Red, Red and Football All Over

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The field is red.

Get over it.

It’s red. It’s called The Inferno. And it is the home of Eastern Washington University’s Eagles football team at Roos Field. Roos as in Michael Roos, longtime star offensive lineman for the Tennessee Titans.

Eastern Washington plays in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). They are a perennial powerhouse in the Big Sky Conference and in all FCS. Ranked either #1 or 2 in FCS preseason polls, the Eagles had the privilege of opening the college football season against another powerhouse, Sam Houston State. Not just FCS level football. ALL of college football started in Cheney, WA on Saturday.

The Eagles have lost to the Bearkats each of the last two years. Last year, they lost early in late September. In 2012, the Bearkats came out on top in the semi-finals of the FCS playoffs. To say that this was a revenge game might be an overstatement, considering it was the season opener for both teams. But, those losses weren’t too far from the Eagles minds after their 56-35 win today.

“They kicked our butts last year. We were ready to get after it this year. For us to be able to answer back, we got down 21-14 and gave up a pick-six and two consecutive long touchdowns and still be able to win, that says a lot about the type of character we have,” said Tevin McDonald, senior defensive back.

“It means something. They’ve had our number. It means something nationally (for seeding later),” said Coach Beau Baldwin.

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Despite the pick-six, junior quarterback Vernon Adams went 26-48 for 302 yards and 4 touchdowns. Seven of Adams’ passes found one of his favorite targets from last year, Cooper Kupp (7 receptions, 62 yards, 1 touchdown). Adams also rushed for 76 yards on 12 attempts. The two teams combined for over 1100 yards of total offense. Adding to the not-the-defense’s day department: EWU and SHSU ran 185 offensive plays combined with 60 first downs.

As the college football opener, ESPN was on hand to kick things off. Not ESPN2, ESPNews or ESPNU. It was the mothership itself, ESPN, in town for the first time. Their presence enabled Eastern Washington to have a sell-out crowd on hand in a sea of red – before school has even started and students are back on campus, it was a sell-out. Coach Baldwin added, “That whole red-out deal, I noticed it. We feed off that (energy). We knew we were the one game. That probably caused some of the jitters and near-misses early.”

Red on the field and red in the stands. All that red brought out a variety of comments on Twitter.

Red field

 

No matter how you feel about the red turf, college football is back, baby! And it all started in a little town in Eastern Washington.

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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.

#MyDraftDay G+ Follow-Up

Any time you try something new, there will be rewards and challenges. But, trying something new in social media centered around the NFL Draft? Well, that almost seems crazy!

Crazy, or perhaps, crazily innovative.

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Last month, I told you about multiple Google+ Hangouts On Air that would be centered around the NFL Draft. These weren’t your ordinary media-based Hangouts. These were ones with recently selected NFL Draft picks.

At the time, I was extremely intrigued. I am a believer in Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA). Their potential in the sports space, especially for athletes, is huge. I host my own HOA shows and have seen how it takes social media connecting to the next level. It’s one thing to communicate in words on Facebook and Twitter or pictures and video on Instagram or Vine. It’s another thing to do so face-to-face, albeit via video.

I did, however, wonder how it would work as a live-event showcase.

Final result? Well, you decide.

The logistics of trying to hold HOAs around a live-event were enormous. Technology requirements are one thing. But, imagine trying to host a press-conference via video immediately after a player was selected. Challenging.

My perspective on the challenges faced:

  • Start time: The nature of the draft dictated start times. Some players who didn’t get drafted that were scheduled to have a Hangout On Air, did not get the opportunity to do so.
  • Connectivity issues: Bandwidth issues can be a problem with HOAs. Poor bandwidth can cause grainy/pixelated video which can be a turn-off for viewers. 
  • Distribution: I did my best to promote the HOAs, but I’m not on the level of a Sports Illustrated, SB Nation or Bleacher Report. Although many national media were advised ahead of time about the HOAs, few took advantage of the opportunity to join in. They missed out on the chance to connect with these players who could very well be future stars. Was it a disconnect by the media or something on Google’s side? I cannot answer that question.

