Journalism Judgment In A Twitter World

Context.

In the world of 140-characters on Twitter, context can be a missing element.

Come on people. If you didn’t get the sarcasm that’s on you. 

I shouldn’t have to explain my sarcasm on Twitter. Get with it people.  

Can’t you people take a joke? 

Journalists, bloggers, and others working in media have made those statements on Twitter over the years.

Toward fans.

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Do you understand Twitter? Do you understand how people use it?

How I use Twitter is vastly different from the next person. Many in journalism circles use it as a news feed. Others use it as a communication tool as part of their business (brand) strategy. Some use it to simply connect with their friends. Still more use it to find those who have similar interests (i.e. shared favorite tv shows, team, etc…). I’m a collection of all of the above. Mostly sports news mixed in with a bit of non-sports news and minimal personal information. That’s not the same for everyone.

As Twitter has grown, so has the idea of journalist branding. Particularly in sports media. Twitter is a broadcasting tool for journalists. Broadcasting one’s own content or opinions can be the norm. Now more than ever it’s about the clicks.  The more popular you are (followers) on Twitter, the more traffic you drive to your publication’s site. Gain followers – generate clicks. Gain followers by sharing your opinion…especially controversial or sarcastic ones.  It’s as if the thought process for some media is, “I have an opinion or a joke about this story. I need to share it on Twitter. My followers need to know it.”

It’s along that line of thinking that this tweet resonated with me recently.

Is this statement true? Is everything we do “judged the same” in the online world? Is what we post on Twitter judged the same way as a blog or a video post? Can you tell the same thing about someone in 140-characters as you can a 1,000 word article? Perhaps we should ask Chris Kluwe (reference: his Deadspin article).

  • Chris Kluwe can’t be moral crusader after Twitter rant - CBS Sports
  • Chris Kluwe is both a hero and a hypocrite - Bleacher Report

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gavelBy Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Are we judged the same on all outlets? Or, does Twitter, with its 140-character limit, have its own set of rules in today’s journalism? Needing perspective, I corresponded with a Twitter-friend who has worked in both media and social media. Tom Buchheim is the Lead Content Strategist for American Family Insurance. He was also involved in television broadcasting for several years. I asked Tom a series of questions on the topic of journalism and social media.

Can we be judged the same everywhere? Is it that black-and-white of an issue? 
 
“In this context, I think journalists seeking legitimacy should expect similar reactions across platforms and mediums. A reader is a reader. A fan is a fan. A hater is a hater. You can qualify opinions much easier in a column/blog post. It’s much more difficult and subjective in 140 characters (or less).
 
That being said, at some point, your personal brand becomes what people see, and if you’re consistently trying to be sarcastic or funny via social media, then people begin to expect it.”
 
Tom went on to say that there are certain sites he reads, not for their feature stories but for “their clever use of social media, their capture-the-moment-perfectly tweets and snarky approach to sports”. As Tom told me, “We have a superficial relationship, and I’m OK with that. “

On Whitlock’s tweet that SI’s Alan Shipnuck replied to

“To Whitlock’s credit, he’s being transparent enough in admitting his account is pure folly. My problem is it diminishes his serious writing/columns/reporting. It’s so “out there” that it’s off-brand for what I expect him to say, especially as someone whom I enjoyed hearing from weekly when he was on “Sports Reporters.””

Does personal branding supplant old-school journalism now? 

“I hope personal branding never supplants old-school journalism. There’s a place for personal branding — especially in sports — but we have enough loud-mouths out there. Earn your stripes through good reporting. I expect more — and I think others do, too — of journalists, no matter where they’re sharing opinions. To me, your work should be the showcase piece for your personal branding. But I understand how buzz and getting more readers, followers, etc. works.  know of friends in TV news who are under constant pressure to grow and engage more and more in social media. It’s harder to do that by just sharing really good content — unfortunately. We’re a headline-grabbing society with news cycles that last hours instead of days. That makes me sad for journalism. For old-school journalism.”

Context on Twitter

If you’re trying to be funny, someone will misinterpret the tweet. So then it’s probably not funny, right? Or you’re just not funny. Humor is hard. Big brands struggle — and usually fail miserably — with humor in social media, because it’s so subjective. We’re also a very skeptical society, even more so in social media. Twitter will see blood any time there’s a chance to knock someone down, especially sports writers or other journalists attempting humor. Or big brands.

