NBC, Facebook to Partner on Summer Olympics

The NBC Sports Group and Facebook have announced a partnership to share information on the upcoming 2012 London Summer Olympics.

NBC will use its Olympics Facebook page to share the most up-to-date news and information, and will engage fans of the Olympic Games with featured polls, photo galleries, trivia and shareable images.  Fans of the NBC Olympics page will also have the opportunity to unlock exclusive content made available to NBC Olympics fans.

The partnership will also include Talk Meter, a new Facebook data tool. The new tool will inform viewers about stories, results, athletes and events that other fans of the Olympic Games are talking about on Facebook.

“With the Olympic Games being one of those rare cultural moments that everyone talks about, people will watch the games on NBC and engage with their friends and favorite athletes on NBC Olympics’ Facebook page,” said Andy Mitchell, Strategic Partner Manager at Facebook in a press release. “NBC’s viewers will get to see what Olympic athletes and others connected with the Games are talking about on Facebook, adding a new element to NBC Olympics’ coverage. By sharing what they choose to watch on NBCOlympics.com, people will identify the events and highlights that are important to them and discover other Olympic moments through their friends.”

“NBC is committed to engaging fans and consumers on every platform,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. “Social media is an important part of how fans consume and interact during the Olympics. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Facebook to serve fans as they watch and celebrate the London Olympic Games.”

A Call For Respectful Social Media Practitioners This Super Bowl Sunday

I don’t need to tell this audience the impact social media has in our lives.  Although I don’t contribute as much as others, I get more information from Twitter, Google+ and, to a lesser extent, Facebook than anywhere elese.

News breaks on social media every day.  Depending on who I “friend”, “follow” or “circle” the links in my browser bookmarks have become obsolete.  We see stories develop before your eyes by following the people who are on the ground at revolutions (Egypt, Libya), natural disasters (Japanese earthquake), or other major news events where the media has yet to stake a claim.  It’s true “people journalism”.

With all these connections we make there is bound to be a certain amount of noise–tweets or status updates which mean little to us but we put up with to get the information and interaction we value by being a member of these social networks.

The noise problem, however,  is more prevelant during a large sporting or entertainment event viewed by a wide television audience.  Expect the noise to reach historic proportions this Sunday during Super Bowl XLVI.

I, like many of you, will watch the game on television and follow my friends on social media at the same time.  But I must admit, I’ll likely close the laptop before the end of the first quarter if what’s trended during my social media expereince in the past resurfaces.

As an example, let’s go through a scenerio that will likely play out this Sunday in Indianapolis….Tom Brady throws a touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez.  (I would have gone with Rob Gronkowski but his status for the game is still far from certain).  As soon as that play is over, my social media stream will get flooded with the following, or something similar:

Brady to Hernandez, Pats lead 7-0.
Clutch throw! 
Pats on top!

What’s the value of this?  Why state the obvious? There will be over 100 million people watching the game.  For those providing updates on the score, do you really feel that I’m waiting for YOUR update to find out what’s happening in the Super Bowl?    Dude, you’re not that important.

I love the insightful and amusing comments that come up during the game.  Some of them about the Super Bowl ads will be must-read tweets.   Unfortunately they get drowned out by this drivel.  Now I’m not naive to think that my social media streams will be filled with useful information 24 hours a day.  But at times it’s easier for me to shut down than tune out.  I don’t want to have to do that.

This Super Sunday think about your audience before you tweet.  Be considerate of their expereince.  Show your excitement.  But do so that adds to, not detracts from, most people’s social media expereicne.

It’s Long Over Due…SMJ Has A Facebook Page

I signed-up for Facebook personally about three years ago.  I check in, at most, twice a day just to see what some of my friends and family are up to.

I am IN NO WAY a Facebook junkie.  No Farmville for me.  It just seems that there is too much going on in Facebook for my needs.  I pass no judgement on those who live in Facebook.  Have at it.  I myself, would rather spend my social media time with Twitter.

I do realize, however, that there are over 600 million Facebook users, and I should reach out to them.

So today we are launching our SMJ Facebook Page, where all our posts, and hopefully our tweets will be posted.  I ask those of you who support SMJ to “Like” our Facebook page.  Thank you.

What’s Right and What’s Wrong with Sports Media- Online Resources

In the final installment of what I think is good and bad with sports media I’ll take a look at how sports media is using online resources to get out information.

Not much has changed on how traditional media organizations have covered sports online.  The only thing that is new since 2007 is more of them are employing the use of multimedia (video, podcasts, etc) on their sites.  That’s a good thing.