Despite the issues faced, Google was pleased with the overall results. Google’s Sports Partnership Manager, Max Goldstein, said, “It was exciting. We’ve never seen that much first person perspective around a major sporting event before.”

Although several players did not get drafted or weren’t drafted where they were expected to, Google still made it possible for some of them to have their Hangout.

MyDraftDay

I asked Goldstein what feedback Google received from the NFLPA, their partner in this venture. According to Goldstein, the NFLPA was pleased. “They loved it. The players loved it. They love talking to people. Guys want to do Hangouts. We’ll see how it translates going into the season. They see the value in it.”

What’s next? Goldstein said there are sports opportunities on the horizon that Google may be looking at getting involved in. What Google did with the #MyDraftDay Hangouts was “a step in the right direction”, according to Goldstein.

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MY FINAL THOUGHTS: First, let me say, I applaud Google and the NFLPA for their efforts. Make no mistake. This wasn’t Google’s first venture with HOAs in sports. There are people in the sports-social media space who haven’t fully grasped what Google is doing on G+ in sports. For them, it’s all Twitter, all of the time. They think it’s something new for Google. But, it’s not. HOAs of this magnitude, however, that’s different. 

This was a learning experience for Google and its social media platform Google+. Media distribution, key sporting events and technology will be vital to helping these grow. But, I think the biggest key will be buy-in from athletes and their representatives.

Will it be a certain athlete to bring HOAs more into the mainstream? Perhaps. The opportunities are there for HOAs in sports. Whether it’s a weekly show like mine or a special event, I can see athletes taking advantage of this new way to connect with fans. The savvy ones will also see the potential for monetization, depending on how Google’s Shoppable Hangouts beta-testing pans out. 

G+ mydraftday post image

I get the feeling this isn’t the last time we’ll see HOAs centered around a sporting event. If players loved it like Goldstein said, they and their representatives may be willing to give it a shot more than others in the sports space. Google+ is growing. With efforts like this in the sports space, Google could be leading us into a very different future in sports and social media. I’m looking forward to the future of Hangouts On Air in the sports space.

You know I’ll be there to cover it.

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Stay in the loop on all of my latest Tuesday Ten shows, SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel here

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 Called – Let’s Do A Hangout

When Google comes calling, you answer.

Thursday night, I took part in a Google+ Hangout with two potential NFL Draft picks, Brandin Cooks (Oregon State) and Terrance Mitchell (Oregon). It was easy to see that the connection Cooks and Mitchell had with each other goes way back to their high school days. There was a respect and camaraderie despite their school rivalry in the Pac-12 Conference. We were able to touch on a variety of topics from their rivalry to NFL Draft prep to social media and more.

Below is the time stamp for our conversation (clickable links). Or, you can watch the entire video below as well.

  • 0:53Brandin and Terrance share their thoughts on the Oregon State-Oregon rivalry in the Civil War Game (CWG) and the Platypus Trophy.
  • 1:43Civil War Game atmosphere, crazy stunts
  • 2:58Trash talking during CWG – next level?
  • 4:08Cooks or Mitchell? Better trash talker? (Battling each other)
  • 5:21Cooks and Mitchell describe one another’s greatest strength
  • 6:42Discussing how their respective programs helped prepare them for the NFL
  • 9:18How they’ve been getting ready for the Combine, pro days, team workouts and the draft
  • 12:35What’s next?
  • 13:40NFL Draft Day threads
  • 15:37Their take on social media, the athlete-fan relationship and teaching others (Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Instagram)
  • 19:40Are they gamers? Silly question.
  • 22:01One question for each other.

My thanks to Google, Brandin Cooks, Terrance Mitchell and The Novo Agency for letting me be a part of this fun Hangout. I wish all the best to Brandin and Terrance as they pursue their NFL dreams. I’ll be looking for them on the field…and perhaps in some magazines too.

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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.

BCS Championship: What I Saw…Socially

Good night, BCS.

The much-maligned Bowl Championship Series is now history. Tonight, we saw the final BCS Championship game between the Auburn Tigers and Florida State Seminoles. What a game it was! Florida State down for much of the game for the first time all season wins it with a late TD, 34-31. Congratulations to the Seminoles.

