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Growth Is Optional

Welcome to 2013! We can finally bid 2012 adieu as we peer into the future with the hope to gain the best return on investment possible. Change, transition, clean slate. We have heard all of these words recently whether it is in our personal or professional lives. How we move forward will define how those changes will really affect us. A lot has happened in 2012: Conference realignment, brand changes, memorable marketing campaigns, break ups and make ups, PR disasters, coaching carousels, cutting ties, engagements, marriages, home buying, family additions, road trips, vacations, Netflix marathons. Whatever it was this year, reflecting on what has happened over the last 366 days is healthy … identifying mistakes and remembering positive memories. Believing in ourselves. Being happy. It doesn’t matter if what happened was life-changing, or if those changes were so minor it has become an afterthought, those changes have altered how we perceive our external environment and characterize our behavior and who we are. Our personal lives should mesh seamlessly with our work and so should the people that are in it. I realized that support is critical in moving forward and you need to surround yourself with those that share core common interests (if nothing else, for personal sanity). It is very easy to get lost in a selfish mindset without the support of friends, family and those closest to you.

Regardless, we are constantly attempting to adjust to circumstances that are beyond our control, especially when the future is potentially unknown. The way we communicate and offer support has changed drastically in the past two years. More and more people have taken to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, blog posting, etc. to offer their opinion and show their love (and sometimes hatred). Some air their dirty laundry publicly for all to see and some choose to keep it private. I feel like the idea of how to properly communicate with others is lost sometimes. You would think that with the opportunities for “instant” communication, you would be able to figure out what others are thinking, feeling, acting … nope. Not even remotely close. This, too, can cross over between personal and professional relationships. Do you effectively communicate how you feel toward your best friend or significant other? What about your boss/co-workers? For me, and for those that know me, it takes a LOT for me to get truly angry. I try to remain positive and optimistic as much as possible. People often know how I’m feeling and when I’m angry, people know it. There are so many reasons why we choose to communicate the way we do and how we channel that information properly to those around us. A new year often means identifying goals we can make for ourselves and resolutions that can help make this year more enjoyable than the last. Everyone has heard the phrase “YOLO” (You Only Live Once), right? So often we forget how true this actually is. One simple way to achieve the goals we make for ourselves is by realizing how important communication is with ourselves and with others and channel those details in a positive way. How can you possibly sell someone an idea if you don’t believe in it yourself? Instead of asking yourself why, how about why not? We have all experienced some form of tragedy in our lives. Unfortunately, some have experienced it far worse than others, but using a combination of support and good communication can help us move forward with these issues. Becoming smarter about certain setbacks starts with being prepared. This is true for sports teams, business pitches or asking someone out on a first date. There is always a fear of rejection and there is always someone who is out there, ready to shatter your confidence. Using what you know, however, allows you to recreate the approach on how to better handle yourself and your relationships moving forward. Once you do get that “yes” and reach those goals, it makes it much easier to mimic a similar solution in the future. The key to success in anything is allowing yourself the opportunity to actually TRY, and that involves taking risks and being creative. Act as if.

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Red Bull Stratos…serious
motivation! (via jalopnik.com)

I would love to share an excerpt from one of my favorite books, “Marketing Outrageously” by Jon Spolestra. The book is about how to increase revenue by thinking outside the box, using creative ways to express marketing strategies in business. I say, redesign that box or throw it away completely.One of the chapters in the book mentions two tasks that everyone should do. The first is to ask yourself a question. Fill in the blank: “What’s it going to take to ________________ this year.” It’s a question every person should ask themselves regularly. It’s that little motivation that can go a long way, much like having that size-too-small pair of pants hanging up in full view in your apartment as motivation to work out more and eat healthier to fit in to them. The hardest part isn’t necessarily finding the answer to the question, but actually asking the question to begin with. The book also suggests that you write the question down on a note card or sticky note and keep it in your wallet or pocket, or somewhere you can instantly access it. This isn’t a question that needs to be looked at all the time, or shown to anyone. The fact that it’s there should be a reminder to keep you focused and on the right track. The ability to create your own luck in 2013 can be fostered by a foundation of support and motivation. If you constantly do things for others, why not ask yourself what do *I* want. If you constantly do things for yourself, why not ask yourself what do *others* want. Are you the leading actor/actress in your own movie? Are you the face of your own personal brand? If not, there needs to be some adjustments made in the new year. Pay it forward and always network, whether it is virtual or in person.
Up and coming sports agent and Hi-Def Rep CEO Heather Deranek suggests a quote she often tells her current and
potential clients:
“Patience – It won’t happen all at once. You can only control what YOU do. You have to believe that if you keep working hard, it will pay off. Even during more difficult times in which you are struggling, never lose sight of your goal and your belief in yourself.”

