What John Calipari said to make me cringe


by @DavidAPortney

Earlier today, University of Kentucky Head Basketball Coach John Calipari on the set of ESPN College Gameday admitted to the world he doesn’t read a single tweet, he pays an agency for that. This comes to no surprise as this is common practice amongst high profile public figures, but must he admit that on national TV?  Though Twitter has become more mainstream since its inception, it’s still geared towards celebrities giving fans access to their lives both professionally and personally.

There are two primary reasons to follow a celebrity:

1) To gain that access I was just talking about.
2) To make their voice heard by the person they’re tweeting because it’s tough to just shoot them an email.

Those points will not be weighed equally depending on the individual, but that’s the crux of it. So when Calipari says to the world he doesn’t read a single tweet he is snubbing his nose to the people that follow him for reason #2.  While I would prefer he be the one to actually do it, I understand his reasoning but he doesn’t have to tell the world about it!  In fairness, he did mention the tweets are authentically his, but unless he is the one actually doing the tweeting I would say it is not. Once it passes through agency hands it’s not longer in the originator’s voice.

If celebrities are afraid what they say on Twitter will negatively impact their careers then simply stay off it. No harm no foul. Personally, I love it when there are spelling and grammatical errors. It shows the public figure is just like the rest of us tweeting on the go with a casual slip of the iphone finger (just to be clear, I DON’T feel that way when it comes to company accounts, just individuals). It’s real and that’s what it should be.   Hopefully someday Coach Cal and the other agency using celebrities will realize that too.

Posted in Social Media Connection | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Grammy’s Don’t Matter, but I’ll Watch Anyway


by @DavidAPortney

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a huge fan of awards shows mainly because I haven’t seen/heard/consumed the majority of the nominees in each category.  Plus, who are these arbitrary committees that decide these awards anyway?  I always laugh when an obscure, independent film/album beats out the productions that were actually seen or heard.

But I watch.  I always do.  As someone who’s spent seemingly my entire life in athletics, I enjoy the competition the awards shows bring out in not only the artists, but the fans.  It has many of the same components we’ll find a week from today in New Jersey: drama, suspense, and even controversy (thanks Kanye).  I watch because people care about these winners, and as a fellow member of society I like being kept in the loop of the water cooler conversation.  This doesn’t mean I actually care about the winners… unless Bruce Springsteen is nominated for any category, in that case it’s life or death.

Perhaps there are already plans to do so, but I hope CBS and the Grammys incorporate a strong social media presence in the broadcast itself.  We love celebrities and for better or for worse, care what they think.  All it takes is a simple #Grammys hashtag stream on the bottom of the screen, and we can join in on the same conversations Taylor Swift and Macklemore are having online and national TV.  I may not normally care about pop culture celebrities’ opinions, but if we’re all observing the same show I wouldn’t mind their perspective, so hopefully CBS gives us the opportunity to see them!  That’s what I’ll be looking out for tonight…how about you?

(image courtesy crossmap.com)


Posted in Social Media Connection | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook Ending Sponsored Stories…Whoopty Doo.


by @DavidAPortney

I’m back!  Yes, after the last few months getting ready for our big annual convention in Seattle, actually executing the preparations then taking a much needed vacation, life is somewhat back to normal.  Anyway, not sure if you heard, but starting in April you will no longer see any sponsored stories in your news feeds.  In short, all they are are indications that a friend likes a particular page or post.

Big deal?  Probably not.  In all honesty this is probably one of the few social media advertisements I don’t find intrusive.  Unlike promoted posts, I actually look at those pages to see if I’d be interested in liking that page as well.  This is probably more effective in local markets, where you may not be aware a particular local business is on Facebook.  For example, this past fall I took part in a 45-mile bike race, and when I saw the sponsored story after a friend liked the race’s official Facebook page, I liked it as well.  Never would I have thought to look up a race in Nowhere, KY to see if they had a Facebook page.

On the other side, seeing a massive company’s sponsored story is a waste of time.  I don’t need to see a Nike ad as a reminder they’re on Facebook.  I mean really, if I wanted to like Nike on Facebook I probably would have found them by now.

