ZZ Top may have wrote it, but how many times have we heard that the clothes make the man. Noemie Emery wrote this in the Weekly Standard, making political points against the President as she concludes:
He’s your ideal, and if he fails, it means that the things that you value—the smoothness, the snark, the verbal facility, the elevation of talk as against thought and action, the veneer of worldliness; the right schools, the right clothes, the right frame of reference; the nuance; the sophistication—that these things are, in the real world, not all that important.
And then, of course, neither are you.
Political vitriol aside, how often do we find the same in athletics? And see the ever-so-hard crash of the once triumphant Adonis we build. I've been part of that process -- insider and outsider -- and sensed the impact. Emery's last line is telling, something so obvious that I'd never seen it before. It is why fans get so crushed when they have invested so much in a person or team. Many times, we want to see ourselves in them, and we forget, they are playing the games for them -- not us -- at the end of the day.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
ZZ Top may have wrote it, but how many times have we heard that the clothes make the man. Noemie Emery wrote this in the Weekly Standard, making political points against the President as she concludes:
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Thanks to Jill Geer on my Facebook page for the heads up to a Peter Shankman rant about the dangers of "Free" public WiFi. Shankman is relating his personal experience with a new plug in for Firefox called Firesheep. It basically allows the user to see anything non-encrypted floating across a public WiFi.
Must read as he describes how easy it is for anyone to steal your passwords and begin to create massive amounts of trouble.
Firesheep is not some wanton script-kiddie black-hat shot at the man. It's a pretty serious move by a programmer named Eric Butler who became concerned about the privacy issue. He made the plug in to reveal the weakness.
I'll confess to having used public WiFi in the past for a quick check in. Not any more. Ever.
Seriously -- read the Shankman story right now.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Few things less pleasant than going back through customer service logs when you know there has been a problem. Certainly the case yesterday when no fault to us or our internet provider we lost audio stream.
I know I do the same thing -- "yell" and "scream" at the computer via email. And it's easy to do when you don't think there is a human on the other end of the email.
This is why I am pretty firm about asking fans to not use screen names or handles on interactive blogs, and why I'll be far more tolerant of opinions that seem to come from people with names; Facebook comments being a good example of this, too. If you're that mad and willing to put your name on it -- hearkens back to the old letter to the editor days and the pre-handles days of talk radio.
So I take the time this morning to send each of those very upset -- rightfully so -- fans that had their audio interrupted. Once they are in the conversation with a human, things almost always change. As one person put it:
It's nice to know that my complaints didn't fall on deaf ears...or no ears at all, as is so often the case with internet services.
Friday, October 22, 2010
"You're going to do what?"
That's the typical reaction to CoverItLive and other real-time live reporting tools (don't discount Twitter for certain applications) by some administrators and media relations personnel at other schools that haven't tried it. It's often quickly followed by either:
"What good is that going to do?"
"That's a waste of time."
Really? In the socially connected world in which we now live, the messaging is micro. It's targeted. It's one-v-one. What better use of your time than to connect with our fans. As I've preached here before, it is about converting fans into friends, going from a brand to a bond. (As an aside, I consider "Brand-to-Bond" a trademark concept, please cite properly -- thanks!)
Today, one of our interns, John Thomas, provides a fantastic example of what the live blog means. He's over at the Billingsly Tennis Courts, dutifully live blogging the ITA Central Regionals.
Huh? He what?
Here was the concept -- one that many SIDs can relate to. You're going to be there all day long. You're going to have very little to do other than keep up with the comings and goings of your team's players. There is too much chaos to run live stats and it's not the NCAA Championships where you'll have demand for all those courts streaming and scoring.
So, I suggested, why not sit by the tournament official (which you're going to likely do anyway) and keep up a live blog of who's going out to the courts and the results when you can get them coming back in. If they use the manual tenders (no umpires in the chairs in the first rounds to operate the scoring system), you can post the occasional "here's the unofficial scores on court X, Y and Z and as we have it A & B are on court X, etc."
OK, say the tennis contacts that will work this weekend. Sounds like fun. And off we go for the weekend.