After speaking with her, I realized that this quote is something I should be telling myself daily. We all have those inspirational quotes that we find from time to time that we can relate to, but sometimes we don’t actually use them for real benefit. You cannot possibly grow and move on if you don’t embody the motivation and communication required to succeed. I have learned to take my own advice. I’ve grown a lot in the past year, for the better. I have been introduced to some amazing people in my life and reconnected with some of those from my past. Timing has been a consistent theme in my life and I am excited to see what 2013 has to offer. Certain opportunities that are right on the horizon makes me realize that every downhill has its uphill and for that I will continue to have a big smile on my face. Always remember to smile more. It makes people wonder what you’re up to.

Understanding Brand Elements

I recently had to give a presentation on understanding how to choose certain brand elements to help build brand equity. Creating something from scratch is not easy, and neither is modifying it! Once you have chosen a brand name, what next? You already have your product or service ready for launch, and after a long arduous process, you have found a brand name that fits. The next challenge is figuring out how to promote it and market it successfully. Each brand and company is unique and should use certain elements that works best for them. This includes altering it to fit it with modern times or to update an perception of what you are selling. Many companies have had makeovers with new advertising campaigns but fail to pull it off when marketing to the masses, especially global campaigns. Upon request, I decided to post my presentation and added my notes to the bottom so there is a clear understanding of the different kinds of brand elements and how they can be used in a positive way to help market, manage and build equity on a product. This presentation was used as a guide to help community managers and marketers understand the basic principles of core marketing and advertising, with cited examples. What are some of your favorite examples of brand elements, feel free to share!

Entertainment and Sports Equals Art

I will start today’s thoughts off with a line from one of my all-time favorite television shows from the 90s, NBC’s hit, Saved By The Bell… What is art? Are we art? Is art, art? Lisa Turtle does raise an excellent point, despite not being herself, trying to impress the over-pompous and very studious Brian to make sure he takes her to the school dance. [Sidebar: I’m a big fan of the series and enjoy watching them. You can, too – they are available to watch on Netflix]. She does raise a good point, and interestingly enough, each industry we happen to be a part of is a form of expression and art, in a way. The sports and entertainment industry, to me, is just that…art. An unique form of expression that you can share with the world. It is one of the few industries that allows you the ability to create different types of art, even if you are not an artist yourself.

The collaboration between a production staff to create entertainment products stimulates the mind and body. This is what also makes it extremely competitive. Some people call it “High risk, low reward.” I call it “high risk, high value”. Yes, the theories are true, starting out in either sports or entertainment, you will find it is a lot more challenging than you think. The grunt work becomes tireless, you often hit walls you cannot break through, and even if you aren’t looking to be the next Meryl Streep, you are still hoping the next big break will happen when you least expect it.

Success in this industry, like any other industry, is dependent on the quality you bring to the table. I am not talking about tweeting your favorite celebrity, hoping you will hear a response. It is possible to earn your way up the ladder to reach your ultimate goals.

via NBC’s Smash

Who doesn’t want to find something they love to do and be able to share that with others? For some, it’s electrical engineering, orthopedic surgery, or pastry chefs who makes exquisite desserts. Each job involves some sort of art feature, so what sets apart sports and entertainment from the rest of the industries?

The ability of trial and error. It is a unique brand all of its own, very distinct in a category that targets peoples emotions. The quote “Nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you try” comes to mind…Thanks, George & Ira Gershwin.

Lets go back for a moment. Despite the fact that 90% of what you see on the surface of any production is created and nurtured by hundreds or thousands of people you never and probably won’t hear of, it is critical that you learn to appreciate them.

ESPN production truck

Growing up and performing in musical theater, the “techies” were the most integral part of the show. They gave us a sound, a voice, costumes, lighting, make up, and thanks to the directors, producers, and stage managers, a script and blocking to follow.