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FINAL THOUGHTS: First, my thanks to Tom Buchheim for providing his perspective for this post. 

Second, Twitter is what you make of it. That’s been my belief for a long time. If you don’t like what someone tweets, don’t follow them. Simple, right?

There are very prominent media members, well-respected, that are quite popular on Twitter. Early on, I followed them. I found them to be arrogant, condescending and egotistical. They questioned fans who questioned them no matter how right the fans were. Now that I look back on it, to use a popular term, they “bullied” with words and dismissed fans who disagreed with them. I unfollowed them. I moved them to a Twitter List because they were great writers and I wanted to read their articles. Eventually, that wasn’t enough to keep me connected to them. I removed them from my Lists altogether.

Simple.

But, should I have to?

Well, that’s the beauty and curse of Twitter. Twitter allows you access to people who were not previously accessible. Depending on how much journalists filter themselves, Twitter allows for a peek into who they truly are. Personality, political and religious beliefs, even their favorite restaurants (think FourSquare check-ins and food pictures) can all be seen through the eyes of Twitter. That’s not always the case in their writing, unless they are a columnist. Columnists are paid to provide their opinion. 

In print, at least.

On Twitter, everyone can be a columnist, providing their 140-character opinions. Not always in proper context. It’s up to the user to decide how to interpret and convey their opinion to others. We’re all different in our personalities so why is that we should interpret one’s writing and tweets the same way. We don’t. And we won’t until someone creates that sarcasm font I keep calling for (sarcasm). 

As quickly as a tweet is written, that’s how quickly a judgment is made. With an article or blog post, the reader has time to fully grasp the context of what the writer is trying to say on a subject. I should say, “more words” not “more time”.  Like Tom said, “your work should be the showcase piece for your personal branding“. That doesn’t mean that comes through in only 140-characters. 

At least, that’s my “judgment” on the issue. 

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CadChica Sports

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

TdF: A Social Reconnection

Social media connects us. 

And, in some cases, reconnects us. 

This story comes from my friend, Debi Davis. Debi is in Colorado, I’m in Washington. I despise talking on the phone. I prefer face-to-face. Maybe that’s why I like Google+. When your friend is in Colorado and you’re in Washington, you talk via Google+ Hangouts (video). 

We were discussing work when she mentioned something off-hand that opened my eyes even more to the power of social media. Here is Debi’s story, in her own words (used with her permission):

I was passively watching coverage of Day 2 of the Tour de France — i.e., checking my Google Plus notifications with the TV on in the background.  When I heard the name “Alex Howes” coming from television my attention was quickly diverted fully to the dark haired boy wearing black-rimmed glasses who was being interviewed on camera.  All I caught was something about calories required to sustain bike racers.  In less than 30 seconds, the interview was over. The name – Alex Howes – was still ringing in my ears.

“It can’t be. Can it? Is that THE Alex Howes from Colorado?” The only Alex Howes I know is the son of the first friend I made when I moved to Colorado 30 years ago.  I started doing the math.  Yes, the bike racer on the interview would be about the same age as the Alex Howes I know.  A quick Google search provided more proof that Alex Howes, the little boy I hadn’t seen since he was in diapers, was probably the young man who was now racing for the U.S. Garmin-Sharp bike team in the Tourde France!  The fact that Boulder, CO is his home base, and that he was born on January 1, 1988, was substantial evidence.  Excited that I knew the parents of a bike racing celebrity, I sent this tweet:

and this one:

I was giddy at the thought of how proud Alex’s parents, Joel and Star, must be to see Alex take bike racing to this level. You see, Joel and I met at a bike race.  I was supporting another racer, and we were parked next to each other and unloading gear for a local amateur race.  We discovered that we lived near each other.  Over the next several years we became good friends, and took many bike rides together.  In fact, I was one of two people at their private wedding ceremony. I also remember the day I held their newborn son, Alex.