Earlier today, I wrote a social media-sports (#SMsports) post called, “BCS Championship: What I’m Watching For…Socially“. Although I did watch the game (thanks to the ESPN BCS Megacast), I was also monitoring the social media scene for the two schools (teams) on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and any other applicable social network. I hadn’t intended to monitor as closely as I did, but it was well-received on Twitter that I continued sharing the data below.

1st Quarter

Halftime

3rd Quarter

End of Game

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As someone who is math challenged and a perfectionist, I had to double-check my math skills (if I still made one, don’t tell me). Mistakes are easy to make when you’re in the moment so it’s a good idea to re-check your work. Sticking with the parameters of in-game social media activity only (after kickoff through 0:00 on the clock), the final breakdown is as follows [I allowed a bit of extra time for each team’s final game-tweet]:

Auburn Tigers

@FootballAU = 45 tweets

Top tweet

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FootballAU = 3 actual Facebook posts, 7 photos

Top post

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auathletics Instagram = 0 pictures

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Auburn Athletics YouTube = 2 videos posted

Top video

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Florida State Seminoles

@FSU_Football = 56 tweets

Top tweet

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FSUFootball = 4 posts

Top post (same as Twitter)

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fsufootball Instagram = 0 pictures

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FLStateSeminoles You Tube = 0 videos

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OTHER NOTES

I didn’t see these numbers tweeted out by Twitter officially, but they are worth sharing. Does Twitter have an email list I don’t know about?

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Pinterest? Both teams are on there. The schools could have created BCS Championship-specific boards, but no. They opted for the requisite website photo galleries: FSU, Auburn. Auburn tweeted this same picture at 9:11 pm PT and it now makes its way to their website:

AuburnTigers.com   Official Athletics Site of the Auburn Tigers

Florida State has this on their splash page:

FSU Splash

I’ll give Florida State credit for using their Google+ page this week. But, as I write this, the Seminoles’ Facebook cover photo still shows this:

FSU FB page

On another note, it was fun checking Topsy during the game. While it’s not as detailed as I would like given that I’ve used their Pro version, Topsy came through in a pinch. Here are what I feel were the top terms over the past day:

jameis

*Topsy Auburn

*Topsy FSU

*Topsy Mason

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Thankfully, I had a bit of fun with Topsy too:

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FINAL THOUGHTS: I don’t know the resources or strategy of either program. However, for two large universities like Auburn and FSU, I expected more. Not necessarily more tweets because the tweets were fine. I’m thinking along the lines of visual content. ZERO Instagram posts during the game? Surely someone from the athletic department was on the sideline and could have taken pictures from on the field or go into the stands where fans are and take fan pictures.

Were there restrictions that we aren’t aware of? If so, I’ll change my stance. Same, if the staffs were undersized for such an event. But, you’re Florida State and Auburn. ACC and SEC, respectively. Less than a handful of Facebook posts too? That type of activity doesn’t bode well for Facebook’s desire to be an in-event place for people to chat, does it (that’s a post for another day)?

Maybe my expectations were too high. I’ve seen great content from teams this season. Infographics became a growing trend for schools – not a single one tonight that I could see. Just like their football teams, athletic/digital/social departments for these two schools had a month to plan a social media strategy for this game. Unless there were restrictions placed on what they could do, all I see is a missed opportunity.

Tell me your thoughts. What did you think of each school’s social media efforts? Were there restrictions I didn’t know about? Could they have done more? If so, what more did you want to see? Let me know either in the comments below or on Twitter. 

Could have been worse:

Regardless, it was a fitting way to end the BCS era. Here’s hoping the playoffs can bring us similar excitement in college football. Until then,

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CadChica Sports

BCS Championship: What I’m Watching For…Socially

As ESPN shared above (on Facebook), tonight is the night. The night we find out who is the best team in college football. Who will it be: Auburn Tigers or Florida State Seminoles?

As someone who has no rooting interest, I simply root for a good game. In the past week, we’ve seen some high quality football (high scoring) in both college and the NFL. That said, I’ll be watching for what goes on off the field. I want to see what the teams do socially.

Over the weekend, I tried to watch what teams at both levels were doing from a social media standpoint. Sunday, I had more time to devote to seeing what NFL teams did on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ than I did on Saturday.Turns out I wasn’t the only one.

