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Social Media and Music – Final Project

While music lovers often listen on their own, enjoying songs with a group of people is usually more entertaining. This naturally creates the desire for music to be a shared experience. However, how can you share music when you’re listening to it through headphones by yourself? Easy! The overpowering movement of social media has impacted the music industry and how people use and consume music. No longer will you run into any trouble finding a way to interact with your friends and music, whether you are physically with them or not! Social media has enabled and created multiple ways that music can be shared amongst friends and even strangers. Each service has their own unique approach, but the basic idea behind all services is the same. Users want to be able to interact online with friends about music.

The social aspect of music kicked off in the mid-2000s with the social networking site MySpace. MySpace allowed users to post and share their own unique music to their profiles [1]. People viewing each other’s pages could see the music, and then play it for themselves. It was a very basic way to share music, and it was only unique music, not music by hit artists. However, it was a good start to take music you had on your computer, and make it available to everyone.

With how popular music is today, and the ever growing nature of people being online and using social media, there are a lot of things that can be done with music. There are a wide variety of applications and services that have found ways to successfully make music a social experience. For this paper, I will focus on 3 main music services and go in depth about what they can do and how they work.

Spotify

Background

Spotify was first launched in Sweden in 2008 and finally came to the US in the summer of 2011. It offers access to over 15 million tracks each one of which is streamed. It had over 10 million users in Europe before making the jump overseas. [2] Each user has a choice between three different account options. There are free, unlimited, or premium account options. The more you pay, the more you get with each of these account options. Spotify is hoping that its success in Europe will translate in the United States were it can build upon its success.

Revenue Model

Spotify is still a privately held company, and has no plans for an IPO anytime soon. It is currently only focused on growth, and expanding its brand in its first year since leaving Europe. It has spiked its user total to 13 million active users. The company has a value estimation of $4 billion, but still wants to focus on growth. They are losing money (about $60 million a year) but are generating close to $900 million in revenue. [3] The revenue they generate predominantly comes from the launch partners (Coca Cola, Reebok, Chevrolet, Motorola, Sonos and The Daily) that got exclusive advertising rights for the first couple of months Spotify was in the US, investors putting money into the company hoping it will continue its growth, advertising for the free version, and from user accounts. The Unlimited user account runs at $4.99 per month, and the Premium account costs $9.99 a month. Spotify also has entered into a partnership with Facebook which allows the integration of Spotify into Facebook. People who wish to join Spotify are not able to join unless they have a Facebook account.

Social Aspects

Daniel Ek, the CEO and founder of Spotify said that in its creation, the idea was kept in mind that “We believe that music is the most social thing there is and that’s why we’ve built the best social features into Spotify for easy sharing and the ultimate in music discovery. Even if you aren’t a total music freak, chances are you have a friend who is and whose taste you admire. I’m looking forward to connecting with some of you in Spotify and discovering some cool new tracks.” [2] They are counting and hoping on the fact that you want to share music with your friends, and that will draw you to choose Spotify over other music providers based on this simple fact alone. The features are countless and always improving, especially since the partnership with Facebook and all of the sharing and social aspects that brings into the realm of possibility.

Spotify offers many social features including each person having their own profile. Each profile page has a list of a person’s top artists and top songs. A profile also has a list of all the playlists that user has either created or subscribed to. Created playlists are all those playlists that the user made themselves and posted to their profile for other people to see. People are able to subscribe to their playlists which in turn make them available on their own profile. Users can also see what their friends are listening to through a sidebar in the desktop application. This song is then able to be clicked on and instantly played through your own computer. Each user has an “inbox” which is comprised of all the songs that they have been sent. Users can send songs to each other by dragging and dropping onto their friends names and leaving an optional note.

The social features in the desktop app are pretty incredible, but when you bring in other social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter the fun really starts. The biggest feature Spotify has launched in its Facebook integration is the “Play Button”. [4] This allows for instant playing of a song with one click directly on Facebook. You can see what your friends are listening to, and with one click, be listening to the same thing. Users can also post a track they are listening to directly from the Spotify app to Facebook and Twitter.

