Tuesday, December 31, 2013

100% Reason to Remember the Name

While Louisiana legend ascribes colorful former LSU head coach Dale Brown with a version of it, P.T. Barnum is often credited with the famous line: "I don’t care what you say about me, just spell my name right."

On New Year's Eve Eve, the circus came calling in Brown's old home town of Baton Rouge, albeit on the northside at Southern University.  The Jaguars broke the NCAA record for best start in a Division I basketball game by holding hapless Champion Baptist College scoreless while racking up 44 unanswered.  It led to a 116-12 final score.

Last night, Southern and Champion made the ESPN ticker during bowl games.  Dominated a light evening of college basketball with the hysterical, er, historical note.

Oh the humanity.

At what price fame?  Fox Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, et al, had their fun with this.  Southern got some better local pub -- considering a Google for the university also brings up some investigations into the law school today.  While many are making fun of Champion (lots of how can you be a Champion . . .) there is growing complaint about Southern, notably that they should not have taken advantage of a non-NCAA team or that the game and record are not legitimate.

No one starts out to have this result, but let's be honest -- everyone knows what is going on.  Southern played teams who wanted them for practice; why do we fault the Jags for same.  Let's not act like this is a product of the 21st century money-driven horror show of college sports.  This was going on with regularity in the 19th century.  Colleges played all-star teams, local high schools, business colleges, schools for the deaf, military bases, their own alumni.

Champion Baptist gets 7,000-plus notes in Google's news today, and they trended hard on Twitter last night.  SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness had a little perspective on both sides.  The Topsy score was 56, so to the plus side of sentiment.  Tweet of the day goes to Gary Parrish at CBS:  "You know what’s coming next season, right? Champion Baptist at Grinnell College. Book it."  Lost in the mix is at their own level, CBC was a national champion among other Christian private schools.

At the end of the day, this is takeaway.  USA TODAY sports writer Dan Wolkin who grew up in Hot Springs admitted he had never heard of Champion.

Now he has.

Off-Topic Post Script: Take a moment and read through Micheal Turney's excellent tracing of the origins of the P.T. Barnum quote from the first link above.  A good read that once again proves my Harry Truman approach to America: The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know. As a Post-Post Script: Enjoy #5 on this link to Truman's value of history.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

MF's Tweeting Yourself to Unemployment

On this day of the latest version, I can't beat what Mental Floss did today.  Enjoy their recap and share with your friends, staff and students.

Now within that, on #6 and #12, I recall also the infamous Red Cross drunk tweet. Or frankly, @ArkRazorbacks' FU on a stolen phone. Bad tweet doesn't always lead to dismissal if handled well.

Then again, on the other 14 - and today's edition from South Africa and yesterday's rehash of the KU professor - sometimes you can't.  And they can cause you legal trouble both before - the Astoria, Ore., teen's hit and run - and after - a California young man seeing his charges upgraded.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Kansas Raises the Bar on Social Liability

An update on earlier notation that David Guth would become the next battleground for academic freedom and social media regulation.  The Kansas Board of Regents voted unanimously to give its campus leaders, quoting from The Chronicle, the ability“to suspend, dismiss, or terminate from employment any faculty or staff member who makes improper use of social media.”

Remember that Guth was suspended for his comments about NRA members after the Navy Yard shooting.

Let's remember, Kansas already had a very broad hate speech policy and that it had on the books the statement that social media was covered under that guideline.

This makes it crystal clear.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Facebook's Sports Play

For a long time, college athletic programs put their majority focus into Twitter.  As a 2004 adopter, myself among them.  Over time and new responsibilities, I've gotten a stronger sense of the need to be in both spaces -- Facebook and Twitter -- but with the right content and the right timing (in other words, yet another time to say delink your damn accounts).

Facebook's aging demo plays well toward alumni, parents and influencers -- especially outside the urban markets -- but it has not been a big factor in sports.

Until this week.  Yes, Facebook lost out on SnapChat in a bid to get younger, but it just vacuumed up SportsStream.

The product creates a second screen using the streams from Twitter, official team data (live stats) and visuals from InstaGram and others.  Sort of automating the kind of live blogging many do with tools like CoverItLive.

Paul Allen believed in the concept, and now the Zuck is on board.

Monday, December 09, 2013

End of the Internet, or Anonymous Posting?

When the big guns come out, must be something to it. The DMCA's "safe harbor" on copyright was the last time Google, et al, united.

Now they come to the rescue of TheDirty versus "that cheerleader".

Sarah Jones became the subject of postings that she claims were false, and she has sued.

The People vs Larry Flynt? Maybe. But the fear that a loss for TheDirty (home of Anthony Weiner, well, you know) could put liability on all online "news" groups.

How about that? Some old fashioned got to have a name and an address, maybe even a call back number, to put your letter to the editor out there.

Right after the Ed O'Bannon suit, this could be the most important legislation impacting college sports.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Kodak Moments for the 21st Century

No surprise to the regulars of the blog, I'm a huge fan of the GoPro.  A first-gen owner, I've used them for years.

60 Minutes featured the founder of GoPro Nick Woodman.  If you don't get what GoPro is about, and how you MUST use them, watch the story.  Aside from a traditional American success story, it's a visual presentation of all the memes associated with GoPro.

At the close of the piece, Woodman says something profound regarding both the camera and the way people relate to it.

"It's a marketer's dream.  It's all based off authenticity. Our customers doing interesting things around the world and they're so stoked . . . . that when they share the video, they often give us credit.  My GoPro ski trip.  My GoPro day at the park with my kids . . ."

That's when it hits me.  When George Eastman changed the way we captured the world in still photographs, the late 19th and entire 20th century were dominated by the Kodak moment.  That became synonymous with a heartwarming event, saved forever in celluloid.

The 21st century equivalent? When I GoPro my fill-in-the-blank.  And thanks to the technology I can both be in the moment and preserve it in motion.

Why all that?

To say this: replace GoPro with your university name from Woodman's quote.  Is that how graduates view their experience, their learning, their transformation while at your university?  Do they send you photos and emails from their lives around the world?  Staying connected to where they learned their skills, or built their social networks?

If they do, your "brand" shall increase.  If they don't, you're just issuing credentials and certificates.

Find a way to engage through the authenticity of your unique experience.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tarkin Doctrine Finally Fails Olympics

Or maybe I should make another SciFi reference by saying the International Olympic Committee has decided to stop Fighting the Future.  New guidelines that recognize both the nature of (and the benefits accrued from) social media.  At Sochi, social is in.

A good read from USA TODAY about the shift that allows those who are accredited media to use their information and stills to report and promote.  It is another step forward after London where the Five Rings recognized that those who "would not profit" could do the same.  Video is still off limits, but in a rights-holder world, most can accept that.

We have come a long way from Beijing.

The opposite from Oklahoma State earlier this month as a clash between the media relations office and student media becomes nasty he tweets, they tweet battle over who "broke" the news of what would happen at an athletic department event.

Reminds me a bit of institutions that still won't credential born digital or participatory media.

Oh, and if you don't get the Star Wars reference in the headline . . .

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bad Behavior Equal Time

Much space devoted to athletes and others doing stupid things on social, sometimes with career changing consequences.  Today, let me share a little equal time for the fans.  Courtesy of Matt Ferguson of the Arkansas State Scout site, enjoy some slices of Bad Tweets Theatre.

It's not quite when the father threaten the family with gun violence over the outcome of a game a couple of years ago, but the rants over the Missou kicker's miss are getting there.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Un-Anonymous

Perhaps like zombies, the undead, we should consider those who put WAY too much faith in analog concepts of secrecy in these digital days as the unanonymous.