From a content perspective, Twitter, as we all know, is king on game days. Even when a team isn’t playing, it’s good to share content that fans love. When it’s a homecoming after a big playoff win, even better.

But, there are things teams can do on game day that are platform-specific to provide to fans. While the San Francisco 49ers had more content on Instagram, I like that the Green Bay Packers had both photos and (at least one) video on their page (first seven images below).

packers on Instagram

Like Stephen noted above, the Bengals did not take advantage of their time in the spotlight by only adding one photo on Instagram. The San Diego Chargers provided four – all in-game updates after each quarter. Not overly impressive to me.

As for Facebook, a few posts by each team here and there was the standard. Posts like this one:

Simple and effective to the tune of 13k likes. Only 26 shares, but still decent enough content.

I included Google+ in my observations for two reasons. One, I expect that platform to grow this year so it’s important for me to understand how it’s being used in sports. Social media is more than just Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. Google+ is very much in the conversation. From my time on there, I’ve been relatively disappointed. What I see on Google+ is often what I see on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Exhibit A from the 49ers: 

Google+

49ers G+

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Harbaugh: "He's Kaepernick tough." #QuestForSix

A post shared by San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) on

I think I’d almost prefer what the Bengals have done which is not use Google+ since February 2012 than see the same post on all platforms. Every so often is fine, but not every post.   

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What will we see tonight in terms of social? Will the Auburn and Florida State see the type of engagement that Oklahoma did for the Sugar Bowl? Check these numbers out provided by Andrew Lentz, Assistant Director of Digital Media for the Sooner Athletic Department. I tweeted a question, he answered:

Both schools have shared a great deal on their social media platforms leading up to the game. Today, however, only one post by each on Instagram as of post time. No posts on FSU football’s Facebook page (there is on their Athletic Department’s page), while Auburn football has been fairly active today. [Added: Just noticed this Google+ post by Florida State Athletics for a G+ Hangout on Saturday. Nicely done.]

You can access all of Auburn and FSU’s social media connection through their website links:

Florida Statehttp://www.seminoles.com/multimedia/socialmedia.html

Auburnhttp://www.auburntigers.com/socialmedia/

Their football teams will leave it all out on the field. Will their social media teams do the same? Good luck to both and here’s hoping for a great game on and off the field.

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CadChica Sports

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn – http://bit.ly/1bB24AY

2013 SSM Digest

Kobe Bryant and Maria Sharapova.

No, they’re not a new sports power-couple. Bryant and Sharapova were the subjects in my very first SSM Digest back in January. I started the SSM Digest to track the hottest topics in the social media-sports (#SMsports) world. Nobody that I knew of was doing anything of the sort. I set out to catalogue the latest happenings in #SMsports each month.

It all started with Kobe and Maria.

Note: Each month listed below is a hyperlink to that month’s SSM Digest

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January 2013

I said back then:

Time will tell if this proves to be a winning strategy for either Sharapova or Bryant.  I am, by no means, not one who focuses solely on Twitter followers. The fact that you can “buy followers” proves that those numbers can be skewed. Add in the fact that there are people who follow others just to “gain followers” (think people with relatively equal numbers of followers and following), numbers can be deceiving. But the way Bryant has used Twitter to engage, proves that he’s well on his way to “getting it”.

That first tweet from Bryant has been retweeted over 50 thousand times. Sharapova’s, 2600+ times. Again, I’m not one to focus just on one’s Twitter follower numbers, but Kobe has 3.9 million followers compared to Maria’s over 700 thousand. Both have only tweeted in the 600 range for number of tweets sent. Sharapova follows 40 people while Kobe at least follows 852.

Safe to say that the Black Mamba gets the edge over Sugarpova.

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February 2013

February was a very interesting month for me. I decided to do something that to my knowledge had not been done before. I “watched” the Super Bowl through Twitter. No television. No radio. Just Twitter.

Seriously. As much as Twitter had become embedded in the sports lexicon by early 2013, I figured it could be done. I wanted to see how well I could follow a game just through Twitter. Every play. Every questionable call. Blackout. GIFs. Replays. Varying perspectives. I got it through Twitter alone. My little Twitter experiment can be read here.

