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Status Update: The Power of Social Media

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I’ll be the first to admit: I’m addicted to the Internets. My morning routine begins with social media – starting with, in order: Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Phone. This past weekend was no exception. Though I had a lot of schoolwork to finish, I maintained my schedule with social media check-ins more than a few times. It got a tad out of hand waking up early Friday morning to watch the events of the Royal Wedding. Yes, I watched. Mostly because I love a good love story and second, how often in the news do we have something positive to report on? I would have to say maybe once every other break I took from writing a marketing paper on a case study of the development of Cymbalta, to stay up to date on what’s going on in the world around me.

This weekend also marked the beginning of the Washington Capitals second round run with the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that after playing us in the regular season shut us out twice. Let’s also take note that their goalie, Dwayne Roloson, leads the NHL in save percentage (.949) in the postseason, but we have Michael Neuvirth whose GAA is 1.38. Like anyone excited for any postseason play, we read previews and posts and comments. For me, it was mostly through Twitter, hearing from beat writers, analysts and fans about how we can beat the No. 5 seeded Lightning.

via @clydeorama http://www.flickr.com/photos/clydeorama/3818958525/

Finishing up the tweaks of my paper, conference postings and other schoolwork, Game 2 on Sunday was just a few hours away. Hoping we would finally snap out of our Power Play rut, we made our way down to Verizon where you could definitely feel the energy in the building. I found myself checking tweets even while I was AT the game on Sunday, which doesn’t happen that often. I’m so immersed in games that I tend to shut out the World and focus on what’s on the ice (or court, or field). As much of a heartbreaking loss as it was, my Twitter timeline and newsfeed on Facebook started blowing up with comments of things like “we’re not worried” and “We need to find a way to score on the PP!!” Still, I was hoping we’d hold off and get the W, but just couldn’t execute. I still hope for the best, though – its all we can do as fans.  Even though we’re down 0-3 in the series, hopefully we can get a W in Tampa Bay to build our confidence and take back the series we were favored to win. You better believe I’ll be tracking the news via Twitter.

With that said, the impact of how social media set the tone for the series is unbelievable. But it isn’t just with sports. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was Saturday night and in an awesome evening out in Dupont for my friend Laura’s birthday, we all headed home tweeting the likes of Seth Myers, Jimmy Fallon, Andy Samberg and Mindy Kaling, all of whom were in attendance for the dinner at the Hilton downtown. We were perhaps even more jealous of our other friend Kate, who was working the event. Tweets flew back and forth and one thing I do love about Twitter is it’s more than just instant connection, because hey, people DO respond back. Yes, even celebrities.

After Sunday’s game, and headed back to Arlington, Va., on the metro, my timeline had tweets that began to overshadow Game 2’s news … something about Obama holding a press conference within the hour about an undisclosed topic regarding national security. There was nothing that mentioned the dinner from the previous evening. The rumors started flying, yet no one really knew what was going on. It was very odd for it to be on a Sunday night and so late, was it a coincidence that it had to interrupt Celebrity Apprentice?

We come to find out that it was held to announce that Osama bin Laden, the notorious claimed mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, had been shot and killed by US troops and that the U.S. had custody of the body. As we all know, any news, rumored or factual, spread so fast, I’m surprised it didn’t break the Internet. Within just a few minutes of getting back to Arlington and confirmed mentions from White House officials did the streets flood around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Students from George Washington and Georgetown, local residents and the even some of the remaining media from the Caps game showed up in utter satisfaction and celebration of the news.

There’s no way that outside of a telecast could anything travel as fast as it had. It was pretty amazing. Read this, if you haven’t yet. There was even a guy live tweeting in Abbottabad while the raid was going down (@ReallyVirtual). There were celebrations all over the country, too, including major universities, and World Trade Center site. Standing together as a nation, even for a few hours, is a great sight to see – but, does this change anything? Not sure.

As recent as this development is, there are far too many unknowns. What I DO know, however, is the significant impact that social media has over everyone, whether you actually use these outlets or not. It has provoked some stunning trends. The Pew Research Center’s 2011 Annual Report on American Journalism reports that:

     * In 2010 every news platform saw audience stall or decline … except the Web.

     * For the first time ever, more people got their news from the Web than newspapers … the gap for TV is closing, too.

   * Newspaper newsrooms are 30 percent smaller than in 2000.

    * Nearly half of all Americans now get some form of local news on a mobile device. In other countries where mobile penetration is deeper, the number is probably greater.

(via @ smexaminer)

from http://www.wpmods.com

Given the passion of the fans and dedication of the blogger, writer, or award-winning journalist, there’s no sign of social media slowing down anytime soon. This goes for politics, local/national news and of course sports, and that includes athletes.

The best way is to embrace the power of social media is use it to YOUR advantage. Follow the people and be followed by those who share similar interests and viewpoints. While there are a lot of ignorant people out there, keep your values and what YOU believe in, in check. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and in the world of social media and free speech; make those decisions wisely. As Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.”

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2 Comments

  1. William says:

    It’s not fair that your eyes hypnotize me while I’m reading the posts. It’s kind of distracting 🙂

  2. mcbias says:

    I was sitting in a restaurant and it was so odd to watch each table react as they found out the news. The chef came out of the kitchen and was celebrating with a table–it was something else!

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