Now, Zuckerberg and friends will soon be merging toward ads with a more “social context.”  I like to hold off from giving my two cents until I actually see it in action, but if this involves friends with mutual interests I’m on board.  But that’s the key…MUTUAL INTERESTS.  I’m actually ok with marketers/Facebook tracking where I’m going on the internet so they have a better idea what my interests are.  I have nothing to hide, so go ahead…take a look!  I’d much prefer Red Sox related posts (big Sox fan over here) because they see I frequent redsox.com instead of sewing posts because one of my good friends loves to do that.

That’s it for now.  Stay warm!

Posted in Social Media Connection | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Media: There was, is and will never be a silver bullet


by @DavidAPortney

Our Facebook page is blowing up.  How much you ask?  Well, it took about four years to get the first 10,000 likes then another three months to get the next 14,600.  Keep in mind, we’ve done all of this without spending a single dollar on any social media advertising.  I’ll repeat that.  We’ve never spent a dime on direct social media advertising, and that’s something I’m very proud of.

So what’s been the secret my executive director wants to know, like I’ve kept some trick in my back pocket this entire time who’s just deciding right now to unleash the silver bullet.  What I tell her and my colleagues is that once a social media account develops a reputation as being one of the best in that industry (in this case volleyball), it’s only a matter of time until everyone feels they’re missing out if they don’t follow us.  We’ve continued to have steady growth then finally…everything clicked.

Thanks to a well-timed campaign with our partner Under Armour, the fall volleyball season entering the climax of their seasons and our annual convention just a month out, our social media accounts have become the go-to place for the latest in anything volleyball and coaching education related.  It’s also about taking that next step beyond your followers to create mass appeal and rope in new people.  For example, after that controversial call in Game 3 of the Red Sox-Cardinals World Series, I found an interesting connect to the world of volleyball:  “Should a call not often made on the court, be enforced to end one of the most critical matches you’ll play all year?  We had an excellent conversation about that topic bringing in perspectives of players, coaches, fans and even referees…all happening on our Facebook page.

The point being, even though there is no “silver bullet” to gaining 10,000 followers in a couple of months, it is important to THINK BIG and THINK BROAD.  Yes, we’re a volleyball coaches association, but I never post something ONLY relevant to volleyball coaches.  I want everyone in on the conversations we have.

I also don’t plan too much in advance.  We have set dates for certain sponsors, polls, players of the week and other things like that, but that adds up to just about half of the week’s posts.  The other half depends on how the week and day goes.  Who knows what’ll happen that day you might want to share only to be hamstrung by a pre-scheduled post.

Dave’s tip of the day:  Don’t pre-schedule your social media life.

So to wrap it up, there was, is and will never be a silver bullet to having great social media accounts with large amounts of followers and interactions.  If you’re keeping things fun, interesting, and timely then you’re on your way!

(image courtesy of wesdavenport.com)

Posted in Social Media Connection | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Top-5 improvements that need to be made on volleyball broadcasts


by @DavidAPortney

I’ve been working in volleyball for the last three years and in the media for the past decade, and I’m thrilled about the significant increase in TV coverage of the sport.  Thanks to regional and conference networks such as Fox Sports, the Big Ten Network and the Pac-12 Network, and national powerhouse ESPN, more coverage of this great sport is hitting a television screen near you.  I think we’re at a point where we can now take a look at the broadcasts themselves and see what we can do to make them even better.  Here are my top-5 ways to improve them:

1)  More end zone camera angles.  Volleyball may seem simple and straight-forward, but there is a ton of strategy that goes into every play.  The only way that can be appreciated is seeing the movement of the players from behind the net.  At the very minimum, this would be ideal for replays so the color analyst can telestrate the play by tracking the player and ball movement.  However, this angle would be great for live plays as well showed in real time game speed.  This wouldn’t be too popular because networks don’t like shooting through the net, but I think showing it live for 5-10 points per match would be beneficial.