2012 NBA Finals

This isn’t an industry of necessity where people NEED to watch Adam Sandler’s latest movie, or watch Emily from The Bachelorette take 43 minutes to give four different guys boutonniere roses, or the NEED to watch LeBron and Durant battle it out for World NBA Domination. But, how do sports and entertainment often cross over you ask? Think about it. What is CBS Sports? What is ESPN? Who is NBC? Who is Warner Brothers? Film, media, broadcasting, fashion, music, radio, television, and theater. It also includes levels of marketing, research, writing, editing, public relations, advertising, photography, promotions and monitoring levels of success (lawyers, financial analysts, agents, even social media strategists). Maybe you’re in the entertainment business and don’t even realize it! The list doesn’t stop there, though, it just keeps evolving and changing.

For me, I cannot really imagine myself in any other industry. Growing up around sports my entire life and having a strong appreciation for theater and film made me who I am today.

It was an outlet for me to learn how to express myself and has afforded me the chance to take my emotions and channel it into producing viable results.It is all about the product value chain. What efforts are we making to get to the next level of accomplishment?

Regardless of what is happening in the economy these days, from a macro-economic stand point, people are more likely to spend money on things that make them happy, despite its higher cost levels. What is important is why we love what we do.

serious NCAA domination

My friend Jenna says it best, “it’s the human element of sports and entertainment that is the reason why we love it so much. It is the connection with other fans, players and people who enjoy the same things we do that connect us as human beings.”

How, during a season, whether its 10 episodes or a 31-game regular season,

(Note – College basketball: 27 regular season games and up to 4 games if in an in-season tournament – Source: NCAA 2010-2011 Division I Manual, Section 17.3.5 Number of Contests) you can experience the full range of human emotions.It is the drive that makes us get up every day and do whatever it is that we do and sometimes, prove others completely wrong.

Don Draper had a pretty great speech during one of the last episodes of Mad Men this past season. Dramatic and insightful, he mentions there is always a need for change, business is business, but ultimately, you will need to accept the fact that satisfaction is temporary, and you need those in the industry to bring you to that optimum level of achievement:

Don: “I want to talk about your business. Looking at what you’re doing you’re in desperate need of change. This is about your business. I’m sure they [current agency] are very happy with you, but you don’t owe them anything. All they have to do is keep running the same work. You’re on the back burner over there; subsidizing all the creative work they’ve been doing..paying for new business lunches, and as soon as you walk away from that place, it will fold up like a tent.

Company A: We’re at 50% market share in almost everything we make.

Don: Because you have a big line of diverse, and charismatic products and you keep make more. Zip tape, styrofoam, Rovana… and why do you keep doing that? Because even though success is a reality, its effects are temporary. You get hungry even though you’ve just eaten… (I blame the Food Network and Pinterest)

They reply: “We’re happy with our agency..”

Don: “Are you…You’re happy with 50%? You’re on top and you don’t have enough. You’re happy because you’re successful, for now. But what is happiness? Its a moment before you need more happiness. I won’t settle for 50% of anything I want 100%. You’re happy with your agency? You’re not happy with anything. You don’t want most of it, you want all of it, and I won’t stop until I get all of it. Thank you for your time.

This floored me, talk about a good pitch. He couldn’t be more right. Yes, we do what we love to do, but it also means sacrifice…Long hours, often little reward (at first). But it will happen and sometimes you need to just roll with the punches to get what you want. You can either embrace it, not settle for the bare minimum, or, using the tools that are often right in front of you, get yourself to that 100%. Surround yourself with others that share the same mindset as you do, appreciate your hard work, and understand and accept the sacrifices you have made to get to your 100%. I had to go back and listen to it several times to let it sink in.

There is a reason people are hired and challenged daily to accomplish tasks and goals. People are hired in this industry because our emotions change so often that those in our craft try hard everyday to satisfy those changes. Whether it is in journalism, social media, marketing, promotions or public relations or another field, always be asking questions. Find your niche. Find your 100%.

Personal Brand Identification: Change

In marketing and advertising, we talk about brands, logos and redesigns all the time. What makes them unique? Will it help the company with this change?  Is it worth the investment? Will this change, make a difference and ultimately “change” the ROI to be worth it? We can relate to this in our own lives too, especially those who are on a path to discovering who they are as a person and establishing their own brand identity.

I have literally taken a Break In The Action myself…a couple month hiatus, but now I am back, including having read several sports biz books on my previous post you can find here. I had been thinking of a good post…and there were so many topics I could choose from, ones that I related to and ones that were relevant to right now…I often channel what I am feeling through music lyrics, however, I couldn’t really do that either. I am excited to get back in the swing of things and start writing again. As always, topics are welcome at any time!

