September 28, 2012
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Bar and bat mitzvah ideas

Bar mitzvah 2.0: Using cell phones for entertainment

for The Brooklyn Paper

Looking back on our childhoods, we thought “the future” would be filled with all kinds of fun stuff like flying cars, transporters, and tons of awesome robots like R2-D2 and Optimus Prime. Instead, we got the computer and, although it can’t transform into a machine gun-toting, semi-trailer truck, there’s no denying that it’s a powerful form of artificial intelligence.

The smartphone, or the hand-held version of the computer, is a device that all the guests at your upcoming simcha will surely have handy — even the 12- and 13-year-olds because, for that generation, being hyper-connected is a huge part of a tween’s social life. They share their whereabouts on Foursquare, tag photos of each other on Facebook, follow their friends on Twitter, and edit their world on Instagram.

Because of this, savvy event planners have creatively embraced these communication networks into the party planning and execution process. So why not incorporate cellphones and social media into your child’s upcoming celebration?

Here’s a few fun ways you can:

Texting

Marla Mase, owner of Party Poopers, recently planned a bar mitzvah, which amalgamated mobile devices, social media, and texting into the entire event. Her client’s party was centered around a mystery theme, and guests used their cellphones to secretly communicate across the room and share clues with one another.

Twitter

There’s been a growing number of large LCD displays with the ability to host a live Twitter feed at large celebrations. A party can then have an official hashtag — like #BriannasBash or #MartysParty — and Twitter users can share photos, videos, and messages instantly on the big screen for everyone at the celebration to read.

Photo sharing

Remember having to wait for a strip of pictures to come out of the side of a photo booth machine? Now those same pictures can be online and viewed by hundreds of people in a fraction of the time. Companies like Smilebooth and Picture Booth offer photo booths with the ability to snap a shot and immediately post it onto their websites. And if someone craves that old, vintage feel of old-school photo booth prints, there’s always Hipstamatic, CameraBag, VintageScene, or good ole’ Instagram to alter the images.

QR codes

The cellphone barcode has also been incorporated into large celebrations. By printing them onto napkins or menu sheets, guests can scan the QR code with their phones and get linked to slideshow or video that explains the menu in more detail.

Touch screen

In addition to photo, Facebook, and Angry Bird booths, companies such as Levy Lighting provide room-length graffiti walls, picture-driven runways, and dance floors, which anyone can draw on and seamlessly erase — sort of like the iPhone app game “Draw Something.” Some parties have even included touch-screen tabletops, where guests can flip through photos of the person being celebrated or play with the theme colors.

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