Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Will Blog for Feedback, Please Help

That's perhaps the next roadside sign of the information age.

Last week I attended a two-day conference on the growing role of video in collegiate sports, yet you know what the number one topic of discussion REALLY was at the "College Sports Video Summit"...?

Social media...what it is, where it's going, how to use it, and so on and so on...everybody practically needs a cyber-compass to figure out what direction to turn next...

Turns out it wasn't that long ago that colleges and conferences were actually being warned off of these new avenues of communication altogether, and now they're being told to jump in with both feet. Seems like every conversation, panel discussion, or speech began with the essential place video must play, particularly for web presence these days, but ended with what's happening on Twitter (and Facebook, the blogs, YouTube, and others).

Yeah, and "so what?" you may well ask.

Well, here's the thing: the next word that inevitably crept into these social media discussions was "monetization"--how can money be squeezed from this free-for-all frenzy? What will these sites come to look like and what will they deliver for both the source and the recipient in the future?

That's where we need you, dear reader (as the great Stan Lee would say).

YOUR FEEDBACK will help chart the next course for the online family of the Big South Conference. You need to keep these social media, well, SOCIAL! Give voice and direction to these outlets, or they could just turn out to be undifferentiated sites--and yes, likely with ads dropped on them or incorporated eventually, but without being very helpful to any of us if they don't develop their own momentum or sense of purpose...
So, what am I talking about here?

Our main website went online several years ago, of course, but in the last year and a half, it has gone from being an exclusive home base to being the flagship of a growing (and global) fleet.

Big South SHOUT, this very blog, has over a year under its belt from launching in early 2008, and may well be considered the first mate of this Conference armada...in that role, it's the ideal place to start this discussion...

YouTube.com/BigSouthSports joined the fray primarily to allow another way for the "Best of the Best" 25th Anniversary videos to reach the public, but soon became a home to more...

Twitter.com/BigSouthSports and the Big South Conference Facebook Fan Page arrived in quick order, rounding out the stable of what is now theoretically the "Mount Rushmore" of new media opportunities, particularly as regarded through the vague filter/label of "social media." Primary websites have graduated into traditional media in the eyes of some--you realize that the current generation has grown up entirely in the personal computer and internet age, don't you? At this point, younger readers naturally say, "Yeah, of course," while older generations may think, "Oh my, never really thought of it that way."

Okay, so we pretty much have the new baseline established--now it's all about "what's next"!!!

Main site: a redesign is in the works--is there anything in your opinion that must be added/removed or changed--what do YOU want out of BigSouthSports.com, the Official Site of the Big South Conference?

SHOUT blog: this very forum--more opinions, more perspectives, more frequency (or less of any of those)? Tell us the dynamics you want by offering comments--and help support this venue by subscribing or bookmarking and reading, forwarding links, etc.

Twitter: a big one, just because it's growing so fast on all fronts...the obvious way to help is to follow BigSouthSports and encourage others to do the same--let's get the "following" number way up there so updates spread quickly, and again, let us know what you want more or less of from the Twitter feed.

Facebook: so far, we've been slow to generate "fans" of the Big South's Facebook page, so spread the word and help us get a bigger fanbase in advance of the coming seasons. We wanted to give the page one of the new Facebook custom username addresses, but we're WAY short of the thousand fans needed to make that happen--"Become a Fan" and help us reach one thousand!

YouTube: subscribe to BigSouthSports for updates to uploaded videos, comment on existing videos, post links to your favorites, help us generate some more activity and interest--and let us know what you want to see from our channel there.

Whew. I know...I was away for a few days, now I've come back, and thrown a lot of words out there...but seriously, it's been very quiet on the response side from all these fronts for a while. Without your feedback, we'll never know if we're on target or not. This is an open call for comments, posts, tweets, ratings--any/all of the above. We want you to share!

To borrow an immortal movie line ("The Breakfast Club"): "It's social--demented and sad, but social."

Without the interaction of our fans and friends throughout the Big South community, we'll still be "social," but it will become a lot closer to the "demented and sad" part. Don't let that happen!

Cheers to all--make it a great week!

This is Tuesday's midday SHOUT--out...

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