Knowing that my main focus of this post was change, I decided to look up the word: to transform or convert, to become different, to become altered or modified, to pass gradually into, a change or exchange, metamorphosis, revolutionize, modification, development; variation… there are a lot of meanings of the word “change”. Even over the past several months there is change all around you. All of a sudden Facebook statuses begin to go from “i am so hung over” to “I haven’t slept, the baby kept me up til 3am”. Still, way too much information to share on a social media website, but yet, it’s a form of change we are seeing more frequently as we get older.

I thought of how I’ve changed, if I have changed at all…I’d like to think I have toward a positive direction. I sat for a few minutes today thinking what has evolved over the past several months. Was I able to control it? Not even a little bit. Several recent “fortuitous” encounters had both fortunate and unfortunate consequences…could I control them? Nope. I have looked at those changes, or meetings or events as “happy accidents”. The recent changes have also made me realize that I need to stop trying to control and just let things fall as they may, obviously with proven effort behind it. Hopefully the good from these encounters will be bigger than the bad.

I’d love to share a quote that I read in a book I have just started to read. I have a feeling I’ll be jotting down a few of these quotes from time to time. This one reads: “Bread takes the effort of kneading but also requires sitting quietly while the dough rises with a power all its own.” How spiritual are we talking here? That’s for each person to decide. But it does give an important message. Not only is there effort to be made to get the result we eventually want, but the patience and resistance of not trying to speedy up the process of change.

While it isn’t exactly bread, although I do love watching Food Network (for hours) and attempting to make my own delicious creations, bread can mean just about anything, but allowing one’s self to do something different or out of our comfort zone while continuing on the familiarity lines we’re used to. I firmly believe life is very similar to the weather; we can predict it and try to expect it and attempt to prepare for it as best we can. Sometimes preparing works in our favor, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes there are disasters that happen so fast there’s nothing left to do afterwards but pick up the pieces and try to move on.

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Look at the redesign Starbucks has done since the 1970s. They have created a more simplistic design and look, taking off the brand name completely because it is already recognizable. Other brands like Nike, Shell, and Apple have done this. Since Starbucks’ change in 2011, they have launched “green” campaigns with the redesign, emphasizing the current environmental issues in today’s society. Not only was there a logo change, but a company-wide change as well. Because of that, it continued to be successful. As a personal preference, I liked the older logo with the text, but not everyone would agree with me. With us as people, perhaps its also true we need a full-body redesign to accompany new changes that happen in our lives.

I have also noticed that a lot of change includes identifying certain things that we can see that might not have been there before, perhaps more visible, more vibrant. It is in our nature to analyze, over analyze and over analyze again to reach the ultimate satisfaction, but that too, comes with change. In marketing and advertising, sometimes, change is necessary, a logo here, a revamp of a package design to keep up with the latest trends and bring it into 2012. In sports it happens constantly, some learn to accept it and continue on much faster than others; and some completely are resistant like oil and water. That saying, “actions speak louder than words” emulates into business and the value of life. At some point, changes need to happen and we can either accept it for what it is and roll with the punches and adapt to it, or crawl into a hole and live in a land of sunshine and lollypops (which, actually, would be kind of cool, but only for a couple days). 

I try not to be preachy, but I found myself setting goals for myself: for the day, for the week, for the month, whatever. Acknowledge feelings, talk them out. It has helped me and I am sure can help you, too, even if everything is peachy keen. Allowing ourselves to be flexible gives us a chance to grow with whatever changes that are coming our way. In being flexible that also means to express your feelings outside of just talking about it. Working out helps a LOT. Extremely therapeutic. Everyone has something they can do to relieve stress whether it be cooking, writing, sleeping, being romantic with someone else, whatever helps.

Change will happen regardless, it’s up to us to see where we go with it. What kind of bread will YOU be baking? Mine? A lovely braided challah; complicated to make, but delicious and WELL worth the wait. I’d like to leave you with some notable brand logos that have changed/evolved over time, why? Because they are pretty.Image

Sports Biz Reading List

So after tonight’s Sports Business Chat (Twitter, #sbchat hashtag, Sunday nights at 9:30pm ET), It gave me a great idea. Even with our busy schedules with school and work, we choose to read what we are interested in.  We read topics about different topics we enjoy to expand our minds and continue learning new things. I decided to start compiling a list of great books worth reading starting with aforementioned books already discussed as must-reads this coming year. This list is comprised of mostly sports business books and similarly related texts. It can include anything from business-directed focuses, strictly sports, social media content, etc. Feel free to send me a message of your favorites, if they aren’t on the list and if they are on Twitter, please include their handle for a follow! I’ll make sure to update it as often as I can! Enjoy!