Social integration is well on its way with Spotify, and in its growth phase, expect to see a lot more impressive social features rolled out.

Next Steps

Spotify has clearly advanced music and social media possibilities while using a computer, but there is a lot of room for improvement in mobile apps. The iPhone app is available for users and free to download and install, but is very disorganized. [5] Spotify should focus more efforts on improving the quality of the smartphone app because a large consumer base has smartphones and want to listen to music through them.

Spotify has taken a next step by developing an iPad app and releasing it only a few days ago. [6] The iPad app seems to be much more organized than the phone app. So far user feedback has been very positive, and all of the features from the desktop app are built into the iPad app. Spotify said it took so long to release this app because they wanted it to be exceptional. They should take this strategy and re-apply it to the phone app to have 3 strong sources for music lovers to use Spotify.

iTunes

Background

iTunes was launched in 2003 as part of the world renowned technology company Apple. [6] iTunes is a source for users to search for and purchase music. They then own a copy of the song or album themselves and can do almost anything they want with it (especially put the music on their portable Apple devices such as iPods). iTunes acts as the middle man between the consumer, and the record label or artist. The digital music revolution was largely in part because of iTunes which allowed consumers to get digital copies of the music they wanted. Digital copies are more preferable because they are cleaner, and much more easily manipulated. iTunes hasn’t changed much since then in terms of music except for updated better looking versions of the application, but the basic idea is the same.

Revenue Model

From strictly a music perspective alone taking out all of the services the iTunes store offers (movies, apps, TV shows…) iTunes makes money only on the percentage they get from each song they sell through iTunes store. iTunes gets 35% of the total song sale, and the other 65% goes to the artist or record label. Songs are sold for $0.99 or $1.29 for new more popular songs. Of the 35%, 25% goes to the credit card company through which the transaction was made [6]. This leaves iTunes making a very small amount of money compared to what the original price of the song was. The one exception to the credit card companies cut is if a group of songs is bundled together, or an entire album is purchased, Apple will only have to pay one fee for the entire package, and not for each individual song. Apple attempts to max out on this exception by delaying consumers transactions a couple of days in their reports in order to get a larger bundle of songs together so they have to pay less of a fee.[6] Even though this saves some money for Apple, it is still not very much. The iTunes store as a whole generated $1.9 billion in revenue in Q2 of 2012 [8], but given the revenue model, music purchases was most likely a relatively small portion.

Social Aspects

The social aspects of iTunes all revolves around Ping. [7] Ping is similar to iTunes profile where you can do a couple of things, but not very much. It is integrated with Twitter so you can post about what you’re listening to directly, or see what your friends are posting. You can also follow your favorite artists and get updates about what they’re doing and their music to your newsfeed. Your friends’ posts will also show up here and you can see what they’re up to as well. Ping is used to help you stay in touch with things that interest you, but there is very minimal interaction that can be done through this.

While not a very social aspect in terms of your friends, iTunes does have the Genius feature which gives you access to new music solely based on your music tastes. Hopefully this could get developed more so you could interact with your friends and their music choices. Right now, iTunes isn’t very social friendly, and doesn’t need it to be because it has its place in Apples business plans, and does all that Apple wants it to do. Music lovers would most likely want Apple to get creative to what you could do socially with iTunes music, but for the near future it will most likely stay as it is.

Next Steps

iTunes hasn’t changed its model very much since its launch almost a decade ago, and I can’t imagine that it really will change much going forward. Music today is all about streaming which is much more cost effective than actually paying $1 for a song. Thinking about it logically, a premium Spotify user pays $10 a month and has unlimited access to over 15 million songs. To have full, unlimited access to those songs in iTunes would cost $15 million. Obviously Spotify seems like the more reasonable choice. It may change going forward, but for now, the music industry consumers do not want to pay to own songs, they want to stream songs for as little cost as possible, which sometimes is no cost at all.