I said back then:

I am able to see conversations transpiring across a wide range of mediums. I try to be in tune to all sports on Twitter. It helps me to get a vibe for how people are viewing their sport, or, in the case of a sporting event like the Super Bowl, how they perceive it. Thus, it provided all the insight I needed to know as to how the game played out.

While the Super Bowl was the biggest story, we also had National Signing Day drama,

Danica Patrick leading a lap at Daytona, death of Dr. Jerry Buss, Richard Sherman-Darrelle Revis war of words plus a multitude of other sporting events including college basketball that I could not mention. Most memorable? This terrifying crash at a Nationwide race.

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March 2013

Sports had a case of the madness. March Madness, that is.

I said back then:

Many think of madness as simply the NCAA tournament. But it is so much more than that. Teams vying for conference titles down the stretch of the regular season generated some great games like the Michigan-Indiana game on March 10th. Or perhaps it was the surprising #1 ranking for Gonzaga.

Before we get to the madness, a word from Phil

Ha! A Zen language we don’t know about? *Sigh, no.* It was funny at first but it was simply for “promotion”.

March also brought us a posterization (Brandon Knight), Tiger-Vonn coupling, #RandomActsOfOpeningDay, sports reacting to a new Pope and a potential hoops scandal too. But we all know what March was really about this year, right?

DUNK CITY!!!!!!!!!!

Aww, yeah! Dunk City babyyyyy! Florida Gulf Coast took the NCAA tournament by storm with upsets and dunks and just playground style basketball. Not everyone liked their show, but it sure made for a fun Cinderella run.

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April 2013

Scandals, the Final Four, Kobe Bryant injury, Jason Collins coming out, NFL draft. All transpired during April. Only one stood out to me:

I said back then:

Social media, particularly Twitter, was the go-to resource for news. This is both a good and bad thing. The vast amount of information provided an exorbitant amount of factual news as well as rumors, instantly. Access to the Boston police scanners on the internet, to a certain extent, made matters worse for law enforcement.

Upon reflection, many tweets and posts showed how people felt about the tragedy and its aftermath. Contrast what transpired in the social media realm with the event itself. We wanted instant knowledge, instant justice. Instant, instant, instant.

But the event itself is not about instant. Pardon the cliché, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about endurance. It’s about venturing forward when everything within tells you not to.

Marathon. Endurance. Forward.

Viewed over 2.5 million times:

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May 2013

Gotta get to the playoffs. That’s what the NBA and NHL did in May. On the ice, do you remember this hit (viewed over 2 million times)?

Off the court, the Oklahoma City Thunder and others came through when their fans needed them most

In David Stern’s court: Seattle-Sacramento. Sacramento-Seattle. Who would get to call the Kings their own?

I said then:

For as much flux as the Kings were in under the Maloof ownership for the last few years, it seemed inevitable that with David Stern as commissioner, the Seattle group led by Chris Hansen had no chance of completing the purchase of the Sacramento franchise.

On the court? Well, close to the court at least.

Sure the games were entertaining. The NBA and its teams stepped up their social media game, led by the Golden State Warriors. Horse racing and Brad Keselowski made news. Super Bowl L too.

Ahh, yes. The biggest worldwide news of all? The pitch:

Do you remember this sports moment from May?

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June 2013

I said then:

Did anyone ever tell you that June is the best month of the year?

No? They should have. It truly is. Two world champions crowned. A golf major won. One tennis major completed while another begins. The final collegiate sports championship earned. The last of the triple crown in horse racing run. USA Soccer shining after rocky start to World Cup qualifying. Athlete arrests, auto racing tragedies, my show cancelled, controversial comment/tweets bring firings in college and media, I got another year older and…

Okay, I’m a little biased. June was a month for the ages in sports.

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Odin Lloyd's sister's Facebook*

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Triumph, tragedy, stupidity and my show cancellation. On second thought, maybe this past June wasn’t the best month after all.

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July 2013

I said then:

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…

If ever a month proved there is no off switch for sports, July was it. Constant. 24/7/365 – sports news in the social media world rolled on. In the social media realm itself, creative uses for Instagram and Vine were on display

One team even used Instagram for a meet-up (as opposed to “tweet-ups”).

