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First blog post

I hope you all enjoy reading my blog posts over the next 6 weeks. And go O’s!!

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Tweet to Tease, Blog to Please

The best thing about Twitter and blogging is that they can coexist very easily. Both let you express your feelings in a social setting where people can agree, disagree, share and comment. The biggest difference is the length. Twitter forces a person to consolidate their thoughts into 140 characters, while a blog lets you go on for however long you feel is necessary. Keeping it short and sweet certainly makes it easier for the reader to read and decide their opinion faster than they could read the blog. The Baltimore Orioles have their fair share of both in this world. During the game, Twitter takes control as the heavy hitter sending out updates and alerts every time something happens. Once the game is over though, bloggers take over and analyze everything from what the players wore to the final score. Stephanie Ling (2014), author of 10 best blogging practices describes how a company can make the best blog possible. In her article, she emphasizes how quality is always more important than quantity. Without quality postings, people will get bored and move on. However, quantity still matters. She mentions, “post as often as you want to be found.” Being consistent with timely posts can be the difference between random and loyal followers. Another interesting point she made is that in the case of blogging, less is more. Eliminating the fluff and unnecessary information will make the blog easier to find with consistent keywords and people will have an easier time reading and following a blog that gets to the point faster. Finally, she implores you to treat others the way you want to be treated. That means be an active member reading other blogs. Share their content and maybe, they’ll share yours too.

Interestingly, the Baltimore Orioles themselves aren’t the bloggers. Blogging in professional sports is a fans world, not the organizations. Also, once an analyzer for ESPN starts writing, it’s not considered a blog anymore- it’s an article. So there’s an interesting fine line between blogging and writing an article in the sports world that suggests only fans can blog, because all a blog is, is an opinion. Some of the most popular blogs I found about the Orioles are found here: Camden ChatBirds Watcher, and Camden Depot.

Twitter, on the other hand, is fair game for all. Aaron Lee discusses in his article why it’s always better to tweet before you blog. It’s kind of like learning how to walk before learning how to run. Twitter teaches you to keep it short and sweet, so your thoughts have to be specific and to the point-something Stephanie Ling mentioned is important in all blogs. Twitter also helps you build a brand and meet people with similar interests. This can help you build a following before you even start blogging. You can even dip your toes in the blogging world and start following other bloggers on Twitter to gain insight on what a successful blog looks like. Most of these ideas are consistent with the author of The Tao of Twitter, Mark Schaeffer. As stated, looking to already successful bloggers and creating a community before blogging, or as Schaeffer describes, “Build your own tribe.” Reaching out to real people with blogs helps get truthful insight instead of trying to reach out to the people with millions of followers who will never answer (p. 78).  If a person or a team wants to get information out to the public in a simple but effective way, Twitter is that place. Schaeffer describes how Twitter users are “The most influential online consumers.” He elaborates to say that more than 70% of Twitter users are monthly bloggers, 70% comment on other blogs, 61% write product reviews, and 61% comment on news sites (p. 36). With these statistics, any information put out there is guaranteed to have some sort of following, so it’s important to put out the right information at the right time. The Orioles tweet before games, during games, and after games. Even when it’s not game day, if they don’t publish at least 2 tweets, the day did not go as planned. They’ve tweeted 18 times in the last 14 hours about the game that ended late last night, showing clips, highlighting the score (because we won!), and tagging the players go gain them just as many followers as the team has.

The Baltimore Orioles have a great Twitter- there’s no question about that. But they aren’t bloggers, which is interesting and curious at the same time. Curious because if they were to blog, who would do it? When would they have the time to blog? It feels like Twitter is the perfect place for players because it allows for a much more personal interaction with fans while still being themselves, but a blog is something that you need to sit down and take time to do. It would be an interesting idea for some of them to blog, but for now, their Twitter knocks the ball out of the park.

Citations:

Lee, A. (2010). 8 Reasons why you should Twitter Before you Blog. Retrieved July 16, 2016, from http://askaaronlee.com/8-reasons-why-you-should-twitter-before-you-blog/

Ling, S. (2014, May 20). SEO Starter Guide: 10 Blogging Best Practices| Powered by Search. Retrieved July 16, 2016, from http://www.poweredbysearch.com/blog/seo-starter-guide-10-blogging-best-practices/

Schaefer, M. W. (2012). The Tao of Twitter: Changing your life and business 140 characters at a time. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Is Social Media Even a Choice?

Being on a professional sports team means more than just playing the sport. The players become role models, the coaches become mentors, and the fans become part of something bigger than themselves. First, you had to go to the ballpark or the stadium to watch the game. Then you could listen to the game on the radio if you couldn’t make it to the game. The only interaction the fans had was cheering at the game, or even some moments where people would run onto the field to shake player’s hands. Then came the TV, and you could watch the game instead of the radio or going to the game. So how do you connect to the players, coaches and the sport without even being at the game? Social media. It has given people the ability to follow every single aspect of the game. The players, the coaches, and the team. So for one team to not have their own social media and allow the league to control your PR is just insane. I’m not sure a team has ever even thought of not having a social media page. It’s especially important for a team that isn’t the best. Bandwagon fans stick to championship teams like glue. So they don’t need as much PR as other teams, like the Orioles, who haven’t won a championship since 1983. From 1998 to 2012 they only had two winning seasons and finished in 4th or 5th place all but one of those years. Yikes! Any fan that sticks around for that long of a slump is a serious fan.   During this slump is when social media took off, giving the Orioles a bit of a setback.