Life events took me off in another direction, and I lost touch with the Howes family.  Alex must have forwarded my tweets to his parents, though, because a few days later Joel contacted me on LinkedIn (apparently, he doesn’t use Twitter himself).  We will be getting together for coffee in the next couple weeks. I’m going to get to hear about the Tour de France from the parents who raised and trained a bike racer capable of riding competitively in an international 21-stage race over the course of 23 days, covering a total of 3,664 kilometers.  

I couldn’t be more proud.

Alex Howes

One brief mention on the television. A name. Triggering a memory.

How does Debi attempt to reconnect with that “memory”? Through the power of social media.

I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. Thank you for sharing it with me, Debi.

Oh, and one more thing: GO ALEX!

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CadChica Sports

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

Tuesday Ten: Heels and Jobbers

TTCCS HandJ banner 7-22

Tuesday Ten is a quick, 10-minute chat with leaders & up-and-comers in the world of sports in: media/broadcasting, business/marketing, social media & more. On Tuesday, July 22, it was umm…a…uhh…groundbreaking (?)…episode for CadChica Sports. 

Keep reading.

When you need help in a pinch, you call on your friends, right? Well, that’s what I did when I found myself needing a guest for this episode of Tuesday Ten. My previously scheduled guest, Mike Freeman from Bleacher Report, had to reschedule due to other work-related engagements. He’ll join me on July 29th instead. But, I needed a guest.

Or two. 

Or three. 

That’s right. I called upon three of my friends to help me out. And, since they willingly agreed, I agreed to discuss a subject near and dear to their hearts: WWE! Tariq Ahmad, Derrick Docket and Jimmy Sanderson know their wrestling. And, they (sort of) taught be few things about the “sport”. There may have been a heel turn or two. Or, someone may have been declared a jobber. Whatever it was, it was an episode not to be missed.  

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS (or lowlights)

>>> Psst…skip my intro in the beginning. Trust me. It’s better that way. <<<
  • 0:57 — Guest intro
  • 2:55 — Derrick’s question: Best wrestling stables
  • 6:13 — Mishap #1: We lost Tariq! and a continuation of the stables discussion
  • 7:39 — The perception, or misperception of being a “wrestling” fan: experience growing up and/or still present today
  • 9:12 — Derrick brings up a great point about the athleticism of wrestlers (cruiserweight division)
  • 12:40 — Derrick living in the past with the WWE Network. 
  • 13:37 — Audience question from Scott Scowcroft: Popularity in the U.S. and around the world. 
  • 15:18 — HEY, it’s a Tariq sighting and he mentions the popularity of the WWE in Mexico, Japan and England. 
  • 16:30 — Mishap #2: I failed to mention the question which was Best Bad Guy (Heel) of all-time
  • 19:37 — Audience comment and question from Travis Bell: Travis used to wrestle against some of the “old guys” in college. Q: will athleticism continue in WWE?
  • 21:05 — Thanks to Anwar Adnan for watching from the Middle East.
  • 21:27 — Mishap #3: Did we lose Tariq again?
  • 22:01 — CONNECT WITH US!!! 
  • 23:07 — Audience comment #2 from Travis Bell: Best heel should be Great Mephisto
  • 24:07 — Next week’s guest

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CONNECTION

Connect with the guys on Twitter

COMING UP

On the next Tuesday Ten Show, I’ll be joined by Mike Freeman, NFL Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Freeman is also an author who recently worked with the family of Roberto Clemente to write the book “Clemente“. Join me at the same “Chica-location” on Google+ on July 29 at 5pm PT/8pm ET.

Clemente

CadChica Sports

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

3 Stars of the 2014 World Cup

When researchers and sociologists look back at the World Cup in Brazil, they will have a mountain of information (and blog posts like this one) to sift through. From the alleged FIFA corruption to Brazilian protests, there will be no shortage of topics to choose for discussions in years to come.

This World Cup, however, will be known for its star power. We had the Lionel Messi, Arjen Robben, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez watch. Joining the crowd was Colombia’s James Rodriguez. All-Stars and stars in the making. All “starred” for their countries and made headlines in one way or another. BUT, that’s not the type of star power I’m referring to for this World Cup. I’m referring to the stars of social media and search.