The image at the bottom is from Day Two - today's blog - is the payoff. One of our European players, Anouk Tigu, is being followed by her dad Sabin from Holland. He was able to ask if his daughter was on the court, and get an answer.
Well, he could have seen that with live stats if you'd cared to set that up, or a live video stream. Yes to the second, and not the same to the first.
I want to belabor this point: Sabin Tigu was able to ask John Thomas how is daughter is doing halfway around the world and John Thomas on behalf of the University of Arkansas was able to interact with Sabin about Anouk.
That's a brand attempting to become a bond with Sabin Tigu.
Live stats posted without interaction -- that's a computer providing information.
Don't get me wrong, live stats have their place, along with that video stream and audio streams. Far too often we let our technology take the place of our humanity.
I see it every week on the football interactive blog -- most of the folks involved cannot reach us in any other way: overseas, military, travelers. They are very appreciative of the effort. You never know where that kindness may lead.
On the technical labor side, let's repeat my number one point about the interactive and live reporting -- you're going to be there anyway. Unless there is a pressing demand for other work (like being on the radio) you can use that time to interact with fans, and help convert them into friends.
At least this morning, I'll bet John's got a new friend named Sabin.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The Chronicle's Wired Campus feed provides an interesting review of the legal abilities of a university to discipline students in on-line behavior. It is in relation to the tragedy at Rutgers earlier this month.
I remind again our athletics colleagues of the opinion that as participants in student activities campus has more of an ability to sanction on the grounds they are quasi-representatives of the institution and as voluntary participants in our activities have signed off on regulation.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Curious to hear your feedback on this question: after building an iSpace app, what is next - Android or Blackberry?
One clue overheard on This Week in Tech. Leo Laporte makes the off-hand comment that in spite of improvements lately, a Blackberry "is the phone they hand you along with your ID card" at a job and iPhone or Android "is the phone you'll buy at the cell phone store."
Along with previous posts about the growth in Android platform share in the market via Nielsen Line, consider this further twist off Leo's point. If Android is the one you'd buy for yourself, it is more likely to be a reflection of your personal life. Bonding to the personal social graph is the future for athletic media relations. Again, advantage Android.
One last one: who is your target audience? Business types that might be ticket buyers or boosters or future students (and student-athletes). No big shakes of which phone fits which group.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
You may have read about the mild dust-up on our campus regarding the taping of a U.S. Senate campaign ad by a former Razorback football player who is one of the two candidates in the race. Part of that story line was what is public property and what constitutes an endorsement.
From The Chronicle we get alert to a brewing First Amendment challenge to the University of Kentucky's rights package. The interesting twist that reminds me of the Razorbacks is down in the student paper's coverage:
UK is a state-funded university and owns Commonwealth Stadium, making the venue a public place.
This was one of the items that came up in our events. Read through all the points of view here -- notably that the local newspaper once distributed papers at games but had also been stopped. The student paper seems to be reviving a battle already fought and decided.
A compromise allowed the students fixed locations to distribute, but could not roam the parking lots.
One gets the clear sense from the media coverage that it is far from over. The lawyer for the students tells the local Lexington newspaper:
Jon Fleischaker, a Louisville lawyer who is an expert on the First Amendment, said that prohibiting the distribution of publications at Commonwealth Stadium, which is part of a publicly funded institution, violates the U.S. Constitution.
"Anybody — not just the students — anybody has the right to go onto public property and distribute information," Fleischaker said. And, he said, they don't have to have permission from anyone to do so.
"It's a public facility. It's an open-forum public facility," he said. "I just think a public university ought to know better."
Certainly I speak a lot about our own achievements here, and Jeff Long has certainly been a prolific tweet -- his engagement with students and fans over new style NIKE uniforms in the college football season opener gained him some national attention.
However, I'd like to take a moment to point out some kudos for a really nice use of the medium by Miss State's Scott Stricklin. After his Bulldogs pulled off the win at Florida, his tweets touched the three keys to successful engagement.
First, they were informative. His first post-game tweet was:
Team should arrive on campus (at Templeton Academic center) at 1 AM. I'll update as we get ready to leave Fla
And that got updated right before the plane departed.