If Apple were to eventually decide that it wants iTunes to be able to do more than it does now, enhancing the social features is definitely the area to improve. Right now there is not much you can do with iTunes music except listen to it. To keep up with the trend in the digital music revolution, this needs to change and soon.

Turntable.fm

Background

Turntable.fm was founded in May 2011 by Seth Goldstein and Billy Chasen after their failed attempt at a company called StickyBits. The idea of Turntable is to have an extremely interactive music streaming service. It is online, and users must sign in with either their Facebook or Twitter account in order to gain access to the site. From there, they go find a room that suits their liking, and the interaction begins. Users stream songs when they are the DJ, and get to hear songs from other users while in a room. If a song can’t be found, it can be imported as a local file. Turntable started off really strong growing to 360,000 users in the first three months of its existence [9]. This number has dropped off since then and the initial surge of popularity hasn’t been able to be sustained up to this point. Users tend to either hate the idea, or be absolutely in love with it. You either become instantly hooked, and can’t bring yourself to get off the website, or you just don’t find it amusing and do not return.  The users who are engaged are very passionate and embrace everything that the site has to offer.

Revenue Model

Turntable.fm doesn’t currently have a very strong revenue model, as it is only about a year old. Like a lot of social networks, the aspect of having your site be “cool” isn’t profitable. People don’t like to see or hear ads, and to keep those away in the beginning is what most sites have to do in order to keep the cool factor alive and strong. The hope is to become cool enough to become a dependent part of people’s lives, and still have them use your site, even with ads. Last summer, Turntable was able to gain an investment of $7.5 million and also received an initial valuation of $37 million [10]. Currently, it’s free for all users to join and participate, and all that’s required is either a Twitter or Facebook account.

There have been questions regarding the legality of how the site obtains the access to be able to stream millions of songs. They previously weren’t paying any of the label companies for the rights to stream songs. There was a lot of questions as to whether or not this was going to become a big issue, but all of that was cleared up when Turntable.fm and the big 4 record labels were able to reach an agreement [11].

Right now, and for the foreseeable future, turntable.fm won’t have a revenue model and has no plans to implement one, and is solely focused on growth. It is currently available only the in the United States as to comply with the DMCA. 

Social Aspects

Turntable is very elaborate when it comes to social features and capabilities and all the possibilities of actions that can be performed on this site. It allows everyone to have a voice and an opinion, as well as taking center stage sometimes as well. They live by the motto “Music is better with friends” and that is the core idea behind all of its features.

Everything starts with the different themed rooms where a certain genre of music is chosen as the setting of the room. It is not strictly enforced, but the room creator can “kindly escort you off the stage” if you don’t adhere to proper music. The rooms are designed to be similar to what Pandora or Genius in iTunes does. However the key difference is that there is not an algorithm which randomly selects new songs that are recommended for you. In these rooms, real people play similar music, and you get to listen to music chosen by people who have a similar taste in music that you do. This will hopefully give you a better method to be exposed to new music.

Each user has their own unique DJ avatar and playback device. They can customize these based upon the amount of DJ points they have earned. The more points you earn, the more cool looks you will be able to have and add to your DJ. These points are earned in the rooms. In the room, there are 2 options. You can either be one of up to five DJs who are in control of the music in the room one song at a time. Anyone who is not the DJ has the option to vote on the song that the DJ has chosen to play. You can either vote “Lame” or “Awesome”. Each awesome vote that the DJ receives is worth one point added to his or her total DJ points that they can use to customize their avatars. The amount of lame or awesome votes also has an effect. With a lot of awesome votes, the song is “rocking” and becomes very popular. However if there are too many lame votes, the song will automatically be skipped and control goes to the next DJ. This feature is all about giving power to everyone listening, and not just a few people. Everyone gets a voice as to what they want to hear. There is also a group chat box in each room that everyone can see and post to.

On the DJ table when a song is playing, hovering the mouse over the table gives the listeners numerous options to share the song on various social networks, or hit a link that will take them to a place to either buy or listen to the song in order to enhance the listener’s experience with that song.