 STAR POWER

1) Social Media: Like it or not, the #1 star in this year’s World Cup wasn’t on the pitch. It was on our desktops, laptops, phones and tablets on a daily basis. The #1 star could only be social media. A few highlights: 

Facebook: 350 million people with over 3 billion interactions centered around the World Cup. Sunday’s final alone had 280 million interactions among 88 million people. Brazil, U.S.A. and Mexico were the top countries in terms of people discussing the tournament. Neymar and Memphis Dupay led all players in terms of growth (raw, percent increase, respectively).

While I, myself, did not go to Facebook much during the tournament, I have no doubt that these numbers prove that Facebook can be a player when it comes to a live sporting event. Now, it helps that this is a world event. The “world” loves Facebook. Events like this draw in casual fans. And, of course, when national pride is at stake, well…you don’t mess with that. That said, Facebook has made some strides to be a player when it comes to sports events. While it is the #1 social network based on numbers, for me it pales in comparison for sports to…

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Twitter: 672 million tweets were World Cup related, according to Twitter. Neymar and Messi led the way in terms of mentions on Twitter. 

One of the brilliant moves by Twitter was sharing their data like this…

and this:

Twitter has grown up fast. They’ve had to because of user demand (think: journalists). Demand for Twitter, and subsequent positive response to its usage, forced Facebook to change, adapt and become relevant in the world of sports. The numbers for Facebook seem to dwarf Twitter. However, as this Forbes article points out, “Twitter is where people go to talk about surprising, unexpected events as they’re unfolding. Facebook is where people go to record their feelings about big, shared milestones somewhat after the fact.”  

When it’s a “live event”, conversation happens on Twitter. I was hoping to take that to the next level on…

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Google: Google+ to be exact. And, we’re not quite there yet on Google+. Real-time conversation can happen through Hangouts On Air, or rather Business Hangouts On Air, but that concept is not there yet. Where Google did excel is in Search. According to Google wth 64 matches having been played, there were over 2.1 billion (yes, BILLION) related searches. 

Google meme

Monitoring everything from most searched match to, well, player memes, Google’s prowess in Search is unmatched. Especially considering Google’s very own…

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YouTube: While writing this post, I went to look for some stats on the World Cup and YouTube. Aside from the video below (which happened to be trending on YouTube this past week), I was unable to find current  data on anything post-World Cup related. 

Plenty of brands, teams, athletes, broadcast entities and the like utilized YouTube in creative and engaging ways. According to this AdNews article, views are there – subscribers are not. Views for non-World Cup sponsors were a hit. They outpaced the official sponsors of the tournament, according to AdAge.

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Instagram: Picture sharing leader Instagram was a force to be reckoned with during the World Cup. At this point, you’ll just have to take my word for it as no official stats have been released yet. Some of the Facebook numbers could include Instagram posts. If they do or don’t, please let me know. 

Random Google search of anything related to Instagram stats for the World Cup doesn’t provide anything of substance. I did happen to stumble across a Tumblr page that documented IG numbers before the tournament, here.

Followers, well, that’s a different conversation. Athletes from nearly every sport have embraced the photo/video sharing platform. And, their fans have responded in kind. Bloomberg reports that “7 of the top 10″ players,  with respect to follower numbers, hail from Brazil. Neymar and his library of selfies proved to be quite popular with fans…and maybe a few non-soccer types too. 

How popular is Neymar on Instagram? Note the number of Likes and Comments on his two highest posts over the past month.

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RELATED:

  • SnapChat angers users with their “Story” from Rio
  • Tumblr part of the social media conversation too

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2) The numbers are in and it’s allllllll gooooood for ESPN and Univision. Viewership (live-streaming) earns the runner-up spot in my unscientific list of World Cup stars. Rather than quoting the numbers, here are a few selected links on this subject:

  • Ken Fang of fangsbites.com: Univision goes out from the World Cup on top
  • Jonathan Tannenwald of philly.com: Discussing the records and near misses in the World Cup final and tournament overall
  • SI.com’s Noise Report: Breaking down the numbers and markets

Not breaking any earth-shattering news here, but numbers were up. Way up in some cases compared to South Africa in 2010. There were a couple of scenarios that played into ESPN and Univision’s hand for this level of soccer viewership. One is a known quantity. The other, an unmeasurable one. Sort of. 

