Outwit, Outplay, Out-Smartphone? Imagine 'Survivor One World' with a Smartphone in the Tribe

By Carrie Schmelkin May 03, 2012

After 23 seasons of Survivor, we’ve seen it all – from contestant “Johnny Fairplay” lying to his tribe that his grandmother died to elicit fake compassion from his tribe mates, to Richard Hatch’s stripping faux pas, resulting in one offended contestant quitting and threatening to sue CBS to contestant James Clement having his torch snuffed with two immunity idols in his pocket.

But what if Survivor shook things up once again just to keep you on your toes? And no we are not just talking about boys versus girls or having all tribe members share one camp like this season.

We’re talking about giving each tribe a smartphone as their final tribe member as they attempt to “Outwit, Outplay and Outlast” the others. Come on, admit it; it’s catchy.

For you “Survivor” aficionados, just picture Jeff Probst telling contestants on day one to get ready to meet the final member of their tribe (as survivors feverishly look toward the sky for JT or Rupert to miraculously appear). But instead, Probst whips out a single smartphone for each tribe (obviously sponsored by Sprint). Imagine the plotting that could ensue. Will one tribe member use the phone more others putting a target on their back? What phone privileges can survivors enjoy? The possibilities are endless.  

Disclaimer: Some of these suggestions would have to be modified so the general public does not find out when people are voted out, but I trust Mark Burnett and CBS can take care of that.

Consider the following:

Getting the Know Your Tribe:

In over two decades, we have seen doctors lie and say they are currently unemployed, NFL wives not admit to just how cushy their lives are (cough, cough…Monica from “Survivor One World”), and perhaps the most notorious villain, Russell Hantz, a self-made millionaire who characterized himself as nothing more than a country boy – all in the hopes of not being slighted because of their wealth in the end.

But imagine if you could Facebook or LinkedIn your tribe mates to learn not only their true occupations and previous jobs held, but see if they really do like soccer or were just saying that in an attempt to bond. You might also find that your newest ally knows your best friend – if you do the six degrees of separation, of course.

Take it a step further and you can see just what type of person they are. Are they a narcissistic individual who takes to Facebook and Twitter every other second to share their most inane thoughts? Are they a true family person, surrounded by pictures of loved ones and kids? Or perhaps they are actually in a committed relationship, even though they tried to use their good looks and charm into getting you to form an alliance with them?

Ah how Pandora’s Box could be unlocked on the island with a trusty smartphone.

Braving the Elements:

Now of course there would have to be rules in appropriating cell phone use, like not being able to Google how to start a fire or check email, but what if the producers allowed Survivors to check other things like “Can I eat Acropora if I catch it?,” “How to make a day go by without TV, tablets and good,” and “What is going on in my hometown right now?”

Imagine just how interesting this becomes when eight tribe members are expected to share one phone and can check the browser history to see that their supposed new ally just Googled “How to deal with a vain plastic surgeon that speaks in jargon?” (Of course we are not talking about you Tarzan!)

Spicing up Challenges:

There is nothing cooler than the “Survivor” challenges and Jeff Probst’s annoying, albeit brilliant, play-by-plays, but it might get a whole lot more exciting if tribe mates could use their smartphones during challenges. When it comes to those challenging puzzles, for example, contestants would be able to enlist the help of search engine gods – much as they would consult a tribe mate who is good at puzzles – to find shortcuts, tips, etc.  This is not cheating but simply allowing a more tech savvy team to have an advantage.     

Or what about having a competition on the smartphone? Perhaps Probst can challenge the contestants to a rousing game of “Words with Friends” for individual immunity or ask them to upload a YouTube of camp life quicker than the other tribe.   

Outwitting Takes on a New Spin:

“Survivor One World” certainly gave rise to new strategies when it came to “outwitting” this season as the two opposing tribes shared a central beach – meaning that alliances with the enemy could form before the merge. But with a smartphone in play, outwitting becomes even easier and complicated. A phone allows you to dig up some dirt on your fellow tribe mates, via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn stalking, perhaps giving you a greater chance to strike an emotional chord with them.

See that tribe mate who has a vested interest in economics? Perhaps you can offer to get him some good job leads if he promises to take you to the top three. Or what about that mom with four kids at home. Maybe (and very cruelly) you can ask her about her kids a lot so that she starts to miss them so terribly she leaves the game.

And possibly the best method of outwitting comes in “setting” up one of your other tribe mates. Whether it’s logging into their Facebook account (because hey they forgot to log out) and messaging the other team from their account so you can frame them as a double agent or sending a message from your account to an ousted jury member apologizing profusely for the blind side, players might receive kudos for unorthodox “outwitting.” 

Technology has seeped itself into every facet of our lives, even in “Survivor” when contestants are given smartphones to capture reward challenges and view videos from loved ones. But as we enter the 25th season this fall, I’m sure everyone is asking, “What else can the franchise do to keep devoted fans interested?” Well Mark Burnett, perhaps I made your job a bit easier!




Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Web Editor

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