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 . . .