″ poster for $30 on the Gallery 1988 website.

I want it. I want it for Christmas, my birthday, “just because,” whatever — and I’ll totally frame it and hang it in my apartment. It’s too awesome not to have it, especially since it’s a modern art twist on the GPK card inspired my namesake*.

» View a slideshow of the best art from Gallery 1988’s Garbage Pail Kids tribute art exhibit

Here’s what the original “Deaf Geoff” Garbage Pail Kids card looked like, No. 206a from the 1986 set:

***Final Update: Someone wonderful got me the poster. :) Thank you to everyone who offered. Happy holidays!

*A few people have asked me over the years where I got my name “DeafGeoff,” and if it has anything to do with the Garbage Pail Kids card or the ’80s rapper Def Jef (who later produced Shaquille O’Neal’s first album). There’s also an obscure ’80s movie called ‘Plain Clothes’ (starring Arliss Howard, who played grown-up Scotty Smalls in ‘The Sandlot’) that had a character named Deaf Jeff, but my name came from none of those. No, I simply came up with the name myself when I was 12 years old — before I know about any of the other versions of the name — and made it my first screen name on AOL. It’s my DJ name, too, and it’s an easy introduction to the fact that my name is Geoff Herbert and I’m mostly deaf.

Steve Jobs’ lasting legacy isn’t ‘things’ – it’s iVision

Steve Jobs memorial at Apple store in Sydney, Australia.

Fans pay tribute with a Steve Jobs memorial outside an Apple store in Sydney, Australia.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs didn’t invent the computer, the laptop, the mp3 player, the smartphone, or cloud-based storage. He didn’t create Pixar, the animation studio behind “Toy Story” and countless other beloved movies, and he didn’t come up with the idea of people paying to download music. But he had the vision to see the potential in all of them and make them unique, changing the world we live in.

The Mac computer line is simply that — a line of computers. They should be considered personal computers (because that’s what most people use them as) but Jobs kept their concept (and especially their marketing) so different and unique from Windows-operating systems that no one will ever call a MacBook a “PC.”

There were hundreds of MP3 players being designed at the turn of the millenium, but one emerged as “the” MP3 player: the iPod. First released in October 2001, it was just a white MP3 player with white earbuds, but the company’s genius ad campaign made it seem like the iPod was a completely different lifestyle. It wasn’t long before any other MP3 player was considered low-tech and the iPod defined the way we listened to digital music.

At the same time, Jobs’ vision helped make legal downloads of music a viable source of revenue — not just for Apple, but for the music industry itself. Napster and dozens of other P2P file-sharing sites like it changed the way users consume music to the point where we expected (and some still do expect) to get music for free, without even considering it “stealing.” But iTunes changed that too. Earlier this year, iTunes celebrated its 10 billionth music download — that’s music that we’re paying for, and 10 years ago it seemed impossible. But Jobs managed to spearhead a revolution that, to a degree, saved the music industry.

The iPhone was not the first “smartphone” either. But Jobs foresaw a future without physical keyboards, with beautiful screen displays, and with combining talking and surfing the Internet at the same time, he set the standard that all other smartphones compare themselves to. Android loyalists accuse Apple of making “new” features that have already existed, but that was Jobs’ power — he made everything seem unique, and fans ate it up.

No other smartphone gets as much hype, speculation, or anticipation as the iPhone. Rumors spread like crazy for each device, and everyone claims to know what the next one will look like and when it will come out. The media doesn’t do stories on any other product that doesn’t exist without facts or confirmed sources — except the iPhone.

Lastly, Jobs should be given a ton of credit for the iPad. At no time was anyone saying to themselves, “Hmm, I wish I had a computer that was smaller than a laptop but too big to fit in my pocket.” Yet the visionary then-CEO convinced the world that we needed tablet computers, and every other technology manufacturer followed suit — suddenly, millions thought they “needed” a tablet. And the iPad is now “the” tablet.

Jobs may be remembered most for all of the “things” he oversaw and helped create, but he should be remembered most for his vision. His iVision. All of the products he’s been a part of, it wasn’t the products themselves that were unique — it was Jobs that made us see them as unique. And therein lies the genius of his legacy.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary… Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” — Jobs’ Stanford University commencement speech in 2005.

RIP Steve. (1955-2011)

Want to feel old? Here are 18 things that are older than this year’s college freshmen

Ah, college. The freshmen that are beginning college this week are, for the most part, 18 or 19 years old which means they were born in 1992 or 1993. (We’ll overlook the Doogie Howser-esque young prodigies for the purposes of this article.) For the class of 2015, LBJ means LeBron James; women have always been on the Supreme Court; Andre the Giant and River Phoenix have always been dead; they’ve never touched a TV dial; and Ferris Bueller is old enough to be their dad.

Want to feel even older? Here are 18 things older than this year’s college freshmen:

1. The Nirvana baby.
Nirvana Baby Spencer Elden
Spencer Elden, who appeared naked on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind, was born February 7, 1991.