A sign of things to come? MLB leading the way with a live-stream in a tweet during the Home Run Derby

There simply was a bounty of stories in July including Andy Murray ending the drought (my favorite take on it below)

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August 2013

Dempsey and Johnny and Chipper..oh my!

In the early days of my Twitter life (I should hashtag that #MyTwitterLife), I wasn’t afraid to let my fandom show. That was before the sports masses jumped on board. In today’s Twitter (#TodaysTwitter), with the volume of people using it for sports, you have to be more careful about showing your fandom. Some may disagree with that, but I believe it is necessary for those in media.

My caveat to that, however, is when one of my teams do something good or positive. BIG caveat is the Seattle Sounders.

It really was an innocent hashtag, #DempseyWatch. Every so often in the Twitterverse, hashtags take on a life of their own. It helps when…

If not hashtags, well, stories too can take on a life of their own. And when your name is Johnny Manziel, the spotlight can amplify every little move you make. 

I said then:

The Manziel saga, because that is what it’s become now, dragged on through the month. In the end, Manziel would be suspended for a half in the Aggies’ home opener against Rice.

He’d go on to make even more news on August 31 with some of his on-field actions during the game.

Every brand has to needs a presence somewhere in the sports-social media world, right? Dempsey and Manziel have theirs. Chipper Jones (Atlanta Braves) has…no, had…wait…has (again) his. (Jones rejoined the Twitterverse on September 9th.)

Sometimes, brands have to go big or go home. In the U.S. Open’s case, they chose the former option.

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September 2013

Welcome back, NFL and college football. You made my job curating these SSM Digest much harder with your return.

I said then:

This month, due to the sheer volume of items to track, I’m changing the structure to this month’s digest. Less input from me and more of the stories, images and videos that crossed our timelines in sports-social media. The biggest stories lead us off followed by a few of the images that grabbed my attention, followed by some daily sports-social media news.

I changed the structure of my digest due to “sheer volume”. Football, baseball, soccer, NASCAR, tennis proved quite challenging to track everything. It all begins though, with football.

Despite separate litigation issues hanging over their heads, the NFL and NCAA football came back with a vengeance. Most days/weeks, you could find trending topics on Google or Twitter included something related to those two sports. But, there was one other sport that captured the attention of another type of football fan around the world.

Football has an iconic place in American culture. Two other sports icons were part of September news too.

Okay, this isn’t iconic, but I couldn’t resist adding to my year end post

What’s a year-end post without an “own goal”?

Side note: Check out my “Fun with Topsy Search” post reviewing the first time popular hashtags were used according to Topsy.

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October 2013

Get your game face on, October!

We welcomed back hockey and bid adieu to baseball. And, we also said “thanks”. Wait! No we didn’t. We said, “you’re welcome”. Well, U.S. Soccer did:

I said then:

Mexico survived to play another World Cup day thanks to a last-minute flurry by the USA in their 3-2 victory over Panama. The U.S. victory enabled Mexico to solidify that final World Cup qualifying spot. That Mexico needed a U.S. victory to qualify was not lost on fans of both teams, nor the official U.S. Soccer account. Expect to see that tweet on most end-of-the-year Top 10 lists.

With over 83 thousand retweets and 31 thousand favorites, I do expect it to at least be in the Top 10 of Top Tweets for 2013.

One of the top stories in baseball, aside from the Red Sox winning the World Series (and Facebook)

…had to be the Pittsburgh Pirates. Back in the postseason after 21 years (Roberto Clemente’s number), the Pirates, their city and their social media were a joy to watch.

Another team’s social media that is a joy to watch has to be the Golden State Warriors. Their team is embracing the social media outlets they use with passionate innovation (#passionateinnovation). Innovation like this G+ Hangout called #WarriorsLive:

Also innovating this month were the New Orleans Saints becoming the first NFL team with a Snapchat account and the Tampa Bay Lightning freezing their Instagram account (a first).

Innovators in their own right, we lost two football legends in October.

