CadChica’s SSM Digest: July 2013

July.

Dog days of summer in the sports-world. Not much happens in July, right?

Wimbledon, Aaron Hernandez, NBA & NHL & Twitter handle trades, Brad Stevens to the Celtics, Dwight Howard, Marshall Henderson, Manchester United, EA Sports, George Zimmerman verdict, UFC upset, MLB All-Star week, college football Media Days, Metta World Peace, Yasiel Puig, failed drug tests in track & field, British Open, Tiger & Phil, Olympic hockey returns, NFL & HGH testing closer to reality, athletes quit Twitter, PEDs & Biogenesis, Johnny Manziel…

Needless to say, fortunately or unfortunately,  there was no shortage of news in the sports/social media world.  Some good, some fun, and of course, some bad. We should have known. Really. We should have listened to Adam:

Oh well. 

After sorting through the abundance and the mess, in some cases, here is my Sports Social Media (SSM) Digest for July 2013. What is the SSM Digest? It’s my review of top sports-social media moments or even some under the moments from the past month. I’m doing things a bit different this month. In prior Digests, I broke down the month with a just a couple of key stories to start off. But, after going through this past month’s notes, I wanted to focus on the stories that stood out most to me. They may not be “top” moments to some, but they are very much a part of the sports-social media landscape.

***

When looking back at what transpired in sports-social media during July, one could almost call it the Instagram month. Teams, schools, and athletes all were drawn to the network in a variety of ways. Much like Twitter Takeovers are becoming the norm, Instagram (and Vine) is becoming a common social media engagement practice. Key word there is “engagement”. It’s not just to post pictures or videos. It’s to engage with one’s followers. Get them to respond. That’s “engagement”. Here’s a few examples I found from the past month:

MLB All-Star voting

Social media campaigns can be a great use of Instagram or Vine

Not a school, team or athlete, but a “speedway” gets into the Instagram scene too

We’ve also seen another side of athletes that often goes under-reported.

I cannot say it enough. Boston, you'll always be a part of who I am. #THANKYOUBOSTON

A post shared by The Truth (@paulpierce) on

Thank you #VotePence

A post shared by sfgiants (@sfgiants) on

Teams like the Miami Dolphins have created their own hashtag out of “Instagram”

The PGA Tour embraced Vine to recruit a social media team for a golf tournament

Not to be outdone, the San Diego Chargers created an Instagram contest/meet-up surrounding their training camp. I neglected to include this in my “#NFL Training Camps Go Social” post but it highlights what teams can do with it and benefit in the process (higher attendance). More on that story, here.

But, my favorite of all uses of Instagram or Vine? The Seattle Mariners, of course.  Absolutely no bias here. Griffey had one of the sweetest swings ever. No bias at all.

[NOTE: You can read more on Instagram’s explosion in sports content in this blog post from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s, Julie Dolak.]

***

I owe this story to my friend, Derrick Docket. Derrick is the “Assistant Commissioner of New Media” (per his Twitter bio) for the Missouri Valley Conference. Last year, Derrick ran a #MVCMascotMadness contest. Fans are passionate about their schools and their mascots so Derrick ran the contest again this year for the conference.

MVC Mascot MadnessRunning a voting contest like this, through Facebook, is not an easy task. I give Derrick props for doing it again this year. And it was the MVC’s contest that I thought of when I saw this earlier this month:

Mascot mania

Major League Baseball had its moment during All-Star week (more on that later). Minor League Baseball, who does have their own All-Star Game, is getting into the social media spirit running their own mascot contest.

Teams were active in trying to get fans to vote:

UnderArmour took notice:

Major League teams got involved too:

But there is one mascot (team) that took campaigning to an “interesting” level:

***

Since we’re talking baseball, I really wanted to point out the savviness of the Kansas City Royals social media team. This month they’ve been informative, engaging with play-by-plays and social media activities/contests and…

…they’re on top of what’s going on in pop culture.

***

That tweet, courtesy of the New York Yankees, took place during the All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York. Playing at the home of the Mets, Mariano Rivera made an 8th inning appearance and performed as you would expect. Perfectly.