2. The world wide web.
Tim Berners-Lee published the world’s first website on August 6, 1991.

3. MTV’s “The Real World.”
The Video Music Awards (or VMAs) have been around since ’84 but in 1992 Bunim-Murray started reality television with a simple show about “what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.” Season 26 starts in September. (It’s my theory that everyone under 40 has one season that they strongly identify with from their youth — mine is 1998’s “The Real World Seattle” with Irene and the famous slap heard ’round the world.)

4. Mariah Carey’s entire career.
Her debut album came out June 12, 1990. She had eight #1 songs by the end of 1993.

5. Pac-Man, Mario, Mega Man, Link (“Zelda”) and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Video games Pacman, Mega Man, Super Mario Bros, Zelda, SonicPac-Man may have been the first major video game icon when it debuted in 1980 until that plucky plumber known as Mario arrived as Donkey Kong’s rival in 1981. Then Link appeared in “The Legend of Zelda” in 1986, Mega Man sprung into action in 1987, and Sonic first appeared on Sega in 1991.

6. Reebok Pump inflatable shoes and L.A. Lights’ light-up sneakers.
Reebok Pumps and L.A. Lights light-up sneakersThe craze of getting “pumped up” before a basketball game started in 1989, and kids have been wearing those cool light-up sneakers since 1992.

7. “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?”
Do it Rockapella! This geography show and accompanying theme song both debuted in 1991. (Those of us who watched it will snicker now to realize that the host’s name was Greg Gethard. Tee-hee.)

8. Non-Communist Russia.
Unless they’re studying history, the class of 2015 has little to no knowledge of the fact that Russia used to be known as the U.S.S.R. and was the foremost Communist power in the world until it dissolved in 1991.

9. Pamela Anderson’s ginormous boobs.
Pamela AndersonShe later had them removed (and got them again in 2004), but “Baywatch” lifeguard CJ Parker first got breast implants in 1990, going from a 34C to a 36DD.

10. Barney.
Barney the purple dinosaurBarney the purple dinosaur was created in 1987 and debuted on PBS in “Barney & Friends” in 1992.

11. Mark Wahlberg’s non-acting career.
When today’s college freshmen were born, he was known as Marky Mark, modeled for Calvin Klein and had a #1 rap hit with “Good Vibrations.” His first movie role was in 1993’s The Substitute.

12. Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks.
These NBA and NHL expansion teams were all added between 1988 and 1992. The Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies joined the MLB in 1993.

13. Beauty & The Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Brave Little Toaster and Aladdin.
Disney's Beauty & The Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Brave Little Toaster, and AladdinThese four Disney movies came out between 1987 and 1992. The first Pixar movie, Toy Story, changed animated films forever when it came out in 1995 when today’s freshmen were just 2 or 3 years old.

14. The Silence of the Lambs.
Sir Anthony Hopkins starred as Hannibal Lecter for the first time in 1991. He won an Oscar despite only appearing on screen for 16 minutes, the shortest ever for a Best Actor winner.

15. Hello Kitty.
Hello KittyThe cute Japanese bobtail cat with no mouth is even older than you might realize. She first appeared in the U.S. in 1976 and now is the face of more than 12,000 products worldwide and has earned Sanrio billions of dollars.

16. Jonathan Lipnicki.
Jonathan LipnickiThe cute “the human head weighs 8 pounds” kid from Jerry Maguire was born October 22, 1990. He was adorable when he was 6, but his cuteness (and his career) faded as he got older.

17. “Blossom,” “Doug,” “Rugrats,” “Clarissa Explains It All,” “Ren & Stimpy,” and “The Jerry Springer Show.”
Blossom, Clarissa, Jerry Springer, Rugrats, Doug and Ren & StimpyAll of these premiered in 1991. Yes, Jerry Springer has been interviewing Nazi midgets with clown fetishes on TV for 20 years, and Mayim Bialik and Melissa Joan Hart are both now 35. “Whoa!”

18. Otto the Orange.
Otto the OrangeSyracuse University, back when their sports teams were still called Orangemen and Orangewomen, did not make Otto the official mascot until 1995. However, according to the SU website, the cheerleading squad first picked the name Otto for “The Orange” in 1990.

Speaking of Syracuse (my alma mater), Michael Jordan’s daughter Jasmine is a freshman at SU this year. Yes, MJ’s youngest child is in college and she was born two years AFTER Syracuse basketball great Derrick Coleman won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1991. How old do you feel now?

Video Game Stats: The average gamer is 34 years old? [infographic]

Whether your favorite game is Mario Kart, Call of Duty, Rock Band or Madden NFL, it seems almost everyone can enjoy a video game once in a while. In fact, 67% of American households — that’s 2 out of every 3 — have a video game console in their home. Even more surprising, the average gamer is NOT a little kid who isn’t even old enough to get a job. The average person who plays video games is 34 years old. Wow.

Some of the more interesting statistics:
» 40% of gamers are female; 80% of female players use Wii
» 41% of male gamers use Wii, 38% XBox and 21% PS3
» 48% of parents play video games with their kids at least once a week
» The average gamer plays 8 hours of video games per week

More stats on the video game industry:
Gamer Statistics
[via]

Now for the big question: What’s your favorite video game? I personally love DJ Hero, Mortal Kombat, Mario Kart, NBA 2K11 and Madden 10. I really wish they’d bring back Mutant League Football, though…

Leave a comment with your favorite video games!