  • Time difference. For those of us on the West Coast of the United States, this is a big deal. Watching a game at 9 am is a heck of a lot easier than 4 am! Noon on the East Coast? Piece of cake to plan a lunch (long lunch) to watch a game, right? Early morning when you’re just getting to work? Maybe not. So yes, a manageable time difference allows for more eyeballs, even casual eyeballs, to watch the tournament. And, if your friends are talking about it on social media (see #1 above), you might just tune in yourself. 
  • Rise of the Hispanic/Latino population in America. This is more of a theory on my part, but one I firmly believe in. Soccer (futbol) is popular, the #1 sport, in many Hispanic/Latino countries. It rivals and even surpasses what the NFL is here in America. Those who come or who have come to this country don’t just stop being fans of the game. They bring that passion and love of it with them. Add in a World Cup component and you have yourself a huge demographic tuning in to the tournament. But, if the Univision numbers are any indication, “my” demographic brought it, and brought it LARGE to the World Cup.

Keep in mind, these are only based on America’s viewing audience. This does not take into account any numbers from around the world. My guess is that from England to India to Australia to Japan, numbers were equivalent or up compared to 2010, depending upon location, of course. Time difference could very well come into play. But, the deeper the run by a country’s team, the guess here is, the higher the viewership. 

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3) Bringing up the rear in my Star Power list is mobile. Part of mobile includes the live streaming as discussed above (WatchESPN and Univision apps). But, there’s more to it than that. Much like we do in our daily lives, our mobile devices became nearly essential to our staying connected to the World Cup. The CBC alone had their World Cup apps downloaded over one million times. FIFA too saw a rise in their app for the tournament – downloaded over 10 million times as of July 7th.

During the Olympics, talk began centering on the rise of dating apps like Tinderr. According to this article last month, dating apps were seeing a 50% increase. Not just in downloads either. That is in usage too. Surprising or perhaps not in this day & age, some “dates” are turning into relationships.

RELATED: USA-Ghana match sees apps in demandGottaBeMobile

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FINAL THOUGHTS: So there you have it. The 3 stars of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil for me are: Social Media, Viewership and Mobile. I did not mention compelling games, but there are always compelling games to some degree or another during the World Cup. Compelling games lead to higher social media activity, increased viewership and a need for apps, apps & more apps on our devices. 

There can be no question of social media’s impact in sports. It supplements events and sometimes drives engagement either in posts/tweets or actual views. Mobile continues to grow. And grow. And grow. That is and will be a key component for any sporting event in the future — making it work for mobile. 

But, what will you remember about this World Cup? Will it be the social media records that were broken? Or, will you remember the breakout tournament for young Mr. James Rodriguez? Or the flying Van Persie? Late game heroics from USA’s John Brooks? Surprising Costa Rica? The bite heard, seen, shared around the world from Luis Suarez? Germany’s pasting of Brazil? Algeria’s never-give-up attitude? Nigeria playing despite unrest back home? Brand engagement? Perhaps it’s the less popular stories of Brazilian protests? 

What will you remember? What stood out to you? 

While we all reflect on it over the next four years, or (PLEASE) simply leave your comments below, let me leave you with this gem of a video from KickTV. 

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CadChica Sports

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

Tuesday Ten: Lauren Teague

TTCCS Banner 7-15-14

 

Tuesday Ten is a quick 10-minute chat with leaders and up-and-comers in the world of sports in: media/broadcasting, business/marketing, social media and more. Today I was joined by Lauren Teague, Social Media Manager of the PGA Tour. 

WHO IS LAUREN?

“I am a young professional in Jacksonville, Florida, well versed in social media and fostering relationships between brands, athletes and fans on- and offline. I joined the PGA TOUR in 2008 as the first in a dedicated role for social media, and have fostered the network of social media channels from their infancy, including branded presences on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google+ and more. I also consult with PGA TOUR players & agents, partners and tournaments to get them active and productive in creating one-to-one relationships using social media tools.

I had come across Lauren on Twitter during a social media conference she was speaking at. Seeing her and the PGA Tour was the next step in recognizing what the tour was doing on social media. Google Hangouts were a part of their strategy so I knew Lauren was someone I needed to have on the show. Lauren has a strong grasp of social media and what the PGA Tour strategy is. She also is well aware of the social media landscape and how it applies to their audience. I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s that Northern Arizona education…and her Pacific Northwest roots. 

