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Summer topics and trends in social media

Catching up on several new media and sports topics.

Summer Ideas

Summer is the slow season for colleges.  Without any live games to engage fans, colleges need to find creative ways to make sure their fans stay connected. The University of South Florida has launched a Horns Up! campaign to reward fans for interacting with the school in various ways.

Powered by Multiply, the USF rewards fans for doing several things, including:

  • Requesting season ticket information
  • Sharing pre-populated content on Twitter
  • Liking USF Facebook pages
  • Liking specific content posted by those Facebook pages
  • Tweeting with designated hashtags
  • Inviting friends to join the Horns Up! network
  • Uploading a video to the newly launched usffightsong.com

The campaign has gotten off to a good start, with more than 35% of USF fans on the network have requested season ticket information, according to Multiply’s blog.

Texas A&M, which joined the SEC this month, used its Facebook page to launch a 14-day countdown to help its fans learn about the school’s new conference.

“We want Aggies to become more familiar with the SEC, its schools, and what makes this conference so great,” Diane McDonald, the university’s executive director of marketing and social media, said. “Using our social media platforms to do this will provide an engaging way for our fans and followers to get to know the SEC family as we continue our transition into a full member institution.”

The Aggies’ Facebook page has been active this summer.  Currently it is slowly unveiling the team’s new uniform, piece-by-piece, day-by-day, on its page, a clever way to break the news and to keep fans coming back.

(Thanks to Rob Higgins, @rhiggins_TBSC, via Twitter for the suggestions.)

ESPN and Twitter

The Poynter Review Project blog has a fascinating entry about Twitter and journalists.  The blog tackles the challenges ESPN faces in the Twitter era. The blog post examines how ESPN reporters are using Twitter and the challenges of reporting in real time.

Among the best insights were Jemele Hill’s honest insights into Twitter. Hill, a former newspaper reporter who came to ESPN.com as a columnist, has become a regular on television as well.  She is an avid Twitter user.

From the blog: In Hill’s eyes, if you’re authentic on Twitter, there’s no reason to be afraid.  “My Twitter personality is all me,” she said, adding that “people interacting with you have to feel like it’s really you, and not some social-media version of you . . . The way I think about my Twitter feed is, ‘Everybody’s a VIP.’ …

“I wouldn’t tweet something I wouldn’t say on TV or in a column. If I get fired for anything at ESPN, it’s not going to be Twitter; 140 characters is not worth losing your job over.”

(Thanks to Jason Bailey for the tip.)

Gamification, sports-style

Traditionally, the term gamification refers to the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging.

Last month, I moderated a panel at the CoSIDA convention, a gathering of sports information directors at colleges around the country. One of the panelists, Jeff Rubin of Sidearm Sports, coined the phrase gamification in a sports and social media context.

In sports and social media, gamification is those things you can do surrounding a game event: checking in at a game, sending tweets, posting a Facebook update, uploading a picture on Instagram.  Look for more schools to find ways to get fans involved in sports-related gamification.

Ronnie Ramos is the managing director of digital communications for the NCAA. Before that, he spent 25 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, splitting his time between news and sports at five newspapers, including The Miami Herald and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter.

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