2)  More replays.  In any sports broadcasts, it’s all about seeing the replay immediately after the play is completed.  They can be the aforementioned end zone angles or slow motion low angle for the fist pump “hero shot.” If each play has to be temporarily held up for another 5-10 seconds to give TV time to get out of the replay then so be it.  Too many times TV quickly cuts back to the server to see him or her bounce the ball five times to get ready.  That’s not something a viewing audience needs to see.

The television broadcast should come first.  Ever go to a football game and just wait and wait and wait as the players just stand on the field?  They’re waiting for TV to come back from timeouts or replays and no one complains about that, so why would they complain about a few extra seconds at a volleyball match?

3)  Volleyball education.  It’s tough to have the highest of quality broadcasts if not everyone is all too familiar with the sport of volleyball, most notably the play-by-play broadcaster and the camera people.  Having an understanding of the sport and being able to anticipate what will happen next goes a long way in calling and shooting it.  Why do you think the cameramen rarely get faked out on a play-action pass in football?  It’s because they’ve been watching the sport long enough to just be able to tell it was not going to be a run.  Finding these cameramen for volleyball broadcasts won’t be easy, but educating the ones in place is a must.  

It’s probably less important for a play-by-play broadcaster because the color analyst can carry that load, but the more they know the better.  If the PBP lacks strong volleyball knowledge then it’s imperative they make up for it in enthusiasm.  Just being excited can go a long way to grabbing and holding the viewer’s attention.

4)  Viewer education.  Time to flip the script and look at the viewer’s education of volleyball.  We can’t assume everyone who watches knows everything about volleyball, so the broadcast will have to play the role of teacher to some degree.  I think Karch Kiraly does the best I’ve seen of explaining what exactly is happening on the court without talking down to the audience.  Plus, he oozes credibility as the USA Women’s National Team Head Coach and widely regarded as one of the best volleyball players of all time.  It would be great to have short, 30 second-1 minute clips that feature the basics of the game, similar to what we see at the Little League World Series.  So keeping it simple and elementary for the viewing audience might keep them tuned in as they learn more.

5)  More human interest stories.  Just like any sport, volleyball has a ton of interesting back stories about the players and coaches, so it’d be nice to hear them once in awhile.  Especially in between the second and third sets where the station has about 10 minutes of time to fill, wouldn’t it be nice if they spent 2-3 minutes talking about one of the players?  Once the third set begins, the viewer will be looking out for that player because they now have a deeper connection with at least one person on that team.  This might require a team SID to feed stories to networks to make them aware, but I don’t think that’s something too difficult to do.

So what do you think?  What would you like to see with volleyball broadcasts, or if haven’t watched before, what would make you more likely to tune in?


(image courtesy of southland.org)

Posted in Social Media Connection | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nielsen using social media for ratings


by @DavidAPortney

I stumbled upon this article this week, and naturally went into full blown dork mode in excitement.  I won’t go into too much detail about the article, but it’s about time the media powers that be take into the account the conversation happening online is just as important, if not more important than the number of eyeballs on a television screen.

The problem with only measuring the eyeballs is that there’s no call to action.  Unless there’s a clever producer on a popular game show, nothing really prompts you to DO anything.  You simply sit on the couch then when the show is over the producers and advertisers hope and pray their ads had a last impact.

It will be interesting to see how this changes marketing and advertising of television programs and live sporting events moving forward.  The cost of traditional TV commercials might drop if Nielsen can prove that social media behavior is more influential.  What networks might lose in TV advertising they could gain (and then some) in social media advertising.  You might see more targeted and well thought out marketing campaigns in between and leading up to the air dates to build interest and momentum.

Of course once it’s over, people will inevitably share their thoughts and reactions using hash tags to spread their influence.  If a program can have a sponsored  hash tag that people will use without it being too “sales pitchy,” can you imagine how much money these networks will rake in?

Traditional television commercials are too much like “billboard advertising,” where sure you get eye balls, but who cares if you can’t measure its effectiveness?  It’s a hell of a lot easier to convince a superior to invest more in social media if you have the numbers to back it up, and that’s exactly what Nielsen is helping us do.