Nah. 

Lauren is one of the bright stars in the world of sports and social media. She is smart, knowledgeable and she just gets it. Don’t believe me? Listen to the show. 

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1:42 — What led the PGA Tour to start using Google+. Utilizing Hangouts On Air 
  • 4:48 — Community for PGA fans on Google+; a new venture. 
  • 6:30 — So many choices. How the PGA Tour goes about choosing a social media platform for their strategy. Making our fans better fans
  • 8:43 — The PGA Tour Social Media Hub (see below)

PGA Tour Social Hub

  • 10:28 — Volunteers and Community
  • 11:33 — Giving back. Important for both Lauren and the PGA Tour. (Link mentioned during the show)

My thanks to Lauren for taking the time to join the show. 

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CONNECTION

With Lauren 

With the PGA Tour

COMING UP

On the next Tuesday Ten Show, I’ll be joined by Mike Freeman, NFL Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Freeman is also an author who recently worked with the family of Roberto Clemente to write the book “Clemente“. Join me at the same “Chica-location” on Google+ on July 22 at 5pm PT/8pm ET.

Clemente

CadChica Sports

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

Tuesday Ten: Josh Decker (Tagboard)

Tuesday Ten 7-8-14
Tuesday Ten is a quick 10-minute chat with leaders and up-and-comers in the world of sports in: media/broadcasting, business/marketing, social media and more. On this episode of Tuesday Ten, I was joined by Josh Decker, CEO/Founder of Tagboard.

WIStateFair on Tagboard

What is Tagboard? “Tagboard is a software platform that uses the hashtag to aggregate social media for end-users, brands, agencies and marketers, displaying content from multiple networks in a comprehensive and engaging visual format. “

Now, normally, the show — since it’s called Tuesday Ten — last just 10 short minutes. But, there are times when questions need to be asked and topics require discussion. I wanted to make sure Josh was able to highlight all the different positive aspects of Tagboard, but I also had one more important question to ask at the end. If there was one overriding theme to our discussion, you’ll get a sense of where my Tuesday Ten show might be headed in the future. 

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0:46 – Quick intro (bio) from Josh Decker
  • 2:04 – Businesses, teams & leagues Tagboard works with
  • 5:41 – How Tagboard works (screen shots included) and the impact in real-time connection with fans and customers
  • 8:26 – Other examples of utilizing hashtags beyond sports
  • 9:39 – Hashtags bring the fans into the conversation…even on a team that’s losing (signal-to-noise ratio)
  • 11:46 – Audience comments (question) How does the monitoring of comments work within Tagboard
  • 12:56 – It’s all in how you use it within your social media strategy
  • 13:51 – Audience question Using user-generated-content (UGC) to go beyond the #’s with respect to fan/customer engagement or connection
  • 17:47 – Fun sports discussion
  • 19:50 – Giving back…Community
  • 20:33 – Working with non-profits, states Civic Value
  • 21:36 – Unique ways people have used hashtags on Tagboard 
  • 21:50 – Power of the hashtag (utilizing Tagboard) to mobilize for a cause
  • 23:34 – Connecting with Josh and Tagboard

CONNECTION

Connect with Josh and Tagboard:

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COMING UP

Join me for the next Tuesday Ten, when I’ll be joined by Lauren Teague, Social Media Manager from the PGA Tour. Same time, same Chica-location on Google+. OR, subscribe to my YouTube channel to stay up to date on all of my latest shows.

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CadChica Sports

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

If Only

If only

…Chris Wondolowski had scored that potential game-winning goal. 

…DeAndre Yedlin hadn’t been pushed forward to where he couldn’t track back in time to stop Lukaku.

…Fabian Johnson had not gotten hurt.

…Coach Jurgen Klinsmann had selected different players to the squad.

…Klinsmann had gone with a different line-up against Belgium.

…Landon Donovan was on the team.

…Michael Bradley had played better.

…Jozy Altidore hadn’t tweaked his hamstring early in the tournament.

…the U.S. had more skilled players

…they had beaten Germany

…they had beaten Portugal.

If only, if only, if only.

