Weekly Recap: Kirk & the Quake, Social Media in Pro Sports & Baseball Withdrawals

Happy Sunday night from the library!

Between bouts of studiousness, I decided to recap my favorite readings from the week – lots of good stuff in the baseball, social media and college football worlds.

As great as this weekend was in college football (or not great, depending on how you look at it – the guys at The Solid Verbal aptly termed the ‘Bama-LSU showdown the “Lame of the Century”), I have to admit that I miss baseball. Desperately. There is something about it that’s more constant than football.

Sure, no one’s going to sit on the couch and watch baseball games for a whole Saturday, and unfortunately the season isn’t filled with World Series Game 6-style contests. Football provides an exciting burst every weekend for a few months, but it’s nothing like the steadiness of baseball that can occupy your thoughts from March to October.

My grandpa frequently tips me off to interesting articles, including this NPR story by Glenn Stout that touches on those baseball-withdrawal emotions. It will resonate with baseball fans. Take heart, he reminds us: it’ll be back soon enough.

Speaking of baseball, I was lucky to stumble upon a blog series hosted by the Social Media Club. During the first week of every month, they feature posts on a specialized topic, and November was focused on social media use in professional sports.

Wednesday’s post looked into the Cleveland Indians’ social media efforts, specifically their hugely successful Tribe Social Deck promotion, which launched in 2010 (now named the Indians Social Suite). Rob Campbell, former digital media coordinator for the team (talk about a dream job title), detailed how social media impacted the team. Some eye-popping stats:

  • In a sentiment analysis conducted prior to the implementation of their social strategy, they found that online sentiment about the team was 50% positive, 10% negative and 40% neutral. Two years later, an analysis measured a near 80% positive rating.
  • By using a unique approach to social media-based promotions, the team increased its social media revenue by over 125% this year. They offered their Twitter followers and Facebook fans a ticket discount, but offered them a greater discount if they shared it with friends.

I also learned a lot from Kevin Saghy, a public relations and marketing specialist for the Chicago Cubs. His post looked at how the Cubs enhance the fan experience by expanding online relationships; for example, if someone tweeted that they were at their first Cubs game, someone from their PR team would ask for their seat location and bring them a small gift. How cool is that?! It’s awesome, but he stressed the importance of meeting fan expectations before trying to exceed them – something that can be easily forgotten when you’re rushing to make a big impression.

And now for one frivolous item:

I hate to make fun of this face, because I'd freak out if an earthquake happened while I was on live TV. But Herbstreit's earthquake eyes make me laugh.

A few weeks back, after attending College GameDay in Eugene, my roommate Miranda developed a crush on Kirk Herbstreit. She didn’t express interest during the actual taping, but we had ESPN on the tube later that night and she revealed her affections. Our conversation:

Miranda: Who’s that guy on the far right?
Me: Kirk Herbstreit.
Miranda: Kirk Herbstreit?
Me: (jokingly, but knowing she wouldn’t ask for no reason) Yeah. Why, Miranda? Do you have a crush on him?
Miranda: A little bit! (A minute later, after Googling) Oh my gosh, he’s 42!

You can only imagine how adorable she found his reaction to last night’s earthquake in Stillwater, Oklahoma. “His eyes got so big!” she exclaimed. I know this video has made its way around the Twitters today, but I found it hilarious and had to include it anyway. (I’m so glad Yahoo!’s Graham Watson pointed out how long Fowler’s question was to begin with; the first time I watched it, I couldn’t believe how much he rambled. I wouldn’t have blamed Herbstreit for asking him to repeat it, even without the quake.)

If you’d like to divulge your television broadcaster crush (mine is Brian Williams) or share any interesting tidbits or articles you read this week, I’d love to hear!

Excited about Life

Eugene!  Public relations!  Friends!  My Chicago Cubs wall sign finally on display!

This is how I feel right now.  Regardless of the fact that the last couple weeks have been ridiculously busy with school preparation, last-minute errands, moving, settling into a new room and meeting new housemates (all of which has kept me from blogging), I think life is just great right now.

Of course, the good feelings will probably lessen some when classes start and schedules start to fill.

But now?  I’m excited about life.

I blogged earlier about the fresh start that comes with September, and my fresh start has truly begun.  I’m in a new room with new décor and new people.  Everything is new.

Another new thing is my enthusiasm for my major, public relations.  I honestly didn’t know a whole lot about public relations until today, when I attended a social media discussion in Portland today.  A few friends who are heavily involved with UO’s student-run PR firm were invited to attend the discussion, which was put on by a Portland PR firm.  They invited me to tag along, and I learned TONS.  Those were capital letters for a reason.

I’m so excited to learn more about how PR is done and what happens in the industry.  It’s constantly changing and seems like an innovative industry with a lot of different career possibilities.  I love using and learning about social media, and this discussion really opened my eyes to how social media fits into public relations.  The girls I drove with were all PR majors and were all extremely happy with their choice to pursue public relations.  They were confident, skilled, and thrilled to be representing UO and their student-run firm.

Hopefully, I can be a part of that firm this year.  Next week I’ll begin the application process, so I’m a bit nervous but still excited about the possibilities that PR offers.  It’s just a great time to be excited about life.

What are you excited about in the coming year?  Your major?  Your school?  Your friends?  Your location?  Tell me!  Also, if anyone out there works in PR or is a PR student, I’d love to hear from you.  I have so much to learn and would love to know any tips or stories you have to share to a PR student.

Coming posts will be less about me and all the cool things in my life and more about what others are doing.  That’s much more important in the grand scheme of things, but this was a “preface post” to the rest of the year.  Here we go!