Each DJ has fans that follow him/her, and have the ability to private chat with and see what rooms their fans are in. You can interact with your friends, or people that you don’t know. The site encourages interactions in a lot of different ways, and hopes for you to recommend music to other people, and have the favor reciprocated by having recommendations sent right back to you of other music you might enjoy.

Next Steps

Similar to a lot of applications these days, a comparable mobile app is key to keeping people engaged with your product. Everything needs to have a working mobile application that supports the features of what you want your product to be able to do for people. Turntable is no exception to this fact. It took them a while to get a working iPhone app, and they still have not made one available for Android [9]. They need to jump into the mobile scene quickly and effectively so as to not lose any more of their diminishing users who want to have a mobile app.

The main thing that turntable.fm needs to worry about though is growth. They need more users, and more active users. The difficulty they are facing is that music is not usually done as a single activity for the most part like they are hoping. It is usually on in the background while a person is online paying attention to something else. This in turn hurts them in the sense of getting the users to interact with each other.

A couple of ideas I read about that I liked, could increase monetization, as well as popularity. Since music files are able to be uploaded and played, I think it would be interesting to see what would happen if DJ’s were allowed to sell their own original songs through the site. They could be allowed to play it in a room, and then if people liked it, they could have the chance to buy it. This idea would definitely need to be looked at cautiously though, because the positives might not outweigh the negative consequences from having a service such as this. [13]

I think the best idea is to have a store for DJ’s to buy things online to enhance their song performance in the room. If they could purchase special effects for the room (lasers, strobes, dancers, turntables, etc..) as their song is playing, listeners would become more engaged with the room and not have the music on only in the background. This would take a lot of work to successfully implement, but would no doubt enhance the features of the site, and generate more user engagement and interaction.

Conclusion

Social media and music is a hot growing topic that is still being figured out. A lot of ideas are being thrown around, and the best model for success in blending these two industries probably hasn’t been found yet. There are a lot of great companies with a business model in place, but there is no one single company that seriously stands out far and above the rest. Research is constantly being done to figure out what customers want to be able to do when it comes to social media and music. From my research, it’s clear that a fully functioning mobile application is crucial to success. If you don’t have a mobile app for your product, or don’t have a plan to implement one, then you must change your business plan.

I also found it interesting that a lot of companies are trying to make their product grow. They are all following Facebook’s early model of “become awesome and irreplaceable while losing money, and then once that status is achieved, make a boatload of money”. This is a very difficult strategy to pursue, because it isn’t certain that you will be successful, and there is not a model for success that currently exists and is available to be followed. Trial and error is found commonly with different features being unveiled and retracted all the time.

The big issue with the digital music revolution is that it is a very solitary experience.  However, with the ever-growing and expanding nature of social media, that experience is becoming less and less solitary and will hopefully give companies like Spotify and turntable.fm a chance to succeed.

Works Cited

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myspace
  2. http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2011/07/hello-america-spotify-here-full-spotify-launch-press-release.html
  3. http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/digital-and-mobile/spotify-may-seek-more-funding-but-no-ipo-1006758352.story
  4. http://techland.time.com/2012/04/11/spotify-play-button-brings-streaming-music-to-websites/
  5. http://techland.time.com/2012/03/23/spotify-keeps-getting-better-at-phone-apps-expense/
  6. http://www.thevlyhouse.com/2011/01/the-itunes-business-model-and-its-widespread-effects/
  7. http://www.apple.com/itunes/ping/
  8. http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/24/apples-itunes-stores-generates-1-9b-in-revenue-in-q2-has-600000-apps
  9. http://venturebeat.com/2012/05/01/users-stop-using-turntable-fm/
  10. http://www.businessinsider.com/turntablefm-rumored-to-be-raising-5-10-million-at-a-40-million-valuation-2011-7
  11. http://mashable.com/2012/03/13/turntable-record-labels/
  12. http://turntable.fm/about
  13. http://www.quora.com/How-will-turntable-fm-make-money

 

The Final Blog

Just a few short months ago I thought myself to be pretty savvy when it came to social media. However after the first class on Thursday night, I realized that there was I lot that I didn’t know, and there was so much to discover as well. I knew about Facebook, and Twitter, and YouTube, but didn’t really think much more about social media more than those mainstream outlets. Social media was really a source for fun and entertainment. It was about interacting with your friend’s online and playing games and posting and viewing photos. However after taking this class, I’ve come to realize social media is so much more than just that, and things it can do are growing with each new day.