Latest cases in point:  From On the Media's new side feed, the story of a former NSA staffer (no, not Snowden) getting live-tweeted as he was on the phone riding the train.  Turns into a double bust.  Please click link to read -- don't want to give away the surprises, but promise you won't be disappointed.

The other is the unsavory tale of former high school coach and athletic director Barry Gebhart.  He was arrested by Rogers police in a digital honey pot -- officer posing as the 14-year-old girl that Gebhart thought he was safe swapping photos and lewd suggestions with.

(A moment of disclosure: I do have a child still at FHS)

Among the details: Gebhart was using Whispers to cover his tracks and his personal smartphone to stay off the public school network and computers.  Oops -- GPS in the phone helped link the texting and emails to his office at Fayetteville High and his home address.

The arrest record and details -- Gebhart admitted to the events and has resigned -- are across Arkansas media, but we'll give the link to our friends at Fayetteville Flyer.

Which part of the mantra didn't you pick up: No more secrets.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Anonymous? I Think Not @NatSecWonk

Let us begin with another chapter in the saga of social costing people jobs.  Jofi Joseph is gone from a federal post in the White House when revealed as the person behind the snarky @NatSecWonk Twitter feed.  Jump over to MSN News for the whole story, but let's just Cliffs Note it:

Joseph saw things.  He gave his unabashed opinion about them.  You can't do that in politics unless, to paraphrase in the Billy Joel, you spend a lotta money.

Come on, Jofi.  You work inside the U.S. govt.  Do the letters "N", "S" and "A" ring a bell, NatSecWonk?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tea Party Tigers?

I caution all sides to take care with their rhetoric over the Grambling football team - and let me take some runs to conclusion of the varied sides of these events.

At the start of collegiate athletics, it truly was a volunteer, student oriented sport in which teams opted in and out of seasons. The was no guarantee that teams would show for contests.

Of course, the modern era carries with it certain obligations. This is what the administrators of universities and conferences will imply.  The national media will split between student rights and what is right for the school.

And there is the rub.

Eddie Robinson is likely spinning in his grave . . . furious at both sides of this equation. Coach Rob would not have tolerated the level of insubordination from his team. Discipline was a hallmark of a Grambling man.  For that matter, neither would have the Tigers legendary basketball coaches.

But before invoking the soul of one of America's coaching legends, he would have never let his players endure some of the treatment they have received. Grambling without the era of Robinson has fallen into disrepair. If the photos and health reports are to be believed, this is a rough situation.

Standing up for principle - I'm sure that is how the football team sees it.  Even if it cost Jackson State a homecoming.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.  Even if it threatens a bedrock institution of the SWAC, of HBCUs - the Bayou Classic.  That annual game at the Superdome with a national NBC broadcast audience is millions on the line.

See where this is headed?

The Republicans "shut down" the government - mainly caused great inconveniences - because the Democrats and the President wouldn't negotiate.

So the players have shut down the Tiger football program - because the administration won't meet their demands. Clean uniforms, modern accommodations.

Which moral side can you take based on your feeling about the last month of politics? Does that make them the Tea Party Tigers? Or the John Carlos and Tommy Smith of their generation?

Ah, what of those lofty goals of amateurism.

Don't go there too fast. Because these young men signed scholarships to perform as college football players in return for education.

So they are obligated to play.  To represent Grambling.


Because the are schedules. And contracts. And television. And revenue generation on the line.  Without the financial engine of football, there is very little else in college sport portfolios that can finance the other teams.

Well now, somewhere in California, Ed O'Bannon is smiling. In the Midwest, the Drake Commission is grinning ear to ear.

You say those boys HAVE to get on the bus? HAVE to play the game? Because of their obligation?

Sounds like one legal brief away from uncompensated employment. Perhaps a labor dispute over working conditions.

Every case is unique, but let's suppose that Grambling disciplines the players in some way. Will that squelch the movement? If they don't, what happens with the next Rutgers basketball team situation?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Are You A Brand of One?

The start of October has been filled with frustration for many.  For some, it is difficulty with financial aid systems at one university.  For another, it's a horrid start to a football season.  For way to many, it is the blind actions of politics - from the Second World War memorial in DC to furloughs on a campus near you.  For me, an incredibly frustrating encounter with the U.S. Army and our ROTC.

So all that to say this (thinking of the Army):  Are you a brand of one?

Scott Stratten is a refreshing "unmarketer" and his message is simple.  There is no such thing as branding.  Your customer determines what they think of you, and one interaction at a time that reputation either goes up or down.

Take an hour.  Watch (or listen) to this all the way through.  When it is over, ask yourself:

Do you students get attention they deserve from service areas?

Do you make your media jump through hoops regularly?

On your interactions with the public, are you moving the brand up or down one person at a time?

From time at Northwestern State, I can testify to what this means.  Students who complained about troubles with the student record system and refunds that we interacted with -- and publicly --  on the official Facebook page were more informed, less likely to continue to rail (once we explained) and some became our advocates (stepping in to threads to say . . . did you contact the Facebook page for help?).  It didn't solve the problems, but it did take some of the sting out.

Friday, October 11, 2013

You All Thought I Was Crazy

Since 2010, I've said in presentations, in meetings and among staff, the goal of big data and mobile is to get to customized experience.  My example of this in digital signage always was -- if I walk by a sign in a mall, based on my Facebook and other profiles plus my phone giving away that it's me, I'll get an ad for someplace in the mall they think I'm interested in.  If it's a young female, she gets Victorias.  I don't know, I get Barnes and Noble (best case; more likely some other "old person" option).

Well today: This note about a start-up in Little Rock.  They are doing high end computer based marketing.  Like . . .

UPDATE: I talked briefly with Rod Ford, the CEO, who explained how the company was built on software developed in an earlier failed tech startup and is to be expanded to enhance marketing. It's already in use on 12 college campuses, where large TV screens can recognize if, say, the person walking buy is a young male and instantly throw up a pizza special or a new pair of Nikes that would attract the potential customer.

Tip of the hat to Arkansas Times' blog for that.  My bold and underline for emphasis.

What I didn't need AT to tell me . . . why Little Rock?  Hello.  Acxiom?

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Brand Thought for the Day

Courtesy of Bloomberg News, a story about the new "most valuable" brand: Apple.

Mark Gimein makes a profound and heretical statement about what makes Apple so valuable as a "brand":

Our products have everything you need straight out of the box. They’re easy to use. They don’t crash. In other words, Apple sells the brand by selling the product. 

Gimein and I concur -- shocking idea.  Do something right.  People will remember it.  And today more than ever before, they tell their friends.

Gimein reminds us in the piece that no matter how platinum the aviation brand of Pan Am was in the 20th century, they are nothing without an airline today.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

There are Homers Everywhere

The story about a Montana football player appearing before the judge on minor charges of destroying a sign carried an interesting subtext.

Always good to see the judge presiding in his team colors logo chair.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Hipsters Begin to Age

It comes for all of us.  Who would have prepared us for these two stories:

The History of the iPhone

Google at 15

Any day now, don't you kids remember when we had to use our finger prints to use our phone . . .

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What's Good for the Fortson is Good for the Guth

The debate over David Guth's tweet and Kansas' reaction swings quickly to the First Amendment.  A passionate defense of Guth's right in today's Chroncle.

I wonder if we see a growing trend of acceptance of/tolerance for bad behavior in the social world.

Take Courtney Fortson's case.  The former Razorback point guard made the following tweet:

He was punished for violating team rules (perhaps other issues weighed in beyond the tweet) and missed a large number of games -- publicly for his bad tweet.  For those unfamiliar, some of Fortson's teammates were accused of a sexual assault, thus the significance of the "drunk girl" reference.

