Stirring Passion Beyond Social Media Activism

I’ve seen the video. 

Wish I hadn’t, but I couldn’t write anything on this topic if I didn’t. 

The “it” I’m referring to is the video (now former) Baltimore Raven, Ray Rice, hitting his then-fiancee (now wife), Janay Rice in an elevator. You’ll have to Google it – I’m not embedding it in this post. There are enough click-hunting websites around to help you out.  Rice knocked out his fiancee with a punch. 

Knocked her out! And dragged her, yes dragged, her out of the elevator he hit her in. 

No disputing the video. No excuses. Nothing to explain away. It’s there for all to see. And, all to tweet and post updates about on respective social media feeds with passion.

Opinions are a dime-a-dozen. With a situation like the Rice one, social media is an easy vehicle in which to share those opinions. It also provides a fascinating look into the human psyche. Hatred, vitriol, condemnation, judgement – all sprinkled inside “opinions”. That begs the question, 

What are we going to do about it? 

 

It’s easy to tweet, post, share…whatever. It’s not always easy to “do” something. I say this because there is always a story behind the story. What was going on in Rice’s mind to hit a woman? What led up to it? No, not Janay’s actions. But, something triggered this in him somewhere in his life. Was it when he was a child? Was it as a teenager? Was it a culmination of everything in his life up to that point? Hard to believe that on that day he thought hitting was the way to solve the issue. If that’s the case, then please prove me wrong. If so, then it’s up to us as a society to change that. But, it has to be started early. 

I’m doing my best based on what I know to teach my sons. Based on what I know. What I was taught and observed throughout my life affects what and how I teach them, just as it does with Ray Rice and others like him. Only as they grow will I know if I instilled the right values and skills or not. I am challenged every single day to teach and model the right things in front of them. Is it enough? I’m not perfect – no one is. But, I’m investing in the next generation through my sons and organizations that aim to help kids around the world be positive members of society. 

So, instead of tweeting your horror about the Baltimore Ravens and their public relations fiasco or Roger Goodell’s job as NFL Commissioner, I’ll ask you — What are you going to do about it?

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That story behind the story I mentioned….yeah, there’s also another side of the story. One that most people in sports media aren’t discussing today. There is the victim, Janay Rice, and, oh…the Rice’s daughter, Rayven. 

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Rayven and Janay will live with this the rest of their lives. We won’t. We’ll move on to the next hot sports topic. Tweet, post and share our “hot takes” or display our incomparable sarcastic wit. And move on to the next thing next week. Or, maybe even tomorrow. We’ll forget.

That’s the challenge for all of us. Me included. To not forget. To remember what stirred that passion in us in the first place. The passion that made us tweet, share, post our anger, discontent, frustration should drive us to be the change not just say, there needs to be change

If we do that, maybe then, there won’t be another Rayven or Janay. 

Be the change you wish to see in the***

CadChica Sports

A Packers’ Tradition “Twist”

If you watched the World Cup, you no doubt saw images of world-class players walking out in the pre-game processional with young children. Spectacular moments in the lives of those kids. It’s a tradition in soccer. So much so that it became a SportsCenter commercial:

This Instagram picture from Clint Dempsey captured the perfect sentiment:

Now that tradition has made its way to the NFL.

Packers

Why is this a twist? The Packers’ tradition of riding bikes like this one below (with kids alongside or on the bike) is a long one:

So, while the sports Twitterverse continues the day’s dog days of Summer “hot topic”, I choose to celebrate the good in sports.

Well done, Packers. Well done.

h/t @pink_funk

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CadChica Sports

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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)], 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.””

headline buchheim

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

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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.

Don’t Mess With National Pride

In a simple tweet, the Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) earned social media notoriety. 

Mexico and the Netherlands battled on the pitch in a World Cup knockout round match. Mexico held the lead for much of the game, but two late goal, one a penalty, helped the Dutch move on to the quarterfinals. 

The World Cup is unlike any other tournament on the planet. It’s unlike any sports league here in America. There is team pride. But, then there is national pride. National pride is on the line in the World Cup. And, you don’t mess with national pride. 

Initial reaction to the tweet was “oh my”. It was opportunistic humor. Part of me thought it was funny. But, part of me thought it was Twitter-trolling at its finest. 

It wasn’t that long ago that Delta received flack for a seemingly innocent tweet. People were up in arms over Delta’s representation of Ghana with a picture of a giraffe. A stereotypical assumption many said. Understandable perspective. 

To be clear, Delta’s tweet did not appear to be trolling Ghana. Lack of awareness? Yes. But, not trolling. 

By adding the “Departures” picture with an “Adios Amigos” immediately after the Netherlands victory, that’s pouring salt in a fresh wound. Painful. Heart-ripping. Right to the soul. 

And that’s how it is for sports fans. “We” give our souls to our teams, living every victory and dying with every defeat. Many fans define their very identity in their teams.