(image courtesy of http://www.engadget.com/)

Posted in Social Media Connection | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cube city vs. the field: what’s really the difference?


by @DavidAPortney

So I’ll stray a bit from my usual digital media blog to talk about a hot topic amongst professionals all ages, shapes, fields and industries:  cubicles.

Just uttering the word leads people to think of the image above of endless, boring and 9-5 punch the clock jobs that offer zero excitement and variety.  Most of you express your desire to break out of the cube and “into the field” without having a strong understanding of that lifestyle.  Well, prior to working in a cube for the last three years at the AVCA, I spent the previous two years working with various sports teams (Tri-City ValleyCats, New York Giants and Memphis Redbirds) where I had a desk, but spent the majority of time far, far from it.

This “grass is greener on the other side” phenomena leaves people dreaming, but I’ve lived it and I’m here to break down the three main differences between the two worlds:

(Note, this is a general breakdown of my personal experiences.  I understand there are always exceptions so don’t freak out on me.)

1)  Physical activity.  I’m not here to judge, but if you have a slew of health problems and/or are significantly overweight, you will physically have a difficult time performing your job.  While working for the Redbirds, during the game we were not allowed to use any of the elevators in the park, need I say more?  It didn’t matter if you were in sales, an intern, or the general manager…you had to use the stairs even if you were in the basement going to the third floor.  So if breaking a sweat and being on your feet for hours on end sounds daunting, it’s best to stick with the cube.

I know what some of you are thinking, “Dave you worked in sports so that’s skewing your opinion.  You work with jocks and other fit people who love sports.”  Fair point, but athletics are a multi-billion dollar industry that employs the most talented workers regardless of their athletic build just like in any other industry.  So the way I look at it, if my opinion is applicable to a multi-billion dollar industry then it’s applicable to any industry.

Compared to cube life:  It’s physically easier, which can be good and deadly.  Many studies show sitting for 8-9 hours per day is a key factor in causing depression, high blood pressure and other health issues, so if you are an active person you’ll have to change your lifestyle.  Once I got this desk job, I completely changed my diet and exercise habits because I no longer was able to burn it off running around at my job.

2)  Unorthodox hours.  This is probably the most underrated aspect of a non-desk job.  If your occupation takes you out of an office and into the field, odds are you’re not punching in at nine and out at five.  There were many evenings I wouldn’t make it home until 2AM just to be back in the office in five hours.  I’m not saying every day was like that, but it happens far more often than in traditional desk jobs.

The point being if you’re not passionate about the job this is the time it will be exposed.  You’ll realize you actually want to hang out with your friends on a regular basis, attend that yoga basics class on Thursday evenings and not have your off-day be a Tuesday when everyone’s at work.  For me, I loved my jobs and thought there was nothing better than hearing the crack of a wooden bat or the roar of a crowd be my “office.”  Spending many weekend nights working was a trade-off I was happy to make because I had a true passion for it.

Food for thought:  this would obviously be a struggle if you have a family.

Compared to cube life:  Simply put, you have the opportunity to actually have a life with a traditional desk job.  You don’t let your career define you as a person, and you live an active lifestyle once you pull out of the parking lot.  Eating dinner at a normal hour and seeing friends and family is all you!

I’ll take this time to remind everyone these thoughts aren’t one size fits all.  Obviously you can have a desk job that defines you as a person, which is fine, but I’m trying to speak to the masses here.

3)  Relationships with co-workers and clients.  When you live in cube city or have an office, it can be easy to stare at your computer all day, say “good morning” to your co-workers and that be enough to get through the day, but that won’t cut it in the field.  You will need the cooperation of everyone you work with in order to accomplish the task at hand…there are very few exceptions with this one.  I for one can’t think of one job that requires you to be out and about while also being completely on your own – even a door-to-door salesman needs to interact in order to do the job.  So if you are not a people-person and don’t work well with others, stick to the desk.

Compared to cube life:  I’m not saying this is necessarily an either-or point, but there are plenty of occupations that involve one person doing the job alone and those are at a desk.  There are obviously desk jobs that require teamwork, mine certainly is one of them, but ones that are not are few and far between in the field.

(image courtesy of www.rhinoden.com)

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment