Sunday, February 20, 2011

the twitter mystery: who's important?

It's always been intriguing to me: who on twitter is really important?  I've spent time hunting for the people who are top influencers in various topics that I'm interested in: PR, fashion, and leadership.  Compare it to going on a scavenger hunt: finding clue after clue and tweet after tweet to see where all the news and latest developments originate.

After reading articles about twitter and influencers, I realized that I participate in this social revolution every day. My information comes from people I know, their information comes from people they know and people their friends know. But on twitter, I can go straight to the source and hear the news when the rest of the world does.  Then I can also find people who follow and interact with the user in order to discuss the news, development, or big event that was just unveiled.  Not only can I follow fashion brands like Oscar de la Renta and DKNY, but through their tweets and interaction I have been able to identify widely unknown (yet important) bloggers, buyers, people, and businesses by whom the big brands are influenced.

It's kind of cool feeling like you are part of the brand, industry, or business because of their tweets.  It's fun to look at your twitter feed and lists and know that you are on the cutting edge of what's news in the world.  I think twitter, social media, and the internet have changed how we find out news for the better. You can find out anything through following the right people on twitter.  After all, that's exclusively how I'm finding material for my original posts on this blog!


The NFL's PR people have got to be stressed...

After attending Super Bowl XLV and watching how the National Football League has handled the catastrophe that was, I have also found how much negativity is surrounding the NFL right now.  With the possibility of no football next season, fans are enraged about the seats at the Super Bowl and now about the negotiations that are seemingly endless.    

With the NFL Players Association going up against the owners of the NFL teams, it's hard to say who has the best leverage in this situation.  The owners are demanding a longer schedule, a lower salary, and no increased health benefits in one of the more injury-prone sports.  The negotiations have been brought to a mediator because they seemingly cannot come to an agreement through conventional negotiation.  

As to how both sides are handling this in the media, neither is really doing a good job.  When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell  said that he would take a salary of $1 if that's what was necessary to come to an agreement, the head of the NFLPA DeMaurice Smith said that his salary would be $ .69.  Each side just keep trying to one-up the other, clearly without consulting their PR people, because both sides come off as petty and childish.

The mediation has gained a lot of media attention because what's at risk is major for the American public.  If the sides do not come to an agreement, there will be no football played next year--which is devastating for owners, fans, and players alike. Fans have even made a commercial and a website petition to show the NFL how badly they want an agreement.  Let's see if they listen.

For everyone unfamiliar with the whole situation, here's a funny explanation of it:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

twitter may not spark a revolution, but it won't hurt one

As someone who (obviously) thinks twitter is the greatest thing since sliced bread, I found it surprising when I agreed with a lot of Malcolm Gladwell's opinions about social media.  His comparison to what it takes to truly send a message during a revolution to the limited power of a network struck me as both reasonable and true from my experiences with social media.  Clay Shirkey's response also intrigued me and made me think, but overall, I agree with Gladwell's thoughts.

The use of social media may not start a revolution, but can help people find others who are as dedicated and care as much about a cause as themselves. Its ease of spreading a message and finding others who agree is what is helpful in rounding up people, but like Gladwell said, often does not involve more than clicking, donating, and sharing. People are going to talk regardless of if we can assemble without ever saying a word out loud.  It's been done before and will be done again.  Social media, in my opinion, wouldn't hurt anyone trying to start or assemble a movement, but it might not be as helpful as one might originally think.

I use social media in the way that many people do, almost purely social or personal.  I look for interesting articles, posts, and links; I e-mail and tweet with friends, and I use facebook to check up on people that I know.  It makes the world seem smaller, but I do not employ it to do anything too complicated or drastic.  And although I love it, don't believe it would be the determining factor in making a large social movement happen.  People can find others like themselves, but that does not mean they now have a strong bond that would convince them to sacrifice for each other.

New media is a great development in technology and makes s closer together than we could ever imagine, but it is not the answer for making great strides in social movements--not yet.

A Super Bowl without cheer

It's like the year without a Santa Claus in Dallas, kind of.  It's been sporting disappointments left and right.  First the Stars lost Mike Modano and Marty Turco, then the Rangers lost the World Series, then the Cowboys didn't make the playoffs, and now the Super Bowl won't have any cheerleaders or dancers?!

I know this topic isn't the most intellectually stimulating, but I found it in my twitter feed a few times and finally decided to read the New York Times article about how there won't be any cheerleader's at Super Bowl XLV.  With the big game in Texas, it's both funny and a little sad that the stadium that normally has Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders as well as the Miller Lite Rhythm and Blue Dancers, will not have any professional dancers performing.

The Super Bowl in and of itself is a huge event, and every single aspect of what's going on in Dallas seems news-worthy to anyone and everyone.  Everyone I know has been wondering why there won't be cheerleaders without knowing the real reason behind it.  It's been on facebook, twitter, the local news, and even newspapers.  I mean, for a state that loves Texas high school football games, college football games, and NFL games, it's a little disappointing that a game as big as this one won't have any dancing and cheering come game time.  

At first glance, it seems as if the NFL is trying to say something by not having cheerleaders at this game, but when you look closer, you notice that there are quite a few teams that don't have cheerleaders on a normal basis--the Packers and Steelers are just two of them.  These teams that don't employ dancers are teams that have outdoor stadiums in cold places.  So, they're doing the girls a favor and not making them dance and cheer in the sleet and snow.

So, though it looks like the NFL is banning cheerleaders, they're actually doing a favor to the girls.  And though it stinks that there won't be any cheerleaders at Texas' biggest football game of the year, I think we'll all survive.