This was 2009.  And he still makes SI's top 20 and another digital publication's top 15 for worst all-time athlete tweets.

Here in 2013, Guth made this tweet:

If we believe that Fortson -- as a university representative -- is held to a higher standard, does Guth not have the same responsibility?  Or have both men been cruelly wronged?

I believe this to be a First Amendment issue.

As in, rights of association, the extension the courts have made of the right of assembly.  A group can choose who it will or will not associate with.  Does Guth or Fortson's individual ability to say whatever they want in whatever format they choose trump the right of the assembly to remove them from the group for their speech they find offensive?


Friday, September 20, 2013

J-School Prof Disciplined for Tweet

Remember the name David Guth -- even money says he's the next battleground for First Amendment.

Guth stirred the ire of the NRA with a tweet after the Washington Naval Yard shootings, and in turn, University of Kansas has put Guth on administrative leave.

This post is not to take a side on the tweet.  It's to ponder the point: can you discipline an associate professor for their point of view.

The Chronicle gave the first note, and here's the link to the Kansas City Star story referenced.

And, for the curious, here's the link to KU's social media policy.  Clearly, KU is taking the path I've advocated for many an athletic department.  To quote from the KU PDF:

Social media is included in speech, so the same rules apply regarding hate speech
and other similar issue

Guth didn't violate a social media policy as much as he violated existing speech guidelines (or, to use my athletic analogy, "team rules" which cover general conduct regardless to whether it was online or in person).

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pixar's 22 Rules

The best "here click on this web link" advice I've received in months.

Especially #2 and #22.

Seriously, no explanation needed -- trust me this is not a waste of your time.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To Each Platform According to its Needs

Perhaps a little Marx to start the day, but while reading over some recent Facebook versus Twitter comparisons the basic concept of creating the right message on the right platform remains true.

Hashtags, in particular.

That's a genuinely Twitter function.  When Facebook emulated, many wondered what the impact would be.  At least one report out now says, it's a "zero" impact.

Digging into the numbers, I'm more struck by the small base numbers.  Sure, that's some dramatic differences -- 1.3 to 0.8 against on Facebook and .0069 to .004 for on Twitter.

Personally, Facebook is a prose composition.  Twitter is a hip text world.  I've been concerned that bringing the hashtag into FB looks a little "desperate" to be cool.  Sort of like more than two hashtags gets annoying on Twitter or multiple exclamations on FB.

Look at the numbers again.  The Facebook forwarding is next to the decimal point.  Twitter?  Not so much.

Reminds me of a similar look by Facebook claiming how they had as much, if not more, raw traffic related to second/third screen interaction with television shows.

Well sure.  There are simply more people on Facebook.  We see that here at Arkansas State (15K-plus on FB to 9.5K on Twitter), but they are different audiences.  Same was true when I left Northwestern State (12K to 1.5K).  Only place we saw opposite was the early years running UA athletics where Twitter dominated . . . but only until we got serious and launched Facebook.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Facebook Important in Crisis

No surprise to this space what being on top of social commentary means in "crisis" modes -- either real or perceived.  Nice to have to research now to back it up.  Missouri School of Journalism weighs in with a new study.

Tip of the hat to the Bulldog Reporter email feed for the story.

The two researchers pulled out one interesting fact in the BR story:

Hong also found that Facebook posts written in a narrative style were more effective than posts written in a non-narrative format. Narrative style is chronological and focuses more on story-telling rather than fact listing.

 I find this another reinforcing fact that you need to create content and write for the platform, not in a single "dashboard" and send to all at once.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Your Other Data

One of my favorite presentation lines is to remind people the real reason for Facebook is it is the world's largest data mining and marketing operation.  And you volunteered for it.

Now, one of the world's largest data companies you DIDN'T opt into is opening up its data to show you what it knows about you.  Little Rock based Acxiom launched its aboutthedata.com website today.

Log on and see if they have you profiled.  The paranoid among us will say that just verified your personal data.

Acxiom's info comes from years and years of mundane data -- your voting records, your public records (driving, taxes, etc), your credit records, your bread crumbs left will purchasing on line.

Big Data crunches all that and tells marketing (or others) exactly what you've done and a reasonable prediction of what you'll do next.

Now, if I could just see the files from NSA on my phone calls also . . .

(FYI - when I tried it, it returned an error.  Some in the media are saying the data base is having troubles, and Acxiom is listing this as a "beta" on the webpages).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Once Posted, Always Available

The case of Cody Hill caught my eye today in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The 18-year-old Californian is facing murder charges after hitting a pair of cyclists, killing one. Obviously, my keen interest in riding is at cross roads with freedom of speech. Was I happy that yet another scofflaw driver who maimed (this time killed) a rider was facing ultimate justice? Was it fair to have a Twitter record used to upgrade charges?

On the same day, there is a lengthy feature that highlights the particularly twisted and sick practice of LOL RIP trolls.

I find myself upon the verge of a kids-these-days-get-off-my-lawn-pull-up-your-pants rant.

Deep cleansing breath. After all, it is Sunday.

This boils down less to a change in the coarseness of society or a lack of respect for life among youth into a really serious lesson in digital accountability.  My old "once posted, always available."

Cody joins Jacob Rees of Oregon, caught for his drunk driving hit and run by his own tweets. While Cody has the right to be young and stupid about his life, what he overlooks is that by leaving behind a trail of digital crumbs, he cast his own fate. He made his own reputation as a reckless youth permanent.

The details of the case are particularly gruesome on their own. A 57-year-old couple, riding in a bike lane, get plowed into by Cody doing 83 in a 40 zone.  The wife is dead; the husband's leg broken.  From the start, his braggadocio tweets about driving fast were noted by locals.

The police (not unlike Astoria, Ore.) used the digital record and his driving offenses to plead for an escalation of charges.

I can't quite decide if my pound of flesh for the injured and dead riders is what makes me feel this was necessary to show others that you really can't just do whatever they hell you want - both online and on the road.

Which leads to the other story.  Matthew Kocher's parents became the surf-by victims of trolls who think it is either funny or part of their mission to hijack Facebook and other memorial social pages. I do have some significant trouble thinking about people - likely not only kids - who get perverse pleasure in trolling around memorial websites.  It seems like Westboro Baptist for the online world.

One can only hope that eventually digital responsibility catches up with them.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Politics of Friending

After spending Monday discussing the power relationship dynamic of faculty and students when it comes to social media, this note arrives in the email courtesy of Bulldog Reporter.  In the marketplace, the feeling is mutual, rather than directional.

While the focus with faculty is to make sure they understand the unintended power consequence of asking to or allowing selective friending, in the workplace, bosses aren't comfy being followed by reports and vice versa.  These numbers are rising from a similar poll five years ago, perhaps a reflection of a growing understanding of the impact of being social.

An interesting side item:  if managers aren't real keen mixing business with social inside the office, they are really not OK with clients or vendors "just trying to get to know you."  Check out the chart in the story on the response groups, and five good suggestions on office Facebook etiquette.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fun with FOIA -- Northern Style

A tip of the hat to the D1 Ticker for this note on how bloggers and participatory media (read: message boards) used open records laws to discover potential blackball moves against Stony Brook by Hofstra.

Quaint echos of almost a decade ago in Arkansas . . .

Monday, August 12, 2013

Recruiting's Productivity Tool?