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Winning the Customer by: Lou Imbriano (@LouImbriano)

Scorecasting by: Tobias Moskowitz/Jon Wetheim

The Power of Who by: Bob Beaudine (@YouGotWho)

Beyond the Scoreboard: An Insider’s Guide to Business of Sport by: Rick Horrow/Karla Swatek

License to Deal by: Jerry Crasnick

Never Eat Alone by: Keith Ferrazzi

Take Time for Paradise: Americans and Their Games by: A. Bartlett Giamatti

The Tipping Point by: Malcolm Gladwell

Veeck as in Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck by: Bill Veeck

A Career in Sports: Advice from Sports Business Leaders by Michelle Wells

Poke the Box by: Seth Godin

Purple Cow & Linchpin by: Seth Godin

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by: Steven R. Covey

Planet of the UmpsA Baseball Life from Behind the Plate by: Ken Kaiser/David Fisher

The Thank You Economy by: Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) 

Brandwashed by: Martin Lindstrom

Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney by: Lee Cockerell

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by: Dan Ariely

Marketing Outrageously by: Jon Spoelstra

The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First by: Jonah Keri

Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage by: Daniel C. Esty/Andrew S. Winston

Intercollegiate Athletics and the American University by: James J. Duderstat

The Business of Happiness by: Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis)

How to Win at the Sport of Business by: Mark Cuban (@mcuban)



Messy to Managed

So another few weeks have gone by, and I have so much to catch you up on, however the sports news throughout the time I’ve been MIA has been no doubt driven into your minds to the point of now you can tell ME the latest. (Just an FYI, its been 132 days since the lock out…will it finally end today??) July has been one busy month!! Classes started back and despite papers and lots of reading, learning about international business is actually pretty interesting.

I also went through ALL of my clothes (and believe me, there were a lot) and donated trash bags full to charity. Getting rid of that clutter really helped. Mind you I haven’t gone through half the stuff at my parents’ house since high school. So I also went through papers, binders and a ton of old photos. I kept what I wanted and got rid of the rest. Long time coming. It helps to do this at least twice a year, if not once ever several months. You’ll be surprised how much better you will feel when you clear your space of things that aren’t needed. Everyone has stress, from work, relationships (both personal and professional) or whatever is going on at home. What about those little annoyances that get in your way? Traffic on the beltway (495 corridor anyone?) What about that one Facebook status that gets under your skin? Or a thoughtless text message from a friend you haven’t heard from in months asking you for a favor? Sometimes the problem isn’t even you; it’s your significant other or the people you live with. It’s time to have that talk.

Believe me, we have all been there. One of the best ways to de-stress is working out. I know, somewhat of a cliché, but it does make you feel better about things when you can take out your aggression on a punching bag. But there are other ways, too. Some people like to read, draw, cook, blast Ke$ha in your car. Hey, whatever helps!

For me, personally, my room is a reflection of what is going on in my mind. If it’s messy, my mind is, if it’s clean, I can concentrate better and the overall feeling I get is just different. You know that feeling when you have traveled a long distance and you first go into a really nice hotel room, bed made, great view? Think of your bedroom or office as a similar space. Clean, organized and ready for you to tackle whatever it is you have to do. Interestingly enough, these organizational skills are learned when we are in elementary school. Writing down tasks for the week, designated cubby areas, setting aside specific “me” time to play with our favorite toys… hello, NCAA Madden ’12! All we need is a nap mat, some graham crackers, a box of apple juice and we’ll be in business!

via organize-your-room

De-cluttering can also mean organizing all those incoming PDF’s on your computer. Can you see your desktop background still? Sometimes one work week can be more stressful than the next, but if you have some down time, make the effort to organize those files into easily accessible folders (this can be done in an office or at home, too) and keeping bills or papers you need nearby. I threw away game notes from some game back in 2010 the other day…why I felt the need to keep it, I’ll never know.