One of the big highlights for me of the class is “Social Media travels faster than an earthquake” relating to the incident this past summer where people in New York read about the earthquake before actually experiencing it. My experience and method of consuming news and breaking stories is now directly to twitter. Seeing trending topics, searching hash tags, or just scrolling through your own feed are among ways that you can find out about pretty much anything on twitter. If anything happens in the world, twitter will be talking about it, and you can find out more about it simply by logging on. News travels fast, and twitter makes it even faster.

Another thing I learned a lot more about was LinkedIn. I did a blog post about my experience with it in my search to find a job. And the job I accepted an offer for I found on LinkedIn. This social media aspect has nothing to do with fun or games or photos. It is strictly professional in an attempt to connect with people on a professional level. Profiles are very similar to resumes, and people portray themselves for their 9-5 life, rather than their Facebook life. I think LinkedIn is the exact opposite of Facebook. One is for professional life, and one is for your personal life. The two shouldn’t mix, and that is why they are on two different networks.

I also learned that social media as a marketing or advertising tool is one of the most effective ways to get a message out to people. It is very inexpensive, and has a significant reach. Companies that engage in social media marketing have a significant advantage because more and more people are joining these sites every day. I really like the way that companies or people do contests for free giveaways. It is very simple to execute, and can engage a lot of people with your brand. The biggest thing I think brands, or companies, or businesses can do is interact with their consumers through social media. It is important to keep in contact with those who keep you in business, and social media is the best way to accomplish that.

Overall, I feel like I learned a lot, and had my interest sparked in things that I didn’t even know about before entering the class. Social media and sports, and the website fanz. Pintrest, and all of the time we spent talking about that. And even how it is used for the stock market, and how that will influence my approach to investing. I think the best part of the class were all the individual presentations. We all have very diverse interests, and were able to find and share how those interests were related to social media. The topics presented on were very diverse, and taught me about things I hadn’t even realized before. Overall social media is growing and leaving its mark pretty much on everything. It would be very rare today to find something that isn’t affected by social media in some way.

Social Media Analytics

I know we aren’t discussing this in class this coming week, but I wanted to take a sort of preliminary or initial dive in social media analytics and my thoughts on what the different ways to get analytics, what analytics are useful, and what can be done with them.  Analytics can be done directly from the site or application you are trying to get analytics from or you can use different tools that measure analytics of a certain social media or combination of them.

One of the things that do this is the website Klout.com. Klout as I’m sure most of you are aware, measures the influence you have on certain social media platforms. You login with your account info, and it scans your profile and activity to come up with a score, summary of what you did, and suggestions to gain a better score/ influence.  It then tells you your true reach, amplification, and network impact with a score given to each of them. All of these analytics basically tell you what you do well, and what you need to work on it order to be more impactful of social media. Klout if very unique because it is free, and rates your online interactions based on their system, and gives you a general idea of where you stand on that social media platform.

Facebook analytics can also be used for admins of Facebook pages that give a variety of insight for information about the page. You can see total like, reach (friends of fans), people talking about your page, and finally weekly reach. All of these have a trending stat to see how you are doing compared to the previous day or week or whatever time you choose. There is also information about how many posts you create over time. Each post also has analytics about it which include reach, engagement, how many people were talking about it, and finally the virality of the post. All of these stats are very useful if you look at them in the right way. I think it’s important to realize the impact that your posts have on overall engagement and interaction with your page. If a post was very popular, you need to dive into more and look at why it was popular. Also to see what type of posts create the most engagement, and then you can create more content based on what people like to see on your page.