Great note coming through The Chronicle regarding a Texas A&M study on "tech savvy" for student affairs -- actually more social savvy.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Inside the 49ers Studio

A great short read from the new executive producer for the San Francisco 49ers on his philosophy (shocking - influenced by NFL Films) toward video for the team.  All poking fun aside, the Steve Sabol quote is one that should be pinned up on every branded media internal video operation's wall:

“Tell me a fact and I will learn. Tell me a truth and I will believe, but tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

It's refreshing to know the 49ers top press conference problem -- hey, we can't hear the questions at press conferences -- brings a universality to that age old problem.  (Look in the first comment under the story for this).

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Make All the Facebook Laws You Want

I remain amused at the interest of state governments to institute limits on the ability of higher ed (or K-12 for that matter) to "police" social media as a violation of the First Amendment.  Aside from the obvious -- you violate terms of service when you ask to get passwords/logins, etc -- these items are not about embarrassing the institution as much as self-inflicted wounds upon the individuals.

Our most recent case in point -- a fraternity in the Pacific Northwest that lost its on-campus house and the ability to recruit thanks to its Facebook page.

In the brief from The Chronicle, note they were disciplined for violating the student conduct code of the university, not for breaking a social media policy.

Reminds me of another Oregon event where the perp of a hit and run DUI event busted himself by posting it online.  Or any number of other times where bad social led to loss of jobs.

Our jobs in higher ed include . . . educating young people (and the young at heart coming back to college) about the perils of over-sharing.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Weiner and Sharing

I am reminded of the Disney classic . . . "a tale as old as time."  Digital never dies.  Once again, Anthony Weiner proves this, and this screen capture from HuffPo today is not as much about the lesson of not putting your privates online, but about how we share that.

My attention is on the nice five-spot share bar on HuffPo -- a snapshot if you will of how the readers of this article interacted with the news and video.  The proportions are not terribly surprising, leaning heavy toward Facebook as a platform and almost zero for Google+.  What I did find interesting is the desire to comment directly in the space, perhaps a higher number than I would have anticipated, and how dominant at this moment (captured at 6:30 pm CT) Facebook was over Twitter.

We don't know without tracing through the comments generated on Facebook pages or Twitter feeds to know if there was an equal -- probably larger -- amount of commentary scattered across those platforms.

UPDATE:  So a little more scanning around, here's another version of same from Mashable.  Regrets for Google+ (and any other platform beside the big two), but interesting how this piece of sports news (who has the largest total fan bases as measured from adding social and attendance) gets a near 50-50 split in the Facebook/Twitter sharing.

I also have a moment of Edward Tufte sparkline graphics with the "index" of how hot the story is.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I Always Feel Like, Somebody's Watching Me

Yesterday, I posted a photo of the local Kroger store with a big Red Wolf window painting.  I did not use the word "Kroger" in the post.  No one in the comments said the word.  As a new resident to Jonesboro, I did get a Kroger "points" card, but I have not filled it out to turn it back in.

Today, my top sponsored ad on the right side of my Facebook page is for Kroger.

In Natchitoches, we had Brookshires -- no Kroger literally within 150 miles.

So why did I get that ad?  The Kroger sign logo was big in the photo -- did they read it off the image?

Social media peeps -- could that be true?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Athletic Future is Now

Today Wisconsin rolled out their new look to their athletic website.  I freely admit to not having spent a lot of time with it, but it reminds me in some broad stroke concepts to what another W launched -- Washington State.

No IAB ads at the top.

No over the top promotional splashes.

Content. Lots and lots of visual content.  Wisconsin also brings a ton to tight social integration.  WSU still has some old school ad placements, but they are less jarring.

This is what fan bases want.  It serves the needs of the brand better than something that has the look of -- as one social media wag once said -- "the Vegas strip with all those buttons and ads."

Kudos to UW and WSU.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Facebook Art Faux Pas

Facebook evolves, and with the latest versions of mobile the idea of swapping cover art based on "advertising" or themes gets dicey.  Sure, you have a nice wide canvas on the desktop.  The new layout destroys that and puts the emphasis back on having a high quality profile picture.

Facebook long had rules on the amount of text content, but the new layout is more draconian than any suggestion to have "less than 50% text" in your artwork.

To that end, I've included an attempt to add some inspirational messaging to a cover art.  (No, not mine.  Advised the admin involved to not do this.)

While the key information (the word being defined, along with other chunks of data) is covered by the profile online, it disappears completely in mobile.  Actually, the artwork begins to work somewhat in mobile because almost all the text is chopped off leaving just the eyes.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Internal Content Machines Continue

As Big 10 schools add "assistant/associate athletic directors for external engagement" focused on fan experience and social interaction, add Oklahoma State to the in-house production unit bandwagon.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Wandering Mind

Interesting, and completely unrelated items seen today.

A column about the value of order AND serendipity in academic research.  The author talks about a strategy of wandering the stacks for data.  Can't say that wasn't a small part of my past -- any road game to a university with a large research library or collection that might relate to my dissertation was a must visit.  That yielded only a handful of anecdotes, but in my travels, that is exactly how I have discovered some of the best books I've read.  (Here's an old post to some of those classic independent book stores.)

Reminds me of some knowledge I'd lay on staff in the past -- scan the magazine rack if you want to know where the next layout trend for college athletics publications is coming from (thus "borrow" not from your colleagues and look like a copy-cat, but innovate by bringing something outside the field into it).  Meld it with today's maxim that you have to live socially to succeed in messaging to a networked world.

The other is one-off advice for the mal-Tweeter.  Claim you were doing academic research.  Make sure you back it up with jargon -- "well, after researching the federal guidelines I was confident this method did not require IRB approval . . . ."

Tip of the digital hat to The Chronicle for both notes in my inbox.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Once Again, Content and Voice Win

The separator between pedestrian and engaging social media -- the content.

Add in a distinct point of view -- or in the case of the Los Angeles Dodgers and legendary play-by-play man Vin Scully, a voice -- you have magic.

As in repeated and praised magic.  Earned media that can trump any other placements.  PaidContent.org shows a perfect example of the semi-traditional earned media, a story that covered what happened, but don't overlook the social earned media of retweets and comments.

When people asked me what an interactive blog was all about at sports events, I said it was like calling the game for radio with a keyboard combined with sitting in the middle of a virtual section of the stadium.

Scully is a natural -- both in voice and in text.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Are Page Views Dead?

Digiday comes down squarely on the side that this metric is done.  As a marketer, I hear the siren's song of views because they are an easy -- and inflated -- number that those outside the online bubble can understand.

Sorta like Nielsen ratings.

Today, we don't put a lot of stock in those.  Why not join in with Digiday and say the same for page views?

There isn't a week that doesn't pass when I'm pitched by a media seller how many page views they can generate for me.  Swell.

What I need are individuals who will become engaged with our institution.

I'm all about views -- if they are the right sets of eyes.  Generating views for view sake (check the story within the story about doing slideshows to pump up numbers) isn't achieving my marketing goals.

Food for thought.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Is CoSIDA Listening?

For the first time since 1989, I'm not at convention.  But that doesn't mean I don't have a message about the future.

Here it is:  Mercer's Director of Athletic New Media Relations position.

So what, grumbles the old guard.

Run the numbers, people.  Mercer is not exactly the University of Arkansas in staff size or budget.  For all those who like to kvetch over "ooh, you've got such a big staff" when I would preach the need to become more integrated into both the marketing message flow and the social media/content generation . . .

That's small budget, private school (thus all moneys generated internally) Mercer choosing to create a full-time position to do nothing but content generation.  And on the side, two sports.  Did you catch the reporting line?  Go back and re-read.

That's not a new assistant SID in the traditional sense.  That's not another director of football communications.

That, ladies and gentleman of CoSIDA, is the future calling.

