Twitter Taking NBA Fee Agency Real-Time

Ok. I’m a self-admitted sports junkie. I used to huddle over a transistor radio with other similarly stricken grade school buddies listening to the NFL draft between classes as early as the sixth grade. It was the only way to find out what our favorite team was doing while the draft was actually happening. It’s now nearly 30 years later (ok, I’m dating myself a bit here) and oh, how things have changed. The dissemination of real-time information is what it’s all about and sports fans are taking it to a whole new level.

The hysteria started a few weeks ago with a goal by Japan’s World Cup soccer team against Cameroon leading to a record number of “Tweets per second” for Twitter. That record lasted less than a week when the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics for the NBA championship. These two events were just hot topics for sports fans to discuss amongst themselves. What’s happened over the last few weeks since then with NBA free agency has shown us just how much of an effect social media and Twitter in particular can have – not just from a user engagement standpoint, but as an actual reporting mechanism.

In case you aren’t as much of a sports junkie as I am, here’s the scoop. LeBron James is quickly becoming a household name. He’s only 25 years old but has already won two league MVP awards. He’s the most sought after basketball player in at least the last ten years and teams in all of the major U.S. markets are pitching for his services. This is where social media has hit overdrive. There’s not an NBA hoops beat writer in New York, Chicago, Miami, LA or Dallas who doesn’t have an active blog covering every move LeBron makes. Even more intense is the Twitter presence of same reporters. As we know, it takes a few minutes to write a blog. A Tweet takes seconds. Sports reporting has officially gone real-time.

In this new digital era, being the first to share information is the goal. The eventual “winner” in this NBA free-agency media game is going to be whomever first reports where LeBron is going to sign his next contract. The interesting part of this is that the person who does the “reporting” may very well be LeBron himself.

This is a continuing trend where athletes are becoming the newly empowered news breakers instead of the traditional media outlets. When the big announcement is made tomorrow, you can bet you’ll find it on Twitter before seeing it on ESPN at 9:00. The game is changing and even the media is scrambling to keep up. As for me, I’ll be on Twitter following every move that’s made with the same rabid enthusiasm as when I was a kid listening to the radio for the latest sports updates.  The fast-food era of communicating news and information is upon us and the fan inside of me loves every minute of it.

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Are we all a bunch of workaholics?

When you think about your lifestyle, do you live to work or do you work to live? If the idea of living to work resonates with you, and it does with many of us, then you might consider yourself a workaholic. Not only is workaholism unhealthy for your body, but it can be mentally draining simply because of ups and downs in the workplace. Here are some tips on how to focus on a more ‘work to live’ lifestyle.

-        Disconnect. I know this may make some people cringe, but once you learn to appreciate these times of disconnecting, you will realize how much you need them. Next time you go out to dinner or go home for the weekend, try to disconnect for at least a couple of hours by turning off your cell phone and computer. I know some people are concerned with possible emergencies, but consider this: the cell phone has only been about around 10 years. If people were able to manage then, they are certainly able to manage now.

-        Get a hobby. Many of us just like doing things to keep ourselves busy.  With a hobby, you will focus on something else you enjoy. There is no such thing as your job being your hobby.

-        Spend time outdoors. This is healthy for both your body and your mind, especially for those who spend hours in front of a computer. Take walks, go biking, even plan a getaway in the woods or by a beach.

-        Socialize with people outside of your work environment. Form relationships with people/family members who are disconnected with your job. This will help steer conversations away from work and focus on the relationship mainly.

To ‘work to live’ does not imply that you shouldn’t be passionate about your job. It only establishes a life outside of work, where you value your life before your job. Work helps us live, but work is not life in itself.

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LinkedIn Proves It’s Not the Weakest Social Media Link

Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, oh my! LinkedIn might have taken a little longer to popularize than Facebook and Twitter, but it has proven successful in the professional realm.

According to a survey of 5,000 people, the top four reasons people come to LinkedIn is to reconnect with colleagues, manage their professional identity, see what colleagues are up to and to find new business opportunities.

Facebook allows for business promotion, but most people use it recreationally. LinkedIn is designed for business connections.

There are several benefits to staying active on LinkedIn: Continue reading

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White Papers: Choosing the Right Audience and Approach

The purpose of a white paper is to solve a problem or present ideas and products that may help solve problems. Most popularly, white papers have become a tool used to introduce or explain innovations and products. Other white papers may present a topic, argue a specific position and establish setbacks with suggested solutions. Either way, every white paper should make two things clear: its audience and its approach.

Who is your audience?

To decide what problems your readers are facing, you must first decide who your readers are, then decide what types of solutions are most effective. That said, different types of people face different types of problems, or better yet, different types of people view problems differently.

For example, this white paper on the differences between open source CMS and SharePoint, could be targeted in two different ways. An IT person might be interested in a technical explanation, and a CEO might be interested in the business benefits of each web solution. Understand whose attention you want to grab, make the direction clear and stay consistent throughout the paper. 

 What is your approach?

There are two different approaches you can take when writing a white paper. The first is focused on your self-promotion. These type of white papers have a clear agenda: to promote specific products or services that will ultimately benefit you. Your readers will most likely sense this self-promotion and grow suspicious of the paper’s intent. This type of writing is more appropriate for data sheets or product briefs.

If you want your customers to actually read the paper, you should try to gain their trust in the very beginning by establishing the white paper’s purpose. Make no mistake, it’s OK to touch upon certain products and services that might help solve a problem, as long as it’s done carefully and infrequently.

The second approach focuses on the interests of your readers. This type of white paper should center on a common concern or growing trend. And it should give solutions to potential setbacks or advice on how to optimize trends. The white paper “Rules of Engagement: Hospitals, Twitter and Potential Patients,” focuses on the growing Twitter trend and provides insight on how a specific industry might benefit from this movement. This paper clearly focuses on the interests of its readers—in this case, hospitals. And better yet, it has a clear target audience: hospital marketers. 

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A Social Media Exclusive: Crisis Management on Steroids

Think British Petroleum is the only company that needs crisis management to repair their reputation?  OK, so maybe nobody needs it quite as much as BP does these days, but a recent press release by global communications company Porter Novelli tells me otherwise. In it they announce the launch of a new business services specialty that will help companies handle the effects of publicly damaging incidents that stem from the digital space.

The unique aspect of this for marketers and public relations professionals is in its social media application and the opportunity for real-time corporate responsiveness to potentially harmful online conversations. Porter Novelli smartly provides a digital suite of crisis preparedness and reaction services supported by “Go Teams.” These are public relations and crisis management experts who utilize online tracking and analytics tools to measure consumer and media sentiments and dispositions.

I found that by no means was Porter Novelli the first and only player in this category. Ottowa, Ontario-based DNA13 has made a business out of knowing how to handle real-time crisis management from a digital perspective. Although they cover the more traditional mediums of TV and print, they also align the online and social media fronts for clients. Check out their blog for some great examples of how social media and online public sentiment tracking played a big part in crisis management for companies such as Nestle and Domino’s.

The growing number of companies providing these specialty services lends more credence to the perceived value of corporate transparency in this digital age. Social media has further opened the two-way doors of corporate and consumer engagement. The power of this efficient platform for corporations to directly respond to negative and positive sentiments on a real-time basis is undeniable from a public relations standpoint. My advice is to be prepared because this very conversation might be coming to your corporate boardroom sooner than you think!

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