YouTube analytics are also very helpful in a similar way to what Facebook tells you in that you can see what type of videos are the most popular and why. However I do like the analytics YouTube offers and find them to be a lot more useful than Facebook’s. This is probably in large part to Google, and their ability and experience with analytics. YouTube offers you the ability to see not just info about views and comments and likes and subscriptions, but also demographics about the viewer such as location and gender. This is really helpful because it shows who is viewing your gender and where, thus giving you a better idea of your YouTube target audience. Additionally it also shows the playback and traffic device of what viewers are using. All of these analytics combined give a pretty good picture of who your viewers are, where they are, and how they are accessing your content. The more you know about your users, the more you can tailor your content around their likes and wants, which will make you more successful in what you post, and for your business.

One of the most interesting things I found about social media analytics is the different ways and how to measure sentiment. When people comment on something of yours, it is definitely beneficial to you to know how they feel about what they are saying. All sites give the user the ability to comment on something. The most challenging aspect is if they feel good about it, or a sending a negative message. There are different 3rd party apps and tools that can be used in an attempt to recognize sentiment and provide a report back. This works mainly for looking for key words and if the comment contains a positive word, give it a positive sentiment rating. While this works on a basic level, there are many faults contained in the algorithm as well. Sarcasm or joking isn’t easily understood unless the context of the situation is understood. Even though it would take a lot of grunt work and time to understand all of them (aka I’ve done this as an intern), comments can be evaluated one at a time by a human eye that understands the context and can most effectively determine sentiment. By far this is the most efficient tool for sentiment analysis, even though it is definitely not the quickest. I think as people start to understand more of how sentiment works online, the apps will become more effective, yet I don’t think they will ever be able to recognize sentiment as good as a person can.

Professional sites and personal brand

Recently, as I frantically am searching for a job and career path to pursue after college, I have spent lots of time daily on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is another social network giving people the opportunity to connect online with other individuals in a more professional environment than say Facebook or Twitter. You post your resume and it acts as your profile page and people who view your profile will get to see all of the professional experience you have accumulated thus far. I remember creating my LinkedIn account a couple of years ago, but didn’t update it or check it very frequently. Now, it is on my list of sites visited daily and the benefits it provides me are awesome.

 

One of the best things about LinkedIn is the Profile Completion Tips. It gives you step by step instructions on how to best complete your profile in a way that will help you stand out when people are viewing your profile. Each step you complete has a certain value that will increase your overall profile completeness. The more steps you complete, the closer you become to having a 100% completed profile. You can also import your resume and LinkedIn will automatically take the components of your resume and format it to show up in your profile. You can add key words and skills that best relate to you and then you will show up when people or companies perform searches based on these words. LinkedIn is a very good tool that you can use to build your own brand, especially in terms of a professional setting.

 

Other social media platforms can be used to build your own personal brand. Obviously the two that stand out the most are Facebook and Twitter. Frequently companies will check these sites as background checks of sorts to see if they can get to know a person that way. Even recently, some employers have been asking people for their Facebook passwords in order to have access to their information. Thinking about this, I find this just flat out immoral as did two U.S senators who are fighting to make this illegal to do.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/us-senators-investigate-employers-asking-for-facebook-passwords/10834

 

Now a day, people have to be extremely careful about what they post online, because it is stored forever, whether it’s visible or not. Employers and companies want to see the kind of things you are posting to the internet, because it gives them a sense of the kind of person you are. While this is somewhat true, I find that companies shouldn’t judge you based on what they see about you online. I know it’s a very biased opinion because I’m on the other end of the being judged part. However social media sites do have a lot of fun aspects to them, so if there is something you want to post that you think is funny, or joke around with your friends, I feel like you should be able to without fearing that it will cost you a job somewhere down the line.

 

Parents constantly advise their kids to be careful about what you post, and don’t do this, or don’t do that. I think there should be a line between what employers check, and what they don’t check. Why do people need to go through interview processes if their social media sites are being checked to see what kind of person they are. There are professional networking sites like LinkedIn, Monster.com, or careerbuilder.com. Companies should be checking these sites to see what a person can do, and not other sites where employers are just looking for things that would prevent someone from getting a job.