AP Updates Social Media Policy

In the evolving world of social media guidelines, Associated Press recently refreshed it's official policy for journalists that work directly for the AP.  As we all know, as the AP goes, so go many media outlet's policy.  AdWeek provides an overview here.

Among the interesting shifts are the realization -- to quote an AP staffer: "We see a tweet as publishing."

Thus a lot of focus on how the brand of AP gives credence to information.  The AdWeek story focuses on the Boston bombing and a blog post by the AP's social media editor.

Read the whole updated policy here. Another interest point -- it is growing.  Now seven pages long on the PDF, quite a change from the old days -- 2009, ah the pre-teen years -- when AP's Social Media Guidelines were a single page of Q&A.

Consider -- in four years the instant mode of networked communication grew from cutesie oddity (there is literally a reference to "geek chic" in the 2009 document) to mainstay journalist's tool.  In it, the opening paragraph said "it was OK" for AP journalists to have accounts.

Look no further than the preamble of the 2013 policy:

All AP journalists are encouraged to have accounts on social networks. They
have become an essential tool for AP reporters to gather news and share
links to our published work. We recommend having one account per network
that you use both personally and professionally.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

And Here is Your Distribution Network

It is one thing for NeuLion to propose a set-top box that will take the athletic department's "channel" and make it simple for end users (read: boosters who aren't tech savvy) to hook up to TVs.

Quite another for Intel to break that last barrier and push for set-top boxes to bring streaming content -- along side other cable channels -- to the public.  The New York Times gives us the blow by blow.

Much broader than the five-year ago (and spot on, I might add) NeuLion concept, this Intel box is not another Apple TV or Roku for stored content.  It is more like Aereo, the controversial cable-over-the-air system that was recently ruled legal.

Welcome the Fill-In-Your-Mascot channel to your fans.

Well, if you have any content rights left that haven't been vacuumed up by your conference.

Notre Dame may still prove the genius, and also Texas, for not allowing their ancillary "Long Tail" niche content to be aggregated into the 24/7 filler for conference networks.

Which guess where those conferences can get quick adoption?  Same said Intel box.

What stops this from happening?  Money.  Pure and simple.  Without the funding via cable systems that support the major sports networks and traditional broadcast networks rights fees, conferences can't have the payouts that help support the majority of BCS athletic programs.

I can make an argument for either side of this situation.  The real important factors to consider:

This could be the iTunes moment that breaks up the existing cable system like the 99-cent download crushed the music industry.

Freedom has a price, and that could be a drastic impact on university bottom lines.  If indeed the future is free, complex advertising arrangements to funnel viewers into these "free" broadcasts are necessary.  Just because CBS has the NCAA tournament streaming doesn't mean they aren't monetizing those streams and protecting them against "restreaming".  Right now, the resource poor universities need only cash checks.  Whole different world when you have to hustle the sponsors.

Quality content is not free, and the online world is cycling back to that understanding when it comes to journalism.

Fans who will see this as a great solution to all those expensive cable packages or pay-per-view events will see the ecosystem collapse.  In regions, you may see more alliance moves like this one between Learfield and the lead institutions of Montana.

Some will win.  Some will lose.   And the bottom line -- both in dollars and figuratively -- is change is not on the horizon any more.  It is here.

And a tip of the link hat to D1.ticker for two of today's important stories.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Golden Oldie on Bad News

Cycling through old email, I come across this even older link.  The date is 2011, but the information in it is timeless.  From PRSA's Strategist, What to do, PR director, when bad news is on the horizon?

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Fill-In-The-Mascot-Name Network

Interesting new take on the long-held position here that university athletic departments were -- whether they want to acknowledge it or not -- major content providers.  Oklahoma turns the old "SoonerVision" vehicle into the broader title and wider distributed "Sooner Sports TV".  Makes the most sense to start with the top level name -- even if that means invoking the now somewhat dreaded "Network" moniker (you'll see in the story) -- than having to recast what you do.  So much of the achievement in this space is reserved for those who envision the widest possible repurposing of what you are already doing.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Facebook Shifts Again

In the always evolving world of Facebook marketing, Ad Age brings us this detail on the dropping of sponsored stories.  Don't get excited or depressed -- it looks more like a shift in style than the idea.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Gladwell at Nielson

I find these nuggets from Malcolm Gladwell's talk to Nielson's Consumer360 revealing:

Innovators are creative, conscientious and most of all disagreeable

Smart and visionary works best when there's a sense of urgency

Most people who are in a weak position would rather do the easy thing and lose than do the hard thing and win

Thanks to the DI Ticker for that reportage.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Social Media Vs Freedom of Speech

You don't have to be a Washington, DC, leaker to have your ability to express yourself limited.  Let us consider the very different cases of Gordon Gee and Eric Reveno.

The men's hoops coach at the University of Portland and The President of The Ohio State might have more in common than you think today.  Both have said things they may soon (or currently) regret.  (LINK ADDITION:  Thanks to Patrick Netherton for the tip to the uncut Gee -- worth the read/listen)

Gee is almost old news now, but Reveno "broke" some news with his opinion of the NCAA's state of rules with the hashtag, "#stopinsanity".  We know how much the NCAA likes hashtags these days, and we have to wonder if Reveno won't be in for some extra scrutiny for calling out what he found to be a pair of very picayune violations.

His tweet says:

Just heard about two NCAA violations in WCC. 1) athlete using Univ. water to wash car, 2) coach text recruit 'who is this?

Both were self-reports by members of his conference and they were discussed at the West Coast Conference meetings.  I'm sure they were examples of how small secondaries are better to turn in than to ignore.

The paying for water is the one that gets the attention for high silly quotient, but the one that concerns me more is the second.  Prime example of not understanding technology.  Do we really believe a coach would get some kind of "recruiting advantage" for asking what phone number had just texted him?  Are we to infer it is better to be rude and ignore anyone who blind texts a coach?

The coach had to account for the number, because I'm betting the institution in question uses one of the nifty new spy programs -- um, excuse me, accountability tracking software -- to pour over coach's cell phone records.  And in explaining why he texted the number that someone else had identified as being a recruitable athlete -- bingo, violation.

Why the Gee comparison?  The President of The Ohio State is now out on his make-good tour of apologies.  Wonder if Reveno for expressing his on social media will be next.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

They are all-Americans, just ask AP

For years -- no, decades -- I've worked to great frustration to remind people that in the Associated Press Stylebook, the "All-America" entry refers ONLY to the AP All-America teams.

In doing some other searching in the digital AP Stylebook, I find the definitive answer:

In AP stories, AP limits the All-America (capitalized) designation to the Walter Camp and AP selections. Depending on the context, AP might report that an individual was all-American (first "a" lowercase) on another roster. Other news organizations are of course free to follow their own guidelines.

The bold and underline, obviously, are my emphasis.  That is a 2007 interpretation.  A more recent 2011 reinforces:

Webster's includes a hypothetical football team as one definition of all-American. Evidently it is not referring specifically to AP's All-America football and basketball selections, which cap both A's in this formal name.

While the editor is being a little cheeky (see the "evidently it is not referring specifically to AP's All-America" and thus insinuating that Webster's would OBVIOUSLY use "All-American" only if it was the AP team), it provides us another reinforcement.  When it is a trademark name, cap the A in all.  Just like CoSIDA's Academic All-America team -- because "Academic All-America" is a trademark of CoSIDA.  An interesting fact overlooked in an AP Stylebook entry that said you do cap all three "A"s.

If you want to read my lengthy treatise on why all-American is the right way to speak in the generic versus All-American, jump here.

Or, you can just take my word (and AP's) for it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Once Again, There Are No Secrets

Apologies for a busy month, but in the great battle of message discipline (or, flat out persecution of leakers) it would be of interest to many to keep in mind the scandal breaking at Harvard as much or more than any Department of Justice runs at journalists.