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2013 was a professional roller coaster. Starting the year with two jobs and by summer’s end I was jobless. Until November. My new job with Sportsmanias meant less time for writing up my monthly digest. Abandonment was not on my mind. As the year was drawing to a close, I had the idea to create this year-end digest instead. Although I have no links for November and December Digests, I did curate content that helped shape their storylines.

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November 2013

Welcome, November. The month where hockey players grow their mustaches and beards to their heart’s content. Movember arrived. No shaving allowed.

#Movember update - mustaches as of Nov. 7. #GoBucks

A post shared by Ohio State Men's Hockey (@ohiostate_mhky) on

Also not allowed? One of the more bizarre stories occurred between two Dolphins players, Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. 

The story itself was fluid all month-long Even to this day, the situation has still not been resolved. Just another in a long line of off the field stories the NFL didn’t need. Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter summed it up:

As the NFL world changed…constantly, one sports returned to “normalcy” (think six-pack), despite what flows from Donovan McNabb’s mouth.

Was definitely worth the blue Gatorade shower to grab this video...

A post shared by Josh Hamilton (@joshahamilton) on

Not normal? On second though, maybe this is normal…for Alex.

Apologies for not touching on amazing NFL games, college basketball, college football, soccer, #SFBatKid, Veterans Day celebrations, Thanksgiving, WWE, NBA, women in sports, Google Glass, YouTube videos, MLB awards, Twitter and the Phoenix Suns and so on and so forth. Suffice to say November did not disappoint. Especially when you have Minnesota Golden Gophers Head Coach, Jerry Kill, dancing upon his return from his health hiatus. Go Jerry!

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December 2013

Coaching changes.

Coaches in trouble.

Free agent signings.

The final BCS Championship game.

World Cup test draw

And…a now-deleted penis tweet (saved via the beauty of Twitter).

Whew! That’s plenty, but December isn’t even done yet. We have the college bowl games, Liga MX final, NFL season wind-down, NBA digging in to their holiday season and am I missing anything?

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There is much to reflect upon in social media-sports. 2013 was a huge year. Fans engaged on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, G+ more than ever in social media. Unfortunately, not always in a positive way.

We saw a rise in Infographics and GoPro/Google Glass videos, more specialized apps, creative team promotions, heightened social-television relationship and more.

Professionally, I have “met” some amazing people in the sports media/sports biz world through Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Social media in 2013 made the world a little smaller for me in sports. Knowledge is a precious commodity. I’ve learned more this year via my “friends” about journalism, marketing, business and yes, social media despite my lack of a college degree. Although I do like to say I have a degree in Common Sense from the School of Hard Knocks at the University of Life. But, I’m still learning. Social media is a great teacher, beyond just Twitter.

As for 2014, I don’t know that we’re fully prepared for what 2014 will bring in social media-sports. I expect there are things to come that we haven’t given a thought to yet in terms of creativity, platforms, or even tools. The actual sports stories, oh my, I can’t even imagine what we will see, especially withe the Olympics and World Cup in our future. Sounds exciting.

But, before I close, in reviewing this past year’s content, there is one photo that captured my heart and I wanted to make sure I shared it with you. I’m always looking for the good in sports and this is perfect:

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CadChica Sports

Resiliency Rules the Day for EWU in 42-41 Win

EWU ROTC member holding the flag with other ROTC and military veterans on Military Appreciation Day

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Junior EWU cheerleaders cheering on the Eagles.

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Resilient.

If there were one word to describe Eastern Washington’s football team tonight, resilient would be it. What else could you call a team that was out-rushed (PSU – 193 net yards, EWU – 71), out-gained in total yards (PSU – 603, EWU – 528), was continually kept off-balance by a gritty Portland State Viking offense all night long and win 42-41?

Resilient.

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Portland State came into the game with a solid game plan. Balanced play calling mixed with an assortment of trick plays kept the Eagles defense on their heels throughout the game. On defense, the Vikings collapsed the pocket often enough forcing Eagles’ quarterback, Vernon Adams into multiple scrambles, two interceptions and five sacks, one of which was an 11-yard loss.

It didn’t start out that way. Each team punted on their first possessions of the game. In fact, EWU forced three straight PSU punts to open the game. The Eagles took their second possession 81 yards in 7 plays for the early 7-0 lead. That drive took only 1:25. A seemingly routine Eastern start to the game, right? Wrong.