Contests

Recently, I started following and participating in Rick Reilly’s weekly contest on Twitter called #cashtag. Rick Reilly is by far my favorite writer and I really enjoy all of the content he puts out. He created the contest 3 weeks ago according to his wishes and rules. He made up all the rules, and gets to decide the winner each week. Each winner gets a check for $7.93, and a follow request from Rick himself. He describes the prize amount the way it is because it is “the approximate cost of a grilled cheese sandwich, fries and Coke at Denny’s.” You can read Rick’s blog here http://espn.go.com/blog/rick-reilly-go-fish/

 

The contest each week provides a ton of participation on twitter with the #cashtag of the week trending nationally on multiple occasions. So far, the cashtags have been #thinnestsportsbooks, #worstsportsmascots, #mylamestjockmoment, and this week’s contest #neverbeenuttered. All of the answers are sports related. One winner is chosen each week, however there are numerous other responses that Rick posts on his blog as honorable mentions. It will be interesting to see what other contest themes Rick can come up with, and how long it will go on for, as the prize money is from his personal bank account.

 

One of the benefits Rick gets from this contest is that he will add to his already vast amount of followers. People will see or hear about the contest, and follow Rick to become even more involved with it. He is currently at about 53k followers, so maybe this is a push for him to try to get to 100k? If you were trying to gain twitter followers, would you pay $7.93 a week in this attempt? Regardless, he also gets the benefit of creating his own contest, coming up with the rules, choosing the topics and the winners. He has a substantial enough of a following to get significant participation.

 

I’ve seen lots of companies run promotional contests like this, but never one single person who really has nothing better to give out than his own money. When I was at Reebok, we would run twitter contests where users could win different types of shoes by having to answer different types of trivia questions about the brand. I feel as if companies use these promotional contests as ways to increase brand popularity and attempt to gain more of a following. Rarely do you see individuals with no backing or support from anywhere run things like Rick is doing. However, when you’ve paid your dues, and are recognized as one of the best sports writers, I guess you have earned the right to do that.

 

I think it would be awesome to come up with a contest of my own and get to create and decide every aspect of it. If you could create any contest on social media, where, how, and what would you do?

What just happened??

Have you ever said to yourself, “Wow, did that just happen?” And then you become so enthralled with this moment that you want to find more about it and get other people’s perspective on it? Or even if you missed something, and then hear about it, where would you go to find out about it?  A moment like this can happen anytime, anywhere. You will not see or hear about all of them right away, but with social media, amazing news or interesting topics are not far away at all.

The biggest use for this is from the sports world. Crazy sports fans like me love to see amazing plays and great games, but can’t watch every game all the time. However, when something amazing does happen, twitter will most certainly be talking about it, and youtube will have a clip of it up almost instantaneously. For example, a few weeks ago I was getting ready to go to bed, checked twitter for one final time and saw all of these tweets about Blake Griffin throwing down a monster jam. I found a tweet with a link to youtube, watched it, then literally yelled at 1:00 in the morning, “NO FREAKIN WAYYYY!!”

Another thing I’ll do is after a game that watched, is check on twitter to see what everyone else had to say about the game, and I’ll even post some of my own thoughts. It is helpful to do and see this because my passion for sports wants me to get everything I can from it, and beyond just the game itself. So after a game, I’ll check twitter and see comments, and get links to blogs and player/coach interviews. The more information, stats, and commentary I can see, the happier I am.

Beyond the sporting world, I just found a new thing that I can do. I am obsessed with the TV show revenge. A lot happened in the final 5 minutes of the show, and there were twists and turns everywhere. I couldn’t really keep up/ process what was going on when I was so intent on what was happening. So after the show, I went on twitter searched for #revenge and saw hundreds of tweets about what I had just happened. Everyone was posting about what just happened, who do they think it was, what will happen next, and anything and everything about the show. I had watched the show for an hour, and literally spent another hour on twitter after the show just reading about what happened. The only downside for this is people on the west coast were really mad because they had to wait a few hours to watch it, and all of these spoilers were being posted online.