Face it -- none of this was pointed at journalists.

It is all designed to intimidate sources.

While those in private business endure the monitoring of central IT, at most public universities this is frowned upon as beyond the pale.  Unfortunately, it goes on under various guises and covers.

So just like you can't say certain terms that might reveal you're giving away proprietary secrets at a Fortune 500, be careful -- very careful -- what you put in emails on any non-anonymous system.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

More On NCAA #HashHaters

I have nothing but kudos for my colleagues at Louisiana Tech as I show this photo from the Monroe News-Star.  This is how brand promotion is done in the 21st century.

The NCAA knows that because they do it themselves.  Every scoreboard carried their hash tags, social groups and websites promoting March Madness in the venues.

They need to tell their rules committees -- starting with football -- to concentrate on the games, and not whether or not an institution is promoting its social media feeds.

Or who, or to what level, they choose to make themselves corporate shills through sponsorship agreements.

I'm beating this issue in the ground because the past indicator is the NCAA is about to go careening through other sports and creating new regulations to enforce.  They are self-fulfilling prophecies.  They are a solution -- NCAA enforcement -- in search of a problem.  If an institution seeks to promote through signage, what is the root problem?  This seems like #HashHate from the NCAA.

Think this through.  We want more engagement with fans and potential students.  We need to meet the prospective student where they live -- and every single study I've seen lately says it is mobile and social.  Can a billion user accounts be wrong?

If this shenanigans with the football rules committee is allowed to spread, sports that need outreach -- like, oh, softball -- get cut off from the fan base.  And if they are allowed to stay in football, but not all other 87 sports, then we have another example of the national organization performing the unholy act of creating the third gender.  Was it Donna Lopiano's famous line regarding Title IX enforcement?  We can't have men's sports, women's sports and football.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Plans, Planning and Working the Plan

Another local crisis event brings back to mind the basics -- it really is about the plan, not the technology.  Chris Syme brings that home today in a succinct series of six tips for crisis in the social media area.

Let me pause for a moment and ask the question:  is there such a thing anymore as a "social media crisis" plan.  It is beginning to sound a lot like we have a "broadcast media crisis" plan to go along with how we will deal with the newspapers.

I digress.

Chris' first three points are the ones that still get overlooked.  Are all modes of communication included in your crisis plan -- social being one of them?  I especially point out the third one:  with the rapid nature of social, being plugged into the top is crucial.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Some Sunday Morning Reading

Two articles I found interesting off one of this week's PRSA newsletters.  The first is from Nieman, and it discusses how public opinion polls can mislead.

The other is about who is happy at work from Time.  As a true believer in the Andy Grove mantra, this was a refreshing read.  A little revealing too -- particularly about "low achievers."

Enjoy your weekend.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

You Are News

A very satisfying look at the work of the Boston PD during the manhunt last week, breaking down keys that are important for both the university/athletic spokesman and the traditional PIO.  The Bloomberg story deserves a full read, but I have to tag out the last line.  One of the officers said:

“We don’t break news. We are the news.”

And there it is.  Traditional media chafe at the thought of the people formerly known as The Source deciding to speak directly to The People Formerly Known as The Audience.

Sometimes, however, until the source has the information, all the rest is speculation.  Is the player hurt?  What is the next season football schedule?  Has the bomb threat been lifted?

In the case of Boston, it was revealing key information during the search and apprehension of the suspects.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Institutional Control

From the late 1970s forward, the NCAA has attempted to regulate publicity that no self-respecting university would tolerate from any other academic regulating body or into the realm of state laws.  In what we must see as the opening salvo against diversity in field markings, the NCAA football rules committee attacked both marketing and social media with its new guidelines.

Can we get a ruling on the color of field turf next?  The number of uniforms?  Designs of football helmets?

Is basketball not far behind?

Someone is going to have to explain to me how the purity of the game was impacted by using hash tags and institutional URLs where fans can see them on television.

What I'd like to hear from the football rules committee -- was this driven by pressure from networks to "clean up" the visual space?

Missed on the first pass through was a ban on all cameras in the team area.  Really?  The SEC tried that in several sports. Will all cameras include the live network cameras?  Betcha it won't.  Or they will shoot in from the edges.  That's just another blatant shot at one of the last areas the campus had for it's own programing -- "insider footage" from the official team camera.

And what of those lucrative conference packages that require what are essentially commercial logos -- the conference networks -- to appear on goal posts, on goal nets and sideline spaces?

Just when we cleaned up the minutia of what goes in a media guide . . .

Monday, April 29, 2013

Words Do Matter

Another entry in the careful what you say and when you say it as UCF puts an instructor on leave for what he characterized as a joke in class.  It follows other similar events as we become quite sensitive to what are seen as inappropriate comments, especially as it relates to violence.  More than a few of these have been in social media during the past year.  The end of the day takeaway:  these folks are losing jobs and if they get the position back, their reputations have been tarnished and the costs (often literal in legal fees) are high.

New Heights in Being Your Own Media

For the White House Correspondent's Dinner, the President joined in with the fun in a spoof video with Steven Spielberg.  It's cute, but consider the broader implications.

In the past, this might have come from PBS, or another traditional media source.  Now, it's squarely on the White House YouTube page, and a production of the White House.

Obama as ultimate brand and own media.

As of this morning, 1.8 million views can't be wrong.  And in those 3,800 total videos by the White House channel, not all of them are the dry briefings and weekly speeches of the President.

The tools are there.  The distribution network is there.  We have preached for years about being your own media and branded journalism.

The question: do you have a message to send?  Can you make it compelling?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Human Cost of Social Media

Do we know if the false accusation by the social media hive led to the death of Sunil Tripathi?  No.

We do know the rush to Twitter Justice led to great harassment of the family.

Unfortunately, it's the dark side of social, and it reminds us of the responsibility everyone has to know a little something about what you are liking or retweeting before you click.

Remember how the Texas Rangers' game couple was demonized?  The video of the kid crying was way out of context, but it didn't keep the Yankees broadcast team from making them public enemy number one for a few weeks last season.

Or when celebrities decide to rain down thunderbolts from Olympus on the unsuspecting?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Crisis Twitter for Dummies

Jeremy Stahl provides an excellent recap of the lowlights of raw reportage via social media in Slate.

The sports world lived (and lives) this up close during every major coaching change and when the fault line of high-stakes football entertainment that runs through Division I athletics slips.

Who remembers OrangeBlood's blow-by-blow of Texas leaving the Big 12?

We can clearly see the impact of social in real-time -- in fact, we can now put a price on it: $200 billion after the stock market dives with the Associated Press hack. There's also the malicious tweet -- Arkansas taking a threat seriously or even here at NSU where someone fails to spread a rumor on Boston bomb day about an "inactive" device found here.

Stahl focuses on Boston, but his advice and those he cites are great advice for source and reporter.

Having worked public safety crisis, public event warning and emergencies for public agencies, he repeats some keys.

Ari Fleischer gives a nice five point -- in two Tweets -- primer for the source, closing with:

For spokesppl, don't rule 2 much in/out. Wait till you know.

A different version of the FEMA/PIO training line: Trust in God; verify everyone else.

Here is where I differ with Ari.  When the maelstrom begins, sources need to speak.  If they say nothing else than to announce "Here I am. I am the official source.  I will get back to you when I know something."  In the extreme, being silent until sure leads to BPGlobal.  Remember these Four Rules.

Often, you do have basic information.  I think back to the LSU bomb scare and the silence from the institution which fed the confusion in the Golden Hour.  Nature abhors a vacuum and so do people. There are more of them than you.

