Monday, November 29, 2010

NFL and Facebook

About The NFL
The National Football League is a professional American football league consisting of thirty-two teams divided into two conferences- National Football Conference (NFC) and American Football Conference (AFC)- of four divisions (East, North, South, West) each who compete each fall to play in and win the Super Bowl, America’s most watched sporting event annually. The professional league is a multi-billion dollar business is overseen by a commissioner elected by each of the thirty-two members and an executive committee (composed of one representative from each league member). The league formally organized in 1920 under the name American Professional Football Association (APFA). Two years later, APFA changed its name to the National Football League. After three failed attempts to establish a rival league and a fourth resulting in a merger with the NFL, Dallas franchise owner Lamar Hunt successfully created the American Football League (AFL) in 1959. Nearly ten years later, the two leagues formally merged and featured respective league winners in a end-of-season championship match-up, a match-up which would later be deemed the “Super Bowl.” In 1970, the teams of the former American Football League formed the American Football Conference of the National Football League. All other non-AFL franchises formed the National Football Conference of the National Football League.

About Facebook
Facebook is perhaps the most popular social network on the Internet. Launched in February of 2004 by four Harvard University students (Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Hughes, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin) from their dorm room, the network quickly expanded to other Ivy League schools such as Columbia University and Yale University as well as Stanford University on the west coast. The company received financial backing from Accel Partners, Greylock Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, and others in 2005 and 2006. Initially designed for college students, the company opened up to high school students and older users. The network also expanded into news coverage by partnering with ABC News to cover the 2008 U.S. Presidential Debates and integrating with CNN beginning in 2009.

Facebook is an online social network that connects users to other users, namely their family, friends, and acquaintances. After registering with the web site, Facebook directs the user to set up an account including common elements such as a profile picture, information (gender, birthday, political/religious views, education and work, likes and interests), and photographs. Once set, a user can “friend” another user by sending a “friend request.” The new “friends” can then post messages on the walls of each others’ profile or send messages via Facebook inbox. They may also share uploaded links to other Internet web sites, tag each other in photographs or notes, and even “chat” which is Facebook’s own answer to Instant Messenger. Businesses, non-profit organizations, musicians, celebrities and other entities can set up a Facebook Page by which to promote their product, service, or image and better communicate with their customer or fan.

NFL on Facebook

Simon Heseltine of SearchEngineWatch offers some numbers in terms of fans who like the NFL’s Facebook pages: “The average NFL Facebook page has 368,932 fans, with the St. Louis Rams being the team with the least support at 53,745, and the Dallas Cowboys coming in at the top of the pile with 5,556,766 fans.”

Paula Duffy of the Sports Examiner reports that NFL teams are using the social networking site as a tool to run background checks on draft prospects. She writes of one incident involving one team: “In one case, the Minnesota Vikings found disturbing photos of a prospect that included him sitting on the floor with piles of drug and cash… the young man was grilled on the subject and apparently the team was satisfied with his explanation after investigation.” Duffy details one tactic that at least one franchise uses on new prospects; that of the “ghost profile.” If the prospect accepts the “ghost” as a friend, then the team has access to his profile. This is easily a trickle-down sentiment from Commissioner Roger Goodell who has strove to clean up the NFL’s off-the-field image.

In an interview with Elaine Wong for Brandweek, NFL Online General Manager Laura Goldberg explained why the league used social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter so aggressively in the time leading up to the 2009 Draft: "I would call it fan engagement. The fans are incredibly engaged in the draft and all things NFL. Frankly, they want more and more information." Goldberg goes on to explain that the NFL launched a Facebook Widget that "has news and information and videos and on the day of the Draft, it will put each pick as it happens so you can follow it from your Facebook page as well." This is all of a bigger effort by the NFL to expand fan involvement. Chris Crum of WebProNews adds that Goldberg comments, "It's to get more people coming to our site more often and to get those people more engaged and by more engaged, it's more page views, more videos and to have them spend more time on our site." Clearly, beyong greater fan involvement lies the NFL's motivation to attract more visitors to its website which is why it posts breaking news headlines and videos on its Facebook Page wall as links which take the visitor back to

The NFL is currently using its Facebook Page to encourage fans to vote for the 2011 Pro Bowl coming up at the end of January. Some individual NFL players have taken the initiative to launch a Facebook campaign for their fans' votes. Jennifer Van Grove  of Mashable reports that before last year's Pro Bowl, New York Giants Wide Receiver Steve Smith encourage his fans' involvement by sponsoring a contest with prizes such as tickets, paid hotel fare and paid air fare to the Pro Bowl for the winner.

Despite the NFL's embrace of social media, the league announced at the start of the 2009 regular season certain restrictions for players, coaches, officials, and other game day personnel. The NFL declared that tweeting and other social media activity was permitted up until 90 minutes to kick-off and after formal post-game press conferences. Any kind of social media activity during the game is prohibited. This is an effort on the part of the NFL to curtail rampant breaking news from players as well as incorrect statements passed off as news.

The Future
I believe that the NFL and other professional sports leagues will continue to expand into social media platforms and integrate them with mainstream news outlets in news coverage.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Home Field: Introduction

Sizzling hot dogs and fresh, off-the-grill hamburgers piled with ketchup, mustard, and "the works"... vendors pitching stringy, sticky (and dare I say, pinkish) cotton candy along with all other sorts of treats to would-be customers up and down and down and up the stadium steps over and over again... the larger-than-life, nearly godlike unseen voice of the announcer on the intercom booming and echoing throughout the stands... runaway whistles from down on the field and up in the stands and everywhere in between... the indiscernible mumbling and grumbling followed by the seemingly ever-present sound of colliding bodies ricocheting up from the field... and, of course, hundreds of thousands of people decked out in team colors cheering, booing, clapping, stomping as one collective vocal force, a force to be reckoned with... all of these elements, together, bring to life that most sacred of college football institutions: the Home Field.