But, national teams are different. There is no “defining” necessary. Our national team represents our nation. They represent us. By birth or citizenship, we become part of it. They wear our colors. When they win, an entire nation “wins”. When they lose, the nation feels the loss too. At this stage of the tournament, the knockout round, it’s only amplified. 

Was the KLM offensive? Everyone has their own, personal take. The @ mentions I read mostly found the humor in it. Some didn’t. Apparently, KLM has already deleted the tweet. Considering KLM flies into Mexico City, it’s probably a good move, although the damage has been done. 

Here’s one last scenario to think about. One that could take place anywhere: NFL, NBA, NHL, EPL, MLS, MLB game. Wherever

You and your business partner (or neighbor or boss or ____) attend a game. You cheer for one team, they cheer for the other. Win or go home. Hard fought. Emotions high. The two of you were fully invested in the game. Questionable officiating throughout the game, including the end. Your team wins. You win. You turn to “your” opponent next to you and scream, “SEE YOU LATER, FRIEND” & point to the exit.

You cheer and laugh and dance with pure joy. Then you realize how bad they feel and say, “Sorry, man. That was a great game. Your team made it tough.” You talk it out. While they were angry for a few minutes, they see your happiness AND that you understand how they feel. 

THAT’s what we don’t get with the KLM tweet. We only get the trollish-feel to it. We don’t get the follow-up of talking it out. We only get the “SEE YOU LATER” screamed at us in the form of “Adios, Amigos”. 

Will everyone agree? No. I see both sides of it. Funny or not, the Royal Dutch Airlines found out the hard way that funny isn’t always funny when it comes to national pride. 

UPDATED: Hat-tip (h/t) to Twitter user @amolkold for this tweet from AeroMexico (a SkyTeam partner of KLM). Still no apology from KLM on their Twitter feed as of 1:30pm PT.

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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.

Google+ “Crashes” the NBA Draft

 

NBA Draft Crash

They made news during the NFL Draft and now Google+ is “crashing” the NFL Draft.

How it works: fans create their own Hangout, specifying their team preference, and draft picks for “their” team may crash their Google+ Hangout.

More here.

After a terrific partnership with the NFL Players Association in last month’s draft and the #MyDraftDay Hangouts, this is another step in the right direction for Google. And, the NBA is showing innovation in having their players connect with fans in this way. True engagement is an exchange of communication, not a one-way street. Google+ provides that avenue for “true engagement”.

The NBA Draft will be held this Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Coverage will be on ESPN at 7:30 pm ET.

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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.

Wimbledon Expanding Its Social Reach

 

Wimbledon Day 1

Welcome back, Wimbledon.

The Championships are back and better than ever. A few minor upsets in court action today on Day 1, but nothing of consequence for the top seeds. With Wimbledon getting into full swing, let’s take a quick look at the social media centered around the grandest of tennis tournaments. 

TWITTER

According to Sophie Curtis from The Telegraph, Wimbledon is amping up its Twitter presence this year. Everything from digital photos for fans to in-tweet highlights to Henman Hill screen time for fan tweets, oh, and of course the infamous Twitter Mirror, are all a part of the package. 

The photo above was taken earlier this afternoon from Wimbledon’s “Social Hill“. The numbers in the lower right corner, “Tweets Today” and “Tweets Total”, will display as of the time its viewed. So, the 11k and 802k are as of the time I viewed it. Not bad numbers considering it was going up against the World Cup.

INSTAGRAM

 

But, Twitter isn’t the only platform Wimbledon has taken greater interest in this year. As the tournament has drawn closer, they’re sharing more photos and video on their Instagram too.

FACEBOOK (Fantasy)

Something I noticed on Facebook was something called the Wimbledon Fantasy Game.

Wimbledon FB

How does the Wimbledon Fantasy Game work? According to their website:

  • Each user receives a budget of 1,000 stars.
  • Working within your budget, choose five different player attributes to build your ideal player, including at least one man and at least one woman.
  • For example, budget permitting, you might choose Roger Federer’s serve, Andy Murray’s returns, Serena Williams’ power, Richard Gasquet’s net play and Maria Sharapova’s mental strength.

Points are awarded in five different categories, like Serve or Return. Players can participate in individual leagues in addition to the overall competition in which a grand prize of tickets to the 2015 Championships will be awarded. 

A nice idea by Wimbledon, taking advantage of the huge popularity of fantasy games, especially here in the states. 

YOUTUBE

YouTube is right in the thick of things too for Wimbledon. There is already a large selection of videos, from highlights to post-match interviews, to choose from, like this one:

GOOGLE+

Not to be left out is Google+. Utilizing the hashtag, #mywimbledon, Wimbledon has created an Events Page where fans can share their Wimbledon-related photos. Specifically, where fans are watching: 

wIMBLEDON

So there you have it. A quick social media peek into The Championships. How it fares this week will be interesting as it will continue to compete with the World Cup. Unless there are huge upsets or marathon 5-setters, the fun really begins in the second week, right? 

Did I miss anything they’re doing? Let me know in the comments.

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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.

 

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