I really wish that I would have done a similar thing back in the day when lost was on TV. Lost was a phenomenon that everyone in the country was in love with, but it was so confusing all of the time, and cliffhangers left and right that a lot of people were wondering what was going on. There were blogs and websites about it, but they were hard to find. The power of twitter would have been amazing, and most assuredly would have helped my understanding the show. Now a days, anytime I want news, or want to see something cool, or find out what is happening, I go to Twitter first because I know that it will get me what I am looking for quickly.

Super Bowl Sunday 2012

With the Super Bowl rematch taking place today between the Patriots and Giants, a lot has changed since the first meeting they had when the Giants were able to win with the help of an unbelievable play. (see what really happened here) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF9SiyF9LwE Everything that has happened in the past 4 years has all added up to make this game even bigger than the last time these two teams met in the super bowl.

The last time, I was a senior in high school in Texas. I didn’t really have much interest in the game since the Cowboys weren’t playing. None of my friends really had interest in the game either, since nobody really cared who won. The hype was mainly about getting together and eating food and watching the game and seeing the new funny commercials. That was however about the extent I cared about the super bowl. I had a facebook, but other than that, I didn’t really have much connection to social media. I wasn’t on twitter, didn’t spend a lot of time on youtube, and didn’t follow any blogs. My experience with the game was simply watching it on tv, seeing a few facebook statuses, and hanging out with friends. It was a one day thing, and when it was over, it was over and I didn’t get involved with it beyond that day.

Now however, everything is completely different. Being up in New England, I am surrounded by Patriots fans and Giants fans. With the Super Bowl party we are hosting, there will be plenty of both teams fans, and I am very intrigued to see how they will react watching the game together. There has been no shortage of trash talk the past two weeks. I have heard and seen it everywhere. The amount of connections I have made in the past 4 years has opened up many different sources of information to see. Everyday I overhear my roommates talking about this article, or that article. Sportscenter has had constant coverage. Espn.com has had non stop coverage. With the recent introduction in the past few years of local espn sites, the coverage has gotten even more intense. I am on espnDallas.com every single day keeping up to date with the blogs of all the DFW sports teams. But there is also espnnewyork.com and espnboston.com with hourly updates about what is going on in for both teams playing. Every sports blog has something about the big rematch for the Super Bowl this year, and it is very easy to find these blogs now, and people all have opinions that want to be heard and read.

The biggest change for me this year however will be twitter. I have twitter followers now, and am also following a bunch of people on twitter. There is daily updates about what is going on with the teams in Indianapolis. I like checking twitter better than reading all of the blogs, because I can simply scroll down the news feed page and read short little blurbs and after about 10 minutes, I feel like I know everything that is going on. People tweet about everything, how practice went, the injury list, who is expected to play, who is sick, who is doing what, what the predicted final score will be. It is amazing to me that in one simple webpage, if you check it a few times throughout the day, totaling 30 minutes to an hour, you can know everything that is going on, and you only have to go to one place. Rob Gronkowski has been a very popular topic this week because he got injured in the last game, and his status for the game is unsure. He is one of the Patriots best players, and there are hourly updates on how he is doing and if he is expected to play or not. Who would’ve thought a tight end would be the most popular topic leading up to the Super Bowl?

Finally, the biggest change this year will be following the game live on twitter. It is pretty rare for the entire country to come together over a single event and it doesn’t happen often, but today is one of those days. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most popular days of the year and everyone has stuff to stay throughout the day. I have followed random regular season games for the NFL and other sports leagues, but I have never live followed a game on twitter with such a great magnitude. It will be really interesting to hear all the comments at the party, on twitter, and the announcers of the game. I have my account set up so that I will get commentary from Giants fans, Patriots Fans, neutral fans, the media, and anybody that I am interested in seeing what they have to say. I am not sure who is going to win today, but what I am sure of is that there will be no shortage of coverage or commentary this Super Bowl Sunday.