In our bomb scare, we got active quickly and monitored to respond.  I still had citizens who were handing out rumor as information, and I had to correct it as soon as I could find it.  It happened during a 20 minute period I got off the keyboard to do some verification.  It reminded me of something I already knew -- you never leave a net uncontrolled.  That dates to storm spotter and radio operator days, but it is true in the social realm.  This is real time, and you step away from the crowd at your own peril.

It seems obvious, but many are oblivious -- don't let autotweet continue when the crisis is national.  Like having your flags at full staff the next day, bad form to be caught doing regular business.  That said, absent a national event like 9/11, life goes on.  During the Friday manhunt, we need to let people know that events are happening here on campus.  Frankly, for some, they want to get away from the wall-to-wall news.  Just be sensitive to the local impact of a major crisis.

Toward the end, Stahl points out some inside baseball, snide and snarky plays well on Twitter but sounds callow days later.  This is mostly advice for the journalist, but there is one part where sources can play a major role: shaming the inaccurate.

Stahl is advising his fellow journalists to NOT do this, pointing out in that "first draft of history" way that journalism works that he has been guilty of passing on unconfirmed information.  Pot, meet kettle, being Stahl's point.  And "shaming" -- Stahl's word choice -- is not the best way to approach this.  In real-time, getting accurate information out is critical.  Correcting errors, therefore, can be life-saving.  For example, if the bomb threat is for a building, don't send people in the wrong direction off campus.

Basically, that's the tack taken by Auburn yesterday over a long-developing series of accusations made by digital media.  We also have the responsibility for correcting the record, for making sure that first draft of history includes all the information.

Photo About Face on Facebook

Am I the only one noticing this? Since the launch of Facebook Home, the views and traffic of posts on the pages I administer reversed.

Where Facebook Five style posts -- image included -- did twice the traffic of regular text only, in the past two weeks text only alerts have the 2:1 advantage.  Even some links are doing as well.

Please comment if you have or have not seen this.  I have some fellow admins who see it, some have no change.

Doesn't make sense, unless . . . .

I haven't checked if Instagram images posted over to Facebook are scoring lower than photos placed directly.  Maybe Facebook is trying to game the system to favor it's property.

Is it an attempt to speed Facebook Home on mobile by going text only -- a la Twitter?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fighting Back at Auburn

No surprise to this space the concept of being the one to tell your bad news first, but Auburn -- obviously after careful investigation -- launches out to counter bad news with some aggressive messaging.  Doesn't go any higher than a letter from the AD, Jay Jacobs, that goes point-by-point in refuting charges by a digital media outlet.

Traditionalists will say that if it was AL.com, the Birmingham News' online venture, perhaps the fight wouldn't be taken back to them, and who are these newcomer, low-asset outlets.

What I find more compelling is the realization that a born-digital outlet is driving the story and the best way when you believe you have the facts on your side is to take that set of facts to the marketplace.

Let's be honest -- this is pretty easy when you think you're right.  Tough call is when you have the world and the facts against you.

Auburn has a track record of stepping out front when it needed to in the past.  Interesting read if you've not been following the events.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Pause from Athletics Oops

Far too often, student athletes are singled out for more attention than the student body, particularly high profile ones.  Just to show diversity, here's something from Peter Shankman's feed -- a note from Gawker that proves once again, once it's posted online (or emailed) it's easy to copy and spread.

Delta Gamma made some national online news with this note regarding Greek Week activities at University of Maryland.  Got to think traditional media is right behind.

Friday, April 12, 2013

They Say You Can't Fight the Future

Andrew Branch writes of his experience with a early January basketball game, and not getting to bring his homework into the PNC Arena.  The heart of the matter was the arena's ban on any tablets, and Branch writes a column detailing the folly of same for the Raleigh News and Observer.

I enjoy this story on many levels.

Zoe Barnes Rule No. 1.  Andrew Branch proved it again -- you talk to me, you're talking to 1,000 people.  More accurately, you piss me off, you risk being the subject of derision of my 1,000 friends.  If you get some bounce, you'll be in a clipping service.  And forwards, which is how I saw it -- a forward to me from the CFAA's Elite Clips.  Then in traditional media.  And so it rolls.  Did you catch the timeline here?  It happened Jan. 12.  He carried that burr under his saddle until posting the story April 12.  It will not make the rounds probably into May.  Andrew is a very Zoe character.  A senior at NC State, you can read on his Twitter feed how he's excited about the regular paper exposure.  Again, here is the intern who has access to a platform to shine a light on a problem.

Gillmor strikes again.  Back in 2008 at CoSIDA, I hosted Dan Gillmor on a panel about dealing with the "new media." In that Olympic year, Dan predicted that as the technology for a HD camera in everyone's hand was on the horizon it would become impossible for the type of embargoes and bans the IOC and others attempted to enforce.  Why bring that up?  To point out that this is not some new issue -- how many famous bands from the 60s have "bootleg" recordings of concerts -- and it isn't going away.

Rules are made to be enforced.  PNC Arena sure stuck by that mantra, to the point of understanding the absurdity.  Reminds me of the institutional ban on umbrellas at University of Arkansas.  Every venue.  Including Bud Walton Arena and Barnhill Arena.  In the winter.  When it rains.  So ushers would force patrons to pile up their umbrellas at the door.  Clearly, an outdoor venue rule that makes sense -- you don't want all those open umbrella obstructing views and dangerous eye-poking.

A little discretion goes a long way.  This story never happens if the security guard checks the tablet, sees its a non-video, non-backlight device and looks the other way.  See rule one.  Security guard obviously more concerned about the potential reprimand from superiors if the kid gets caught later.

The world is social; deal with it.  Yankee Stadium to Barclays Center -- they don't want the tablets to interfere.  Movie theaters threaten patrons with expulsion for checking phones or texting, much less recording.  What in the world are you all going to do when Google succeeds with Glass?  Or Samsung.  I notice in the story the student was quick to point out the mixed signal -- take photos during the game, interact with the video board, use your phone as a second screen in venue.

It comes into a package for the general publicity person in this way.  Today, I shot our cello ensemble for a lunchtime concert.  Two students stood with iPhones making their own recordings.  They are my competition.  Do I stop them and say, HEY this is our venue?  They'll likely get their video up to the internet first -- and first wins in SEO . . . . for a while.  When I post mine later today, and more next week, I have to count on quality to carry me eventually past them.

Content.  Context.  Competition.  Try those three Cs to push your messaging along. Spend less time worrying about what student is bringing what into the venue.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

There's Resigning Then There's Resigning

In an echo of it depends on what the word is, is, the lawyer who apparently provided advice in the Rutgers basketball fiasco resigned today.

Not last week, when everyone understood that he had resigned.  According to The Chronicle and the New Jersey Star-Ledger, John Wolf had resigned from his interim vice president position to be retained as a university lawyer at the same salary.

Today, he's resigned completely from Rutgers.

Add in your own punch lines.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Tis But A Flesh Wound

It was Edward Tufte who coined the phrase "death by PowerPoint" -- and he meant it as one of the investigator of the Columbia tragedy.  Tufte found buried in a PPT deck the key indicator that O-rings were not cold tolerant, but within that dense info stack no one noticed.

Fast-forward to New Jersey.  Another day, another set of blows for Rutgers President Dr. Robert L. Barchi.  After word that an independent investigation of why the now departed Scarlet Knights AD didn't think he could fire Mike Rice prior to the revelation of the video, Barchi is trying to conduct regular business.  From The Chronicle:

At a town-hall meeting on the university's Newark campus on Monday, Dr. Barchi was repeatedly cut off by faculty members who told him to stop lecturing from PowerPoint slides and start answering their questions.

Um. Yeah. When you're finished with that PPT, could you get your TPS reports in. Yeah. On the new form.  OK?

How long until we see Barchi as the Black Knight.  It might only be a scratch.

Mike Wolverton continues in a separate Chronicle article today about the twisted path of who had authority, that regrettably reads like a more classic comic routine.  Who was on first?

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Objects Are Larger Than They Appear

In the rear view mirror, events at Rutgers and Penn State seem obvious.  Kinda like that car you just changed lanes on top of.  Chris Syme brings back up a crisis PR classic -- blind spots -- as she dissects a pair of athletic department failures.  What separates Rutgers and Penn State from Arkansas and TCU?  Read more on her blog.

Do You Remember Media Relations?

Poynter brings forth some interesting numbers as we all consider how to get the word out on our respective programs.  At least in the area of that ever-so-important male sports demo, the local newspaper is retaining its grip as a primary source.

That seems obvious in an aging demo, but the truly informative numbers in this survey are related to online.  That same newspaper's digital version is the top go-to for the sports fans.

Maybe all that time spent courting the nationals -- while very important for recruiting and reputation -- isn't as great an investment.  I've heard the negative feedback on cultivating local contacts.  Oh, they have to cover us.  They'll always be there.

Hmm.  That's kind of the point, and this survey bears it out.  If you have strong local relationships, you'll have a strong coverage base to leverage toward those national moments.

And when ESPN leaves town, who are you left with?

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Sad Turn in History

Indulge me, my social media and college sports readers.  I bring out a pair of sad history points.  The first is the watering down of standards back in Arkansas.  The legislature -- amidst Lord knows what other "high" priorities -- takes the time to pass changes to the state training requirements for teaching Arkansas history.  Really?  Isn't there an economic or health care crisis to vote on instead?  Listen more on this point at We're History.

The other was the halting of one of the great thought exercises of American history -- a course on hoaxes at George Mason.  The gist was the students had to carefully craft a whole-cloth fable and sell it to the internet world as truth.  Oh, you know, that NEVER happens.

When Parson Weems did it, it was folklore.  When T. Mills Kelly reveals that our WikiWorld can oh-to-easily be filled with fakery, well that's just beyond the pale.  Read more at The Chronicle.

Friday, April 05, 2013

The Heat Shield Burns

"Reluctantly" Rutgers' athletic director resigns this evening in the wake of the growing blowback over men's basketball.

Curious at this point is one statement from The Chronicle story:

". . . . following the review of an independent report, “the consensus was that university policy would not justify dismissal.” "

So who advised that course?  Baker Rule still in play.

We'll see what Monday brings for the president of Rutgers, who earlier said:

"Tim kept me fully apprised, and I supported his actions," Dr. Barchi said.

Does he support today?

Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Howard Baker School of Administration

"What did the president know and when did he know it?"

Senator Howard Baker's question of Richard Nixon during the Senate Watergate Hearings rings across the decades, and echoes today in Piscataway, N.J.

Timeline and how Dr. Robert Barachi manages his explanations of that series of events define his presidential future.

The good and bad news of the Rutgers men's basketball situation is the buck stops at the university leadership.  Mike Rice Jr. adds his name to a list of high-profile coaches that may end an administration.

According to The Chronicle, it appears the Baker Rule is in play.  The vice chair of the Rutgers Board of Trustees was vocal today about the statements thus far from Barachi:

"Every single person who has read that memo is wondering what the hell he is really saying. It was clearly written by lawyers."

And, that may not be fair to the president as one gets the feeling the lawyering up is on for protection on all sides.  Big 10 bound Rutgers does not want to have anything that might appear to be Paterno-esque on the record.

The suits are just about to roll.  Former director of player development Eric Murdock broke the code, first by showing the video to the athletic director Tim Pernetti.  Apparently fired for speaking out internally, Murdock gave the videos to ESPN.  He is suing Rutgers for wrongful termination.  As NBC points out, he's likely done in college coaching for going against the system.  In Sicily, they call it omerta.  Those that cover coaching sometimes call it honor among thieves.

Murdock is no wannabe.  NBA veteran, New Jersey native and first round draft pick of the Utah Jazz. More than a few are rallying to his side in the debate within athletics.

Want to read something chilling?  How about this excerpt from Rob Dauster's NBC web column.  After explaining that the media covering Rutgers knew about the tapes and placing blame on the reason for the firing now at the feet of the general public's reaction to the tape, Dauster concludes:

But the root cause for the firing?

Allowing Murdock to walk away angry.

Because if Murdock leaves the Rutgers happy, or if he is still employed by the university, Rice is still firing basketballs at his players.

Thus the questions about who, what and when.  The new president may not have known in real-time about the internal athletic department moves.  He says he changed his mind once he saw the tapes.  It will lead to the Baker Question about viewing them now.  CBS has made their own timeline thus far.

Clearly the video is from the team's analysis system, which today are 100% digital.

People -- rule number one -- digital assets are easily copied (FYI -- that's a 2006 blog link) and once posted always available.  There were no tapes to take or dubs to make.  One quick drag and drop and you've got the files.

Coaches and administrators who believed for years they could say things in private groups learned hard lessons about digital recorders on cell phones.  Now coaches who believe practice is closed to all need to rethink what they are doing in supposed privacy.  On this count, Dauster's story has the situation nailed down.  He also recounts the history of other coaches with anger issues -- guess what a common denominator in many departures?  Visual evidence shown to the public.

Just to reiterate from the other end of the spectrum, let's not forget the role of digital video in the events at Syracuse where an athletics department staff member admitted to secretly taping male athletes in locker rooms.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Be Right, Be Wrong, Bielema

Current Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema is the social media polar opposite of the man he replaced, Bobby Petrino.  We created and held Petrino's Twitter feed to protect his name from spoofs, and without saying a word it reached about 5,000 followers.  This is not to say Petrino was ignorant of social media - in fact there were concerted monitoring and use of social and participatory media that emanated from the Broyles Center Second Floor.  More accurate, he was indifferent to how it would help his recruiting.

Not so for Bielema.  From back-and-forth with his former Wisconsin fans to stirring up Alabama fans, you have someone who is "gets it".  No real surprise as he cut his social media teeth with one of the better social media teams in Division I.

However, April 1 was, to use another former Razorback head coach's favorite word, special.  This year is the first anniversary of the Great Motorcycle Wreck.  Recall, Petrino's spill happened on April 1, which led many to see it as a very sick joke when word first leaked out.

The Razorback fan base went into gleeful overdrive at the post from the Bret Bielema Facebook page on April 1, 2013:

"Don't worry.  No motorcycles today."

I joined in along with literally thousands of Arkansas followers with shares and reposts of that simple line.  Funny.  Edgy.  Tongue in cheek.

As you are about to guess, it wasn't Coach Bielema.

The Facebook page is clear that it is an "unofficial fan page," but judging from the almost 6,000 likes (on a page with 23K followers) Hog fans sure wish he did.  In fact, a scan of the 1,500 comments finds the positive reaction something in the 15:1 to 20:1 range.

However, on his Twitter feed, Bielema did almost the same message.  Responding to the dust-up with Bama fans, Bielema gave an homage to his doppleganger:

"Things to chill out about today:
1 - I'm only driving my car today
2 - Alabama quotes were a joke to a question from a fan at a pep rally #wow"

Conclusion?  Both Brets seem to be on the same page. They have the same sense of humor.

And both seem to subscribe to the P.T. Barnum School of PR: "I don't care what you say about me, just spell my name right."