I am disturbed by a trend I’ve seen develop that I feel is bad for sports journalism.  What I’m talking about here is the sensationalizing of sports news.  Those of you who have read SMJ know that I am a traditionalist when it comes to the coverage of sports.  There are more websites available today whose mission it is to find dirt on athletes.  I understand gossip sells.  Those sites have every right to conduct business.  (God Bless America!)  It doesn’t mean I need to embrace it or condone it.

I continue to maintain that everyone is entitled to privacy, whether they are in public or not.  Seeing a sports star in a bar with a beautiful young lady means little as to how that person performs on the field.  Criminal activity and/or league investigations of off-the-field indiscretions do warrant coverage.  Seeing Aaron Rodgers at a bar is meaningless to me.

What troubles me more than the sensational reporting is how traditional news outlets run with these stories for fear of losing its audience.  Even though he has since changed his tune, what Buzz Bissinger said in 2008 on HBO to me holds true today.  Many of these gossip sites cater to the lowest common denominator of our society.  There is no redeeming value in its publication.   My greatest fear is that the younger generations, when asked where they get their “sports news”, will reference one of these gossip websites.  How can this be good?  (Off soapbox)

There is no doubt that the biggest impact in the online coverage of sports is the use of social media.  The 24 hour news cycle is not partitioned into minutes and seconds by the use of social media platforms.  More reporters and the athletes they cover are taking their message to the people in short, consistent spurts.

Facebook has well over 600 million users.  However I don’t use it to get my sports news.  I use it more to get in touch with family and friends.

Twitter, however, is an information junkie’s elixir.  I get more information from Twitter than any other source.  With that said Twitter does have its drawbacks.

First, if you are a reporter and tweet as part of your job…get separate Twitter accounts for personal and professional use.  I must say that when I see a personal tweet from someone I follow professionally,  I cringe.  I have multiple Twitter accounts.  My SMJ account deals with sports media news.  I have a separate account where I tweet my personal thoughts and follow close family and friends.

I understand the usefulness of hashtags in categorizing tweets.  But I think the Twitterverse has evolved into hashtag overload, coming up with tags that are meaningless to the topic.  For example, let’s say I’m following a story on Twitter about the NFL labor negotiations and one of the hashtags is “#isntthisacrazyworldwelivein” (I made that up, but I’m sure it exists). What relevance does that have to to the story?

The last thing that I hate about Twitter, regardless of whether it’s my personal or professional account, is when people feel they’re the sole or most reliable source of information on any issue…including big sporting events.  Few things are as annoying to me as when I read “Jordy Nelson, TD Packers” during the Super Bowl.  Do people really think I’m monitoring your feed to get updates on football’s biggest game of the year?   The best use of Twitter play-by-play are of events that are not being viewed by millions of people.  Don’t be afraid to take a Twitter break every now and then.


That sums up my week-long look at what I think is right and wrong with sports media in 2011.  It’s just one man’s opinion.  Shoot me some ideas as to what you’d like to see covered here at SMJ.  Thanks for listening

ESPN and Social Media Policy- A Case of PYA

There are quite a few people all a-twitter today about ESPN…and Twitter.

The news broke yesterday afternoon that ESPN had instituted a new policy for employees when it comes to their use of social media.  SMJ buddy Ken Fang gives his opinion and has the ESPN memo over at Fang’s Bites…

Those out there who savor every morsel of opinion on Twitter and other social media outlets may be disappointed over the new ESPN directive, but lets look at it from the WWL’s corporate point of view.  ESPN is looking to protect its brand and content.  And it’s entirely appropriate for them to do so.  Their policy is no different from any other a company creates to ensure that employees remain dedicated to the place where they draw a paycheck.

I’m sure companies in other fields have similar social media policies in place to protect against the leak of trade secrets and inter-office policies and procedures.  Even the leaking of such a social media policy could be in violation of it!

Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media have added a level of communication that has become an integral part of people’s lives.  I, myself, cannot get through a day without peaking at my TweetDeck account periodically.   I use Twitter to cross promote posts here at SMJ and periodically (sparingly, really) tweet in response to what I read.  I do not want to waste people’s time telling them when I go to the water closet.  (Speaking of which, I love following those of you I do on Twitter, but some of you really need to take a break from time to time.)

ESPN is smart in trying to make sure that the use of social media benefits their mission.   And for those of you still peeved about not hearing from your ESPN Twitterers,  Ken Fang wrote on Twitter early this morning (Get some sleep, Ken);

I’m thinking when this whole ESPN/Twitter thing sorts out, that the Tweets will be allowed, they’ll be posted at ESPN and Twitter together.

Just ESPN protecting its ass.

Added:  Chris Byrne summarizes the argument well over at Eye on Sports Media.