ESPN: Choose Your Favorite Social Media Source

11 07 2010

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When I originally decided to blog about ESPN’s use of social media, I forgot to consider how extensive ESPN’s media is. Not only do they have multiple television channels but they also have a radio station and a magazine. As I began my research at the ESPN website, I was quickly reminded of this because each of these 3 media have their own separate websites. But I’m here to talk about social media, and in case you have not heard I’ll be the first to tell you: ESPN is utilizing social media.

Where should I begin? Well first there’s the blog page that I don’t think they could fit any more blogs into. Seriously, there are over 30 different blogs that cover a vast range of different sports including niche sports like snowmobiling and BMX. Users are offered the option to become an “Insider” for a small subscription fee. This service provides subscribers with perks like access to exclusive blogs, fantasy benefits, ESPN the Magazine, and expert draft coverage. Each blog contains convenient links to share on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, or subscribe via RSS feed. I’d say ESPN has blogs on lock, but that’s not the only social media ESPN has on lock.

One impressive way ESPN is engaging in social media is through their Podcenter. With category and topic filters, the site makes it easy to find a specific podcast you may be searching for. It even offers exclusive podcasts for Insiders. All of the podcast (except Insider podcasts) are available for downloading, playing, and RSS feeds. So far ESPN has demonstrated blog and podcast mastery, but what about video?

Well ESPN offers a magnitude of video content through their YouTube channel and their video page. The video page offers hundreds of videos that are  easy to navigate by sport, TV show, category, and more.

You could probably guess that ESPN has a Facebook page, but they also have over a dozen Twitter accounts that you can check out at their Twitter List. The different Twitter accounts vary from specific cities to specific sports so followers can get just the news (or should I say Tweets) they are looking for.

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Before you stop reading this post because you’re thinking, “Okay, I get the point. ESPN knows how to use social media.” I must tell you that there has been some controversy over their social media policy that they implemented last year. The policy prohibits employees from posting sports content in personal websites or social networks and critiques have claimed this is inappropriately limiting employee expression and hurting the company’s efforts to demonstrate transparency. I’ll let you read the articles linked above and form your own opinion but if you care to hear my opinion on the matter, feel free to ask in a comment.

ESPN’s social media efforts are impressive. Their website offers an array of diverse content that can easily be shared in multiple social media formats and I believe this proves ESPN is the worldwide leader of sports in social media.


Magazines Joining the Conversation

8 07 2010

So far it appears as though social media can be a tool that either makes or breaks traditional media and this is no different with magazines. It’s no secret that magazines have been hit hard by the recession and low circulation, but some magazines are turning to new media for help. Among such magazines are Lapham’s Quarterly and Seventeen.

Take one look at Lapham’s Quarterly website and it will not take long to realize they have embraced social media. The magazine uses Twitter, Facebook, and podcasts to keep this historically themed magazine in tact with current conversations. Check out their Twitter page and you can see how they join in on conversations by taking historical events or dates and appropriately put them into modern context. Their Facebook page allows them to post relevant articles and hear what people are saying about them. Since Lapham’s Quarterly is only published 4 times a year (obviously), the magazine uses social media to keep their audience engaged between magazines and to cost-effectively market subscriptions.

Other than selling subscriptions, Seventeen Magazine has been utilizing social media to incorporate advertisers and tap into their audience’s conversations in an effort to improve content. The magazine allows advertisers to pay to jump in on their conversations but Seventeen makes it clear to advertisers that they are granted this opportunity to build their brand, not to sell a product. The magazine uses Facebook to listen in on their audience and hear what they want from the magazine. Sometimes they will ask questions, offer exclusive subscription rates, or just see what people are talking about. Their Youtube channel gives the magazine video content that even further engages their audience. Whatever the case, magazines like Seventeen can enjoy some benefits by conversing online through new media.

With magazine readership and circulation rates on the decline, social media offers a whole new platform for experiencing magazines. New media allows participants to share content with their friends and indirectly promote the magazine by retweeting or posting links, but will this be enough to save the magazine industry? Do you think magazines will soon only be offered in an online format? If so, when? Are you subscribed to a magazine that offers online content? If so, what do you think about it?

(Here is where I was going to embed a youtube video from Seventeen’s channel but I realized they are not relevant and there is no point in making you suffer through one of those videos!)

Audio-who? Audioboo.

4 07 2010

I don’t know about you, but I rarely listen to the radio anymore. Why would I take a gamble turning on the monopolized radio when I can plug in my iPod and be sure I’m going to hear good music? Well I know I’m not the only one who feels this way because traditional radio is on the decline. More and more people feel like they have lost the personal connection radio listeners used to feel and are turning to new media sources of audio content like Pandora and Audioboo. If you’re like me and had not heard of Audioboo, allow me to fill you in.

Ok, I know that’s not the best explanation of Audioboo (there’s a much better one on their website) but you get the idea. It appears as though Audioboo is still developing, but the concept of an audio-like Twitter is quite fascinating. On a side note, this technology could be very valuable to companies who use a lot of audio in their communication strategies. But more importantly to radio, this has the potential to put people in charge of audio content in a social platform. If the radio is willing to participate in online conversations and adopt social media like Audioboo into their content, perhaps they could prevent the decline of radio by engaging listeners.

Radio stations have been conversing with listeners by allowing them to call in for years now. But now people are using these new channels to let themselves be heard and traditional radio must realize this if they want to survive. This is critical for radio stations trying to reach younger demographics. By creating Twitter, Facebook, and Audioboo accounts, radio stations could open valuable channels for increasing social engagement with their audiences and perhaps revive some life back into radio.

What do you think about Audioboo; do you believe it has the potential to revive radio? How do you feel about radio stations incorporating social media into their content? Would you listen to the radio more often if you were able to participate via social media?

Associated Press Associates with Social Media

2 07 2010

Even in 2010, some traditional news sources still do not understand the importance of adopting social media. But as the primary news gathering agency in the United States, the Associated Press (AP) is far from behind in the social media game. Not only have they utilized multiple Twitter accounts for particular current events (including the World Cup) , but they also offer podcasts, a YouTube channel, and an up-to-date Facebook page. Clearly someone at AP is taking social journalism seriously.

And that person would be Lauren McCollough. She was recently promoted as the Social Networks and News Engagement Manager at AP and provided some insight in an e-mail interview with Steve Myers. According to McCollough, the audience for news is still alive but news agencies need to adapt to their new expectations and join in 2-way conversation. AP has demonstrated this on their Facebook page where they encourage followers to discuss stories and provide input by asking questions.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of AP’s social media strategy is their extensive use of Twitter. If someone just wants tweets concerning healthcare, then they can simply follow @AP/healthcarebeatteam. During the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, AP had different Twitter accounts for every sport! More recently AP has been using @AP_Courtside to follow Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and other relevant stories happening in the Supreme Court. By creating all these specific Twitter accounts, AP is able to reach niche audience and consistently participate in the online buzz.

The extent to which AP uses Twitter is fascinating and intriguing. But is it possible that their focus on social media is hindering the effectiveness of their reporting? Do you think this transition into social media has forced companies like AP to move resources out of the reporting field and into the social media world? After reading this article, will you follow AP on Twitter or “like” the AP page on Facebook? Your comments are helpful and greatly appreciated!