The nation of college football is dotted with stadiums. These large, architecturally impressive structures reach high into the sky, overshadowing the rest of the campuses they call home. Quiet and empty during the week, these cathedrals of football fill up on Game Day with life and a presence rarely unmatched in our culture. Much like how the Sun functions as the center of the solar system, so does the stadium dictate how the local community shall conduct its day.

In the following series of blog postings of which I would like to title "Home Field," your humble blogger would like to tour these different landmarks of College Football Nation. We will briefly learn the history of each stadium we visit as well as highlight its unique features that set it apart as the pride and joy of its respective empire.

We will begin our journey in the Southeastern Conference at the Divsion I-A (FBS) level. Join me in my next posting, as I travel cross-state to Athens for a look at Georgia's very own "Dawg House," Sanford Stadium.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Screencasting- showing ESPN's online website

Screencasting Example

In this video, an instructor teaches the viewer how to use Skype. The first step is to type in Skype's web address ( into the Internet browser's address bar at the top. Next, the visitor should click on Download and follow the instructions for downloading the software. While following the steps, the user should check to make sure the downloading software is compatible with whichever platform the user has (PC or MAC). Once download is complete, open up the program. MAC users should drap Skype into their applications. PC and MAC users are encouraged to place the software on their desktop or dashboard.

When describing any kind of online activity or how to use some software program, screencasting is has far more advantages than written instructions. This is because screencasting is a far more visual method in which the viewers may see with their own eyes the instructor completing each of the necessary steps to accomplish the desired task. Viewers can become familiar with icons and jargon related to the specific program.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Food Lion and Facebook

Food Lion is one of the largest supermarket companies in the United States of America. Founded as Food Town in 1957, the supermarket giant is currently a subsidiary of the Delhaize Group, which is anchored in Brussels, Belgium. Like many companies, Food Lion has created a page on social network heavyweight, Facebook. On their page, the company briefly describes their founding in the "Basic Info" section and in addition lists several websites some of which are links to their accounts on other social media sites. Food Lion also has a company overview that details the current ownership of the company. Below their overview, they list their mission.

Food Lion follows Antony Mayfield's eighth tip. They go far beyond merely having a Facebook page. They allow customers to comment on any upcoming sales promotions. Visitors to the page can also write on Food Lion's wall. This allows effective communication between Food Lion and its market.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Social Media and ABC News

With the onset of social media several years ago, many traditional news outlets including television/ radio newscasts and newspapers have explored this potentially viable new frontier. ABC News, for one, has used popular social media networks MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter as new platforms to connect with their viewership more intimately. MySpace and Twitter users for instance can catch up on the latest headlines from ABC News. Those who follow the news outlet on Twitter actually receive these latest headlines in the form of tweets.

ABC News' relationship with Facebook goes even farther. In addition to hosting their own page on Facebook in which they post links back to their website under the "information" tab as well as posting news videos and stories with hyperlinks again back to their website, they have actually partnered with the social media giant in news coverage. The best and most groundbreaking example of this new relationship would be the 2008 United State of America presidential debates between Republican  candidate John McCain and eventual winner, Democratic candidate Barak Obama. Most recently, ABC News again partnered with Facebook to cover the mid-term United States of America senatorial election debate in Florida between Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek, Republican candidate Marco Rubio, and independent incumbent Charlie Crist. As one of the features of Facebook, viewers may "comment" on ABC News' postings and express their opinions.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Facebook Perspectives

I have actually never used MySpace. My very first social network experience belongs to Facebook. I had heard about MySpace from many of my friends and classmates in high school and at church, but I just never took the time to discover what it was. It was through my older sister that I first heard of Facebook as she already had an account set up. However, it was not until the summer after high school graduation (July of 2007, to be specific) when I actually joined Facebook at the urging of a friend.

I havel always been active in my Facebook use (arguably, a little too active!). Like most college students, I reconnected with old friends from high school and even farther back than that. Lately, I've actually been able to meet, for the first time, extended members of my family. While I imagine that some of my friends still have a profile on MySpace, I think many of them have transferred over to Facebook (at least until Facebook started becoming rather gimmicky!).

The Facebook group that I chose to highlight in this post is Mr. Drello... The Man Who Needs No Introduction. This group was created by two guys who graduated two years ahead of me at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, GA. It's targeted specifically to those of us who had the audacity to register for Honors World History sophmore year. The class was taught by a man named Mr. Drello (first name unknown, at least by me... after all, "Mr. Drello" was all I needed to remember when addressing him!). As the title of the group explains, this man really needs no introduction at least not to those of us who took him. Professionally speaking, he is an excellent teacher. Personality-wise... well, he can't really be explained only experienced! Needless to say, he is something of a celebrity within the McEachern community and someone possibly even bordering on immortal status!

The Facebook page that I select to discuss is Atlanta Braves. Surprise, it's another sports reference! The Atlanta Braves are my favorite baseball team and are probably the team I follow most of any of the major sports teams, even more than the other Atlanta market ones. Growing up, my family rooted for the Braves. It was a rare summer night when we didn't, at some point, turn to TBS, Turner South (now SportsSouth), or FOX Sports South to watch the game. I can probably recite from memory more players that have played at one time or another with the Braves than I can with the Falcons, Hawks, or Thrashers. Not surprisingly, the Braves will always hold a special place in my heart.