Second, they provided something a little personal. Two in particular spoke to the emotions of the event:
Gave game ball to @CoachDanMullen postgm. Told team "u don't win cause you're at a special place, you win cause u have special people."
We talk in Ath Dept that our goal is to create great experiences for all Mississippians. Tonight was a GREAT experience!
Through the event, Stricklin brings attention back to some of the core values MSU has been pushing all year. It's not preachy, but it's a nice chance to remind folks that the goals can yield results.
Finally, they were social. In the midst of his props for the team, he gave a retweet to one of his beat writers, Brandon Marcello (yes, as in former NW Arkansas Times/ADG on-line editor):
True. RT @bmarcello: Dan Mullen had Chinese food Wed; fortune cookie read, "You're heading south to experience much happiness."
Clocking 3,600-plus followers, Stricklin has built a nice base with pretty consistent work. He's averaging four to six tweets a day in his messaging, and in a reasonably short time pushed out over 1,100 messages.
From the outside, it appears MSU had put their young AD out front as the primary messenger. In contrast, the department's feed is not far ahead of Stricklin at 3,900 follow but only 262 tweets.
Let's not forget where Stricklin cut his teeth -- sports info.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Apologies for the lag here -- nothing like the 24-hours of Le Auburn to put a crimp in the blog. And I might add a nice stone bruise from the MINI steering wheel on that 12 hour drive down and back. Working on some new things in the background that should be pretty exciting. Back with more soon.
NPR has a provocative piece today about whether it makes any sense to attend journalism school. Talking with faculty and students at Southern Cal's Annenberg School, it does give one pause at items like:
At USC, undergraduate tuition alone reaches $40,000, and, when taken with fees, books, room, board and other charges, a year’s cost can exceed $55,000. These days journalism schools around the country are often challenged to justify a mission that trains students at such a high cost for a collapsing industry that doesn't even require a degree.
Look, this isn't something that hasn't been discussed here (Picking up on NYU's Jay Rosen | John Dvorak's similar rant | And my own takes on creative destruction and a brave new j-world) The Age of Watergate gave us the desire to "professionalize" the education of journalists. H.L. Mencken did just fine without J-School, as did many of the legends of the Golden Age in the 1950s and 1960s.
This is not to say the Annenberg School is sitting still. Say, does this quote in the story sound familiar:
Among Annenberg's new projects: giving flip cameras and cell phones to migrant workers so they can post blog entries about their own experiences.
That's convergence and P.O.V. -- coin of a content driven realm. They quote one of the stars of the USC program, Callie Schweitzer:
"We need reliable journalists who are trustworthy and credible," Schweitzer said. "I look at people on Twitter who build followings; it's because they're reputable."
Bingo -- and heavy on the last four words: it's because they're reputable.
Keep that thought in mind on your own real-time reporting and blogs.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
In a year that's been filled with disappointing endings, today's was a bittersweet realization. Coming out of my son's apartment, I look up to see the Lewis Soccer Fields.
Oh. Yeah, it's about 5:45 p.m. Game time. But not anymore for me. Fayetteville Youth Soccer - no more for the Smith family.
That's about 14 years through our two children, and most of that time serving as a coach. I really enjoyed it, not only for the chance to be Will and Ashley, but also helping bring the sport up from a somewhat niche activity for youngsters to one of the activities.
It also went a long way toward building my love for the beautiful game. When I started with the kids, I was still working a lot with our women's soccer team as heir sports information director. Helped design and build the first women's only field, then stadium, in Division I. The first televised SEC soccer match. First video streaming.
Even in the years after handing off the sport to other SIDs, I still had a hand in hiring two coaching staffs, traveling to England with one of them for our only foreign tour in 2000. Until this fall, I'd been the play-by-play for soccer, either for radio or video steaming.
But through it all, there was the Lewis Fields.
In all the changes this fall, I'd just forgotten. And now the once six-year-old first-touch player as a 19-year-old young man has it first on-his-own apartment overlooking those youth pitches.
Time marches on, but we don't have to like it.
A couple of Chronicle articles catch the eye this week. The first one is about the future of archiving social media, thinking first of the great Library of Congress project with Twitter generally and of the Iranian revolution specifically. Interesting read, and one very telling passage:
Web users have voiced concern that their personal online footprints will be kept open for all to see in perpetuity. As much fun as, say, that drunken tweet from your weekend in Vegas may have been at the time, you may not want a possible employer reading through your indiscretions on the Library of Congress Web site in a few years. The solution may be keeping archives "dark"—that is, restricting archive access to researchers or sealing the records for a set amount of time.
First, you just better assume that your life in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas anymore, it will live in some form of perpetuity on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc. Second, the idea of an arbitrary "dark" gives me a creepy non-FOI feel, or worse, access for those that know how to work (even more worse, can afford to) the system.
The next article was more about professor's use of Twitter, and had some of the usual stereotype comments about the lack of teens and college age using Twitter versus Facebook until the very bottom:
“Now I hear students say, 'Facebook is where I go to socialize, and Twitter is where I go to work,'” Mr. Junco says.
Bingo. Twitter is real-time reporting, just like CoverItLive (kind of), SMS text-messaging (exactly, but costly) or any future short-form burst of info system. Facebook is the social aspect -- Twitter is news.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
An alert from the front lines and a shameless Buggles reference. On Bulldog Reporter today, a provocative piece on the demise of media relations as we know it. The dire prediction is social media overruns all within two years.
Two years? Could be sooner than that.
Don Bates is the head of the study -- Bulldog has transcribed interview today. Three important nut quotes:
In 10 years, it will all come back around — there won't be distinctions like "traditional" and "social": there will just be "media." Right now, it's not that way — but some people are having a hard time with the distinctions.
Twitter can be quick and dirty and get people to link to you, and the notion of 140 characters linking to a larger story is certainly going to get more popular. But you have to focus on the content and links to the larger story to keep people's interest.
You also have to craft a personality online so people can know you.
Invest the time today in this story. It's far more than those three blurbs.
Missed in the week's work was this supporting tidbit to my earlier comment about On The Media's story regarding licensing of news footage in campaign material. Seems Russ Feingold of Minnesota was trying to make a joke with Vikings footage. Guess what happened next:
The National Football League has thrown a yellow flag at the campaign of Sen. Russ Feingold, saying a newly released campaign ad featuring a snippet of NFL footage was not properly licensed.
Our own mini-tempest about Razorback Stadium not withstanding, I think that only reinforces the point that while Professor Sonia Kaytal's concerns about the potential infringement of political speech via ads is valid, copyright is going to trump.
I have to give props to the quote of the morning on the commercial, posted by Tom Blumer at Media Busters:
The National Football League is whistling incumbent Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold's campaign team for illegal use of film.
A very interesting discussion of a political fight that resembles some of the arguments tossed around last fall when the Southeastern Conference began to enforce new digital copyright regulations. In this case, Fox News has gone to court to recover damages because a political campaign used footage from a show without compensation or permission. On the Media brings the details of the story, and I'd recommend listening to the piece at the embed above. Stay with it to the very end, and you'll hear Sonia Katyal make this point:
(i)f a court decided to rule in favor of FOX would be that suddenly individuals who are making campaign commercials would have to consider licensing all news clips that they relied on, potentially all headlines, potentially all content that drew on news organizations. And the consequences of that would be staggering.
Really, Sonia. Welcome to the world of sports and entertainment.
There are some good arguments regarding how political speech is different, but Katayl admits that musicians often exert their copyright privileges when they are not pleased with a particular candidate using a song without permission.
Hmmm. Sort of like what would happen to anyone else who used digital content without permission.
I fully understand the political angles being worked here. But we're talking law now, and whether you like Fox or not, there is real cost involved in making footage, and lifting it without compensation for a political ad is no different than if a television station decided to re-air highlights in the sports broadcast from another outlet without attribution. Or these days, violated any of the pro sports limits on video. Or, closer to home, the SEC content rules.
Bono can own the copyright to his performance. The SEC certainly has exerted it's position regarding athletic events. Why not a cable news network?
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
OK, so you have your iSpace app. Now what? Assuming you already have a WAP in place, is the next system Android or Blackberry for that costly application development?
Nielsen Wire has some interesting, and conflicting, advice. In the last six months, Android devices have taken the lead. Over time, the installed base of users is still Blackberry.
With Blackberry's renewed enthusiasm for smart-phone market share, the bet may be to go with the tried and true. The RIM market is business types and high-dollar users.
Android (and more important, the Google mothership behind it) may be the future. The easy answer is: Yes, as in, develop all three applications. That might not be an option for cash-strapped budgets or budget-minded rights holders.
Forcing a call from me? I'd hold for three months until we see Q3 numbers and some key announcements from both cell phone makers and telcos. The Nielsen story only reinforces that we are at a tipping point, and it is a coin-flip choice until the trends reveal more.
The only sure thing here -- as WIRED declared last month -- the future is more app, less HTML. Don't get caught up in the hype line of "the web is dead" and think that's a Luddite position that means you really can pack up this social network silliness and go back to serious things.
If Chris Anderson is right -- and hmm, can anyone remember his last supposedly crazy position: The Long Tail -- this reinforces the need to understand: the future is closed (which could tilt Blackberry along side Apple).
Monday, October 04, 2010
OK, way off topic, but this Is the time of year when I'm getting these cracked fingertips - somewhat dry skin, maybe, but partially from keyboard pounding. What was the song - I've got blisters on my fingers.
Any ideas to help? It really hurts and makes the speed typing for blogging tough.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Tying together a series of tweets from Friday, Gallup finds distrust in the traditional or "mainstream" media at an all-time low. Only 43% according to the polling believe the media "report the news fully, accurately, and fairly."
At the same time, Pew informs us of record growth in demographics that many believe had no interest in social media. Nearly half of the 50-64 demo (47%) now frequent social media, and a quarter of the oldest (65+) are on-line. Pew is quick to point out that still pales to the younger cohorts, but considering the 50-64 group represents that younger half of the aging Boomer generation, those are numbers to be ignored at marketer and media peril.
What does it mean? Sea change.
The unasked question for Gallup that Pew infers is this: do you believe social media instead?
How do I make that leap? Based on my own views into the dynamic between the legacy and social media and other surveys that have shown higher percentages for veracity for social graph-based information.
Increasingly, the legacy media is seen as outsider or worse, co-opted insiders. Here's how I explain the Gallup numbers. Tracking backwards, Gallup did not ask the same question regularly over the past decades, but in 1976, faith in the media was at an all-time high of 72%. The next polling was 1997, and the number was down to 53%.
In the 13 years since, that belief figure drops another 10%. Gallup points out in its 2010 survey that believe in all institutions is heading down, so a certain amount of "disenchantment creep" can be in the numbers.
Think for yourself about the last time you were involved in a story that was written or covered by the traditional media. The brick-and-mortar media in particular, who have hard assets at risk and reputations to maintain from the pre-networked era. Was the "whole" story in that account? Were there inaccuracies? Think now about a distant situation, one at which you may know a colleague. Did all the news get into the story? Were key details left out or overlooked? Were certain stories going unreported?
And did you share that lack of veracity with your friends, neighbors or family?
Look, it is hard to separate your personal knowledge of an event -- and its coverage -- from news you read and think, well, what are they not telling me?
Now, what does that have to do with the other two tweets?
For all the faith one might want to invest in the people and their ability to report situations, these other two hoaxes reveal the very real need for that professional filter to remain in place. In the space of a week, social media -- Facebook or Twitter -- led to a series of potentially hurtful stories.
Brooklyn had its first big severe thunderstorm in some time, and an unknown person grabbed a decades-old image of a funnel cloud near the Statue of Liberty and posted it as evidence that the straight-line winds that tore through parts of the city was really a tornado. Media bit, social media bit hard, and a legend was born. Should remind followers here of the Bella Vista tornado hoax.
Soon after, a hoax story spun up that a major earthquake was being predicted on Twitter for California.
So much for unshaking faith in the social side of things, too.
What it means for those of us in a branded media situation -- those that represent institutions and in turn become both media and source -- is that there is the potential for an awesome power. Your social graph wants to believe you, not necessarily the media. At the same time, if you are not learning from the legacy media -- an extreme amount of transparency may be necessary -- you'll find yourself right there on the truthy-ness scale.