If only

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“If only” is the statement equivalent to the age-old question, “what if”.

Much like the daily life that goes on in the world itself, the World Cup is filled with “if only’s” and “what if’s”. For every team that makes it to the World Cup but doesn’t win it or every team that didn’t even make it to the World Cup, it’s that statements and questions that linger for years.

For every team but one. 

The U.S. won’t be that one this year. They will be part of that fraternity that has to provide answers or explanations. They are necessary things to reflect upon. For it’s when those are meditated upon that growth happens . In life and yes in the World Cup too

It’s easy to second-guess coaching decisions, especially when you’re doing it from your computer. I suppose that’s the beauty of being a fan or working in media. We’re not the ones who actually have to implement the ideas or the execute the schemes or the plans. We evaluate based on what we see being done. And, if the expectations are winning and we don’t see it happen, second-guessing rises. 

There were positives and negatives in this tournament for the United States. Positives like Tim Howard, Jermaine Jones, super-sub DeAndre Yedlin. There was the unsung dirty work Michael Bradley did off the ball, despite the many missed touches or passes he made. The grinders like DaMarcus Beasley just bustin’ his you-know-what every single time he was on the field. But, with the loss fresh in our minds the positives are offset by the fact that the U.S. is no longer playing. Again. 

There is one question, however, that continues to hang over this country.

Has soccer made it in the America?

My only answer to that is a question: Does it matter? Soccer continues to grow in this country, make no mistake about that. In terms of both playing and watching – it’s growing. With the growth of the Hispanic population and Hispanics continuing to play (and watch) soccer, it will only grow. Many Hispanics (and Latinos) who come to this country have soccer as part of their identity. Just as the NFL or MLB or NBA is part of many who are born here, that is how it is with soccer in other Latin countries. They bring that with them. And, they transfer that to their children, the next generation.

Will that translate into rise television ratings for Major League Soccer (MLS) or English Premier League (EPL) or Liga MX? That remains to be seen. I think it will. In the next 10 to 20 years you could very well see a change in sports popularity landscape. It’s inevitable. Baseball (Major League Baseball – MLB) used to be America’s past-time. In the world of American sports, it’s the NFL, NBA and MLB. In terms of ratings, baseball continues to lose ground. It struggles to fend off college football or NASCAR as part of the big three  It used to be the big four with the NHL, but the NHL’s popularity has waned to. If it can happen to America’s past-time it can happen to any of them. That’s not to say that soccer will ever take it over. That’s just the natural ebb and flow of sports and the American sports fan. 

As much as I’d love for every American to embrace soccer or football like I do, it’s unrealistic. Just as it’s unrealistic for MLB fans to expect embracing every single game on the 162 game schedule. I can appreciate all of the different nuances of each sport. That doesn’t mean I have to like them all or watch them. Neither do I expect that from others. Accept it for what it is, recognize that it has a place and enjoy the sports you like. 
 
Will Soccer ever make it in America? That depends on your definition of make it. “Make it” in terms of having a soccer league as popular as the EPL is in England? Or “make it” as being a part of daily conversations, daily sports conversations, around the country? During the World Cup, it’s as popular as the EPL. During the World Cup, every social media channel is buzzing about it in this country. During the World Cup fans, are turning out for public viewings of games in the tens of thousands. That’s during the World Cup when fans embrace their national identity with pride. Fans wear their colors on their faces, their shirts, their outfits – any place they can they wear their colors, they wear them. It’s about national pride. Diehards and casual fans alike tune in to the World Cup. 

Beyond the World Cup, these next few months we will see how much it tranfers into daily life. We’ll find out how much connection this team made. The casual fans that heard the names, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, DeAndre Yedlin, Omar Gonzalez – who all play in the MLS – will fans tune in, or attend games in person, to connect with them again? 

The answer would be a resounding YES, if only the United States had won the World Cup. I’m sure stadiums would be packed to the rafters. The “American heroes” would be mobbed by fans. Fans would be seeking them out everywhere they turn. Fans wouldn’t be able to get enough of them. This U.S. team would have been “world” slayers. The MLS surely would have been attractive even to the casual fans. Fans crave connection. They would have been able to connect with the winning team’s players. 

If only…

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CadChica Sports

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