With Rivera having announced that this was his last year, there was some buzz during the game about Rivera not being saved for the 9th inning, but American League manager, Jim Leyland, wanted to ensure Rivera pitched in the game so he’d have a moment like this:

What’s been his secret to success?

A side benefit to Rivera’s retirement, aside from him never pitching against “our” teams again, is seeing how Rivera is being honored as well as how Rivera is honoring one person at each of his final stops this season.

***

OTHER TOP SSM MOMENTS:

July 1: Serena Williams. It seemed as if the ‘stars were aligning’ for Williams to win another Grand Slam event. It just wasn’t meant to be.

*

The uniqueness of Twitter never ceases to amaze me. In what was described by many as the first of its kind, a Twitter trade went down between Syracuse and Stanford. The two universities made the trade for the @SUAthletics Twitter handle. Both use “SU” as abbreviations so it was a natural fit. Stanford traded the @SUAthletics handle for “…a collection of local goods to be named later but also including one case of oranges, which Stanford intends to use in refilling its 2011 Orange Bowl trophy.” The original “press release” (yes, there was a press release) has since been deleted by Stanford.

July 2: The University of Michigan football Twitter account went private with much success.

July 5, 9: Dwight Howard. Love him or hate him, Howard was the dominant story on this day. Despite Steve Nash’s best efforts to get Howard to re-sign with the Lakers,

Howard signed with a team in Texas. No, not you guys, Dirk (tweeted July 9th):

The Houston Rockets. His TweetLonger tweet announcing his choice:

Dwight Howard tweet

*

Thankfully, this day also provided some early morning classic tennis.

2 days later, Andy Murray would end the long drought for England in men’s tennis. Murray would go on to defeat Novak Djokovic, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. Yes, we could recall what people said about his victory, and Wimbledon too for that matter…

…but I’d rather watch this.

July 15-16: The hoopla that is the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is a signal to many that not only are we half-way through the baseball season but we are half-way through the summer. Ick, I know. We soldier on as best as we can in the social media world. If, for no other reason, we can see the next generation of tweets like this:

A live-stream within a tweet? Are you serious? Forget the #HRDerby. Forget Rivera. Forget the game. That right there could be a game-changer.

July 17-are they still going on ?: College football is right around the corner. No better indication of that than Media Days. Leading off in all their pomp & grandeur, the behemoth that is known as SEC Media Days.

July 21: Phil, Phil, Phil. Good Phil showed up at The British Open. Calling it “greatest accomplishment” of his career, Mickelson shot a 66 at Muirfield to win the Claret Jug.

July 22: It was about this time in the month that I about threw my hands up in the air and said ‘ENOUGH’! Media Days were still going on, of course, but that wasn’t even the most dominant sports story. Neither was the announcement of countries’ Olympic hockey coaches (let’s not get into the divisional name changes). Nor was it the trouble for Middle-Tennessee State football players. The topic of conversation that took over this day and has been discussed, ad nauseam since then, is none other than PEDs.

We’re getting closer to HGH testing in the NFL. Baseball, however,

Even the Green Bay Packers’ star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, found himself caught up in it:

When I typed that I said ‘ENOUGH’, I meant it. It’s been a hot topic since this day. How do I know this? This was just tweeted on July 31st.

***

FINAL THOUGHTS: Let me end there. We turned/swiped the page in our calendars to August. PEDs are still hanging over baseball. Alex Rodriguez’ fate in the Biogenesis scandal should be known in the next few days. Drug suspensions were prevalent in Track & Field too. This late month drug talk didn’t allow me to even get to the US Men’s National Team winning the Gold Cup (soccer). Please don’t get me started on anything related to Johnny Manziel (Lord help him). NASCAR/auto racing had some neat things go on too in social media.

And therein lies the challenge. Not even your major networks or websites can keep up on all of it. This is a 24/7 job. Social media doesn’t sleep. The negative outweighed the positive at the end of July. As such, I’d like to end on some positive notes:

***

CadChica Sports

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s