As Gallup points out, at least the media is doing better than record low 36% for Congress.
Saturday, October 02, 2010
I applaud their gesture of the moment of silence today for Tyler Clementi.
Interesting the reactions that have come out of the participatory media at Rutgers, and the outpouring of general news coverage. Google can map that for you with trending topics and key facts. I don't have to look for the Wikipedia entries; I have total faith they are already there.
At the center of it, is a family that is now destroyed by the networked media. The Borg that is our information nexus has consumed first their precious talented boy, and now threatens to do the same with his family.
We won't mean to destroy them. We'll say the investigations into how it happened are necessary, will honor his memory, will make his death have meaning, will bring justice to those who did the deed.
It's all crap. Even sitting here attempting to bring some sense into the broader impact, I feel at best voyeuristic and in my heart, an opportunist using the Clementi's tragedy as an intellectual fulcrum.
Perhaps the silence we need isn't a moment. As Luddite as it sounds, tolerance for sexual preference shouldn't be what we are mourning or considering -- acceptance of the small slivers of privacy left to us by an increasingly limitless world.
I hazard to guess that 20 years ago, Tyler would not be dead. He would be terribly wounded by the actions of his dorm mates -- if they had managed to make a film or video tape of him. But the chances of that happening would be reduced by the lack of stealth of late 80s, early 90s equipment.
His reaction could have been the same to this brutal outing, but the likelihood that anyone beyond the immediate dorm or Rutgers community would have known about it in that pre-network time would be nil. Today, it approaches a virtual infinity.
We have done it to ourselves. Many volunteer for the kind of invasive public life through Facebook, by Tweeting out thoughts, by dropping Four-Square location details. We overshare our Flickr and YouTube private moments, and join with digital companions scattered across the country in on-line games.
In a mad, head-long pursuit of community and belonging, we overlook the way that our new "social-ism" has this dark side. What a rush we get from our networked world, where we can say things, and do things, and be people we aren't behind screen names and avatars. No wonder the comedy cliche rings true -- there are only two business that call their customers "users": drug dealers and computer manufacturers.
Oh we celebrate The Social Network movie coming out this weekend. The sickening irony of that -- Tyler's last words posted on Mark Zuckerberg's great invention. A movie that is fiction, but we will believe it to be true; like so many convinced that Oliver Stone's JFK is gospel. Tyler's feelings weren't virtual; he was face-to-face with embarrassment in the real world.
At the end of the day, the difference between these two talented young men? Mark's still with his pre-college girlfriend, not the high-life Playmates of the movie. He also has about a $1 billion reasons to compensate for the loss of his privacy and the distortions of his real life.
Tyler has a moment of silence. An empty orchestra chair. A grieving family.
Mark -- and all of us digiratti -- get one more thing.
Tyler's blood on our hands.
Friday, October 01, 2010
By now, you've probably heard the story of Tyler Clementi's suicide at Rutgers. How some fellow students web-streamed him in his dorm room. How they've been charged with invasion of privacy. How he jumped from the George Washington Bridge.
Now Tyler's life and circle of acquaintances have become part of the world wide web -- media, bloggers, interested persons -- all battling for scraps of the story.
These cases are hard, like the mom who cyber-bullied a rival of her child until she killed herself. Or the home invasion with cameras by a voyeuristic neighbor in Louisiana.
By law, none of these persons actions can be directly linked to the horrible results -- mostly because the law is dreadfully behind.
The raging battle between the president of the Michigan ASG and an assistant attorney general gives similar pause. Read that one all the way through the three "more story" jumps -- where does political free speech end and personal cyber-bashing begin?
It's a digital world out there kids. Be careful.
Has anyone else seen this problem? User account shows only one tweet on-line, and the user thinks he has sent the tweet only one time. However, I'm receiving double, triple, one time quad, text messages out of Twitter to my mobile. No rhyme or reason -- not on RT, not on original, not always 2x or 3x. Some of the tweets in the stream of consciousness being put out only happened one time. Could it be a setting issue? This one account is the only one that is doing this in the last 24 hours.