Portland State fought back to take a 21-7 lead going into halftime. The Vikings would outgain the Eagles 267-146 in total yards for the half, running 45 plays to the Eagles’ 31. By halftime, PSU had 14 first downs, 132 yards rushing and 135 yards passing. For their part, EWU would end the half with three punts, a fumble and an interception. PSU’s balance staked them to a 21-7 halftime lead.

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As great teams are wont to do, they make adjust. Eastern certainly made some adjustments after halftime as they came out on fire,  scoring on two of their first three second half possessions. Portland State started the half with a punt and an interception.

The Vikings had the ball to start the fourth quarter with the game tied at 21. Portland State reverted back to what had helped them get their lead in the first place: balance. An 11-play, 75 yard methodical drive put PSU up, 28-21. Forcing a Vernon Adams interception on defense, the Vikings took over on the EWU 46, aided by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. A big 33-yard pass to 6’6″ junior wide receiver, Victor Dean, put the PSU ball at the EWU 13. It seemed as though Portland State was on its way to a huge 14-point lead.

A critical offensive pass interference forced the Vikings back to the 28. The resulting field goal attempt, a 45-yarder, would go wide right, leaving the score at 28-21 for PSU. Even a 10-point lead against the #3-ranked Eagles in the fourth quarter could have changed the mindset for the rest of the game. 

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Then again, I did say this EWU team was resilient didn’t I? Eastern responded to that missed field goal with a 9-play, 72 yard touchdown drive that took only 2:51 off the clock.

After an exchange of punts by the two teams, Portland State would put together a 3-play, 52-yard drive for a 35-28 lead. The next four possessions by the teams were unmemorable: punt, interception, fumble, punt. What happened next, however, was quite memorable.

Just over two minutes left to go in the game, three touchdowns would be scored. THREE IN TWO MINUTES!! 

EWU: 4 plays, 48 yards in 38 seconds to tie the game at 35. PSU: 6 plays, 84 yards in 37 seconds to take the lead.

However…

The point-after was missed by PSU’s Marcus Kinsella. With that miss, you could feel hope rising at Roos Field. Every time Portland State would take the lead in this game, Eastern would crawl back to tie and stay in the game. That PAT miss gave the Eagles that sliver of hope to win it in regulation, if only…

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A 25-yard pass to Cooper Kupp. A 34-yard pass to Kendrick Bourne. And finally, a 15-yard pass to freshman Kupp for the Eastern Washington touchdown. EWU kicker Kevin Miller had no trouble  with his PAT and Eastern Washington finally had the lead again, 42-41. A valiant 5-play, 59-yard last-ditch drive by the Vikings would end on their own 41 to end the game.

“It was one of those deals where our guys just had to settle down a little bit offensively. I knew they (PSU) were a good team. They’ve won six games. They probably should have beat Cal in the Pac-12. It’s a good team with a lot of talent. But, our guys didn’t panic”,  Coach Beau Baldwin said. On being Big Sky champs, “It’s awesome. We’ve never been undefeated in this conference. I just attribute it to the assistant coaches, the players, administration, equipment, trainers – there’s a lot of people a part of it. I’m happy for everyone involved.” 

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Currently ranked #3 in the FCS Coaches Poll, the Eagles could be one of the top four seeds in the FCS playoffs. The Selection Show is tomorrow morning with the top four seeds announced after 8 am PT with the rest of the pairings announced starting at 8:30 am PT, according to EWU Athletics. EWU will have next weekend off. That will be plenty of time to recover from the grinding of this win.

The rest of the FCS knows how good Eastern Washington can be. After this win, they know just how resilient they can be too.

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Records Set (via Eastern Washington Athletics)

  • Vernon Adams: broke school season records for passing yards (was 4,009) and total offense (was 4,224). Conference record for single season TD passes broken as well (was 42).
  • Cooper Kupp: broke Marshall’s Randy Moss’ record for consecutive games with a TD with his 12th TD.
  • Ronnie Hamlin: moved into eighth place in school history on the total tackles list with 14 on the night. It was his 14th game with 10 or more tackles.

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CadChica Sports