Once that is done, now what? There are other ways besides getting rid of or organizing your possessions. Take a look at your schedule. Does your personal commitments often parallel your work commitments? Are you happy with the daily routine? If not, make some changes, cut out unnecessary obligations. Change your bedroom furniture around or put your desk underneath a window. Bringing in natural light can cause fewer headaches during the day since you aren’t using a lamp. Don’t have any plants in the house or at work? Get one. It impacts well-being. Check out this article on the benefits of office plants. Do what is right for you and set up a system that keeps YOU happy. The others will fall in line and understand. If your friends are mad at you for not going out on a Saturday night and drinking until 4am after working a 16-hour day on your feet, then its about time you throw them into the bag, too.

You will realize that you are more proactive in getting those tasks done, and can further your goals of success without even realizing it. Still stuck? Here’s a couple of good links to get you started:

Zen Habits on how to “Declutter” via @zen_habits – http://zenhabits.net/zen-mind-how-to-declutter/

Feeling spiritual? Feng Shui your place. I’ve done it and it DOES work! Find out more about the elements theory and color expression: http://fengshui.about.com/od/thebasics/qt/fiveelements.htm

More Feng Shui how-to’s:
**Each room in your house or apartment
**Your home/work office

Language Connects Us

I have finally recovered! Good news, though, I got an A in my Marketing Management and Innovations class and summer is here! What an experience the 111th U.S. Open was. Strip away the greatness of Rory McIlroy and the U.S. Open overall, you have: long hours, random storms and driving more rental cars in one week than I ever have in my life. Being in the company of the ESPN Elite, the USGA, NBC and the greats of professional golf all around the world was pretty incredible. I was lucky enough, as a member of the media, to be able to have both my phone and my camera and got to take several pictures with the few minutes of downtime I had. Just a couple:

inside the press conference room

SportsCenter set

Andy being...Andy

me behind the desk

Building relationships during a tournament like that are so important. First of all, you need to make them fairly quickly … and by quickly I mean within the first half hour of the meet, especially if you’re going to be with working with someone closely on a project for the next several days. Expanding your networking foundation further helps you along within the sports industry (or any industry, really). It was great to find out that some of the people I met had mutual friends that I knew well. Sometimes I feel like the world is too small, then again, as much as I feel like I network, and talk to, it is not all that surprising.

People constantly ask, “Why do you talk to random people or say hello to random strangers while walking down the street?” Same answer I always give: Why not? I often find a cheery disposition is always pleasant to be around, regardless of how you actually feel. It is too often that I interact with those who are standoffish or come off as depressed and cynical and not optimistic about walking one foot in front of the other. I like to surround myself around good, hard working, strong people who are similar to my personality. When I would be working at the Verizon Center during basketball season, I would always see the staff and ushers on a regular basis and ALWAYS say hello and cordial. Think of the fans and people THEY have to deal with.  I have been this way ever since I can remember and with the advances of social media I can talk to people all over the world on just about any topic I want. Pretty cool, huh? The advancement in networking through social media and learning through technology has been mind-blowing. “Socialenomics” as the term is coined, (founded by Eric Qualman: @equalman) was founded “with the intent of providing short social stories, statistics, studies and surprises” (Check out the book, a pretty good read: http://amzn.to/kaObSW ).

Today’s standard vocabulary jargon over the past few years as been changed significantly. Phrases and words like: Tweet Me, Follow Me, StumbleUpon Me, Digg Me, Like Me, Text Me, Poke, Unlike, Tag Me and Don’t Defriend Me,  have become common terms within the social media language and expected to understand universally throughout the world. It started to show an increase when instant messaging and texting became more popular. Practicing to speak in 140 characters or less has become common. I have gone so far as to leave to go grab a drink from my friend’s kitchen and said, (face to face in person, by the way) I’ll “brb.” I had to stop myself and let it all soak in. It’s taken over the world, a true pandemic. It is hard to explain how much in just a few short words or statistics, but this video I found (via Qualman is absolutely fantastic and some of it may surprise you)

Bottom line is: Social Media is here and has its hand in everything; specifically in my industry of Sports and Entertainment. Learn the language and become a part of the conversation!

I leave you with a pretty cool idea that I hope will catch on in the near future. Recently done at a Manchester City game, (The Pittsburgh Steelers have also done this) was a new fan experience using Google Streetview and social media outlets that I hope catches on. The 360 degree camera followed the stadium during the pitch pre-game. This not only gets fans to drive traffic to a website but encourages fun “finding yourself”.

For those that don’t want to be found… to each their own, but for those like myself that do, don’t be afraid to say, “hello” in any language.

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