But the Orioles have joined the social world just like everyone else, and have flourished in recent years. They host FanFest, social media night with stars like Chris Davis, and Birdland Social for loyal social media fan followers. These events draw crowds and make people love the Birds even more. But there is a setback to having so much available on social media. One major setback is that social media has lessened face-to-face communication. A study done in 2012 showed that spending less time with families and friends rose from 8% in 2000 to 32% in 2011. In addition to that, 32% were texting or on social media as opposed to being with their peers even when they’re together. Now if this happens with family and friends, what is to stop people from coming to the games and just monitoring them? Are the experiences as important as they used to be? All social media does is make communicating easier, but it also lessens the likelihood of someone going to the game and actually being at the game. Taking a picture of an experience and posting it seems to be more important than living in the actual moment these days, which is something sports teams needs to look out for. They need to keep it up by promoting events on social media instead of just informing people of on the games and news. Sports teams need to walk a fine line of needing to be on social media to keep their fans interested and gain new fans, and over-informing fans to make the games less necessary. But so far, by promoting their players and events in a positive way and rewarding those who follow via social media, the Baltimore Orioles are right where they need to be.

Citations

10 pros and cons of social media. (n.d.). Retrieved July 07, 2016, from http://www.toptensocialmedia.com/social-media-social-buzz/10-pros-and-cons-of-social-media/

Birdland Social. (n.d.). Retrieved July 07, 2016, from http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/bal/ticketing/birdlandsocial.jsp

Baltimore Orioles Team History & Encyclopedia | Baseball-Reference.com. (n.d.). Retrieved July 07, 2016, from http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BAL/

AtBat does it again!

There’s an app for that! It seems like everything this day has an app to go along with it. Whether you’re tracking the cycles of the moon or you need an alarm clock, someone somewhere has thought of it for your phone. One app that is used by all of baseball is the MLB app called AtBat. Though you do gain information from every game and news about every team, you can set the app to favorite your personal teams so I never need to scroll down to see the Orioles. One of my favorite settings with the app is how once your team is picked, you can choose to receive in game updates about how the game is going. It can be set to updates every inning, every hit, error, man on base, or the simplest would be every time someone scores. That way, if I’m not watching the game I can still get updates whether the Orioles were the ones that scored, or not.

AtBat has had tremendous success over the past decade. Last year, the app was the top grossing sports app in the U.S for the 7th consecutive year, as well as top grossing sports app in 97 different countries. As a whole, fans used AtBat 8.4 million minutes in 2015. Due to their success, they’ve made even more changes recently to take their domination of the competition to an entirely new level. IPads have even jumped on board to make them part of the craze, by joining with AtBat for some new features. As of this year, only available on IPads are portrait and landscape orientations, multitasking split view, and batter by batter view of the game for live video of the games and highlights from previous innings. They’re also allowing a redesign of their widget, allowing fans to coat their screen with the logo of their desired team, as if having the app and following it closely wasn’t the mark of a true fan in itself! The year 2015 was impressive alone for this app. They had 13.1 million downloads which is an increase of 21% from 2014, as well as 1.7 app starts which increased the rate by 40% from 2014.

AtBat is offered in three different versions, free (limited access) monthly premium for $2.99 and a yearly for $19.99. I personally have the free app, because it’s honestly very rare that I’m not watching the game so I find no need to pay, but for others, both the monthly and yearly make sense. Some don’t want the app year round when baseball isn’t played year round, but when you think about it, if the baseball season lasts 6 months, and spring training begins before that, most of the new features that came out this year were for spring training, why not just do the yearly and spend $20 instead of $3 every month? People will end up paying more monthly than they would annually, which is where I think the app is having the most success. The app covers all the teams when no team has their own individual app, and allows you to be as big of a fan as you want to be. I love the app because it allows me to only follow my team, no ads or pushes to purchase anything, just straight up, old fashioned baseball, which is what I’ve grown up loving!

Since this is the only app offered for my baseball team, I think the next step would be more of a connection to social media. It lets you share updates and your excitement about your team, but it basically operates in its own world. The app has been #1 for 7 years so why bother changing right? Because they’d make more money that’s why. Allowing more of a connection to sites like Facebook and Twitter would bring in even more followers and generate even more revenue, if they are willing to go the extra mile for their consumers.

Citations:

F, A. (2016, February 27). Baseball’s best app, At Bat, gets annual Spring Training update. Retrieved July 02, 2016, from http://www.phonearena.com/news/Baseballs-best-app-At-Bat-gets-annual-Spring-Training-update_id78837

Fang, K. (2016, February 28). MLB At Bat app gets its annual Spring Training update. Retrieved July 02, 2016, from http://awfulannouncing.com/2016/mlb-at-bat-app-gets-its-annual-spring-training-update.html

Rains, B. (2016, February 29). MLB’s At Bat App Looks To Continue Its Dominance As Top Sports App With New Updates – SportTechie. Retrieved July 02, 2016, from http://www.sporttechie.com/2016/02/29/mlbs-at-bat-app-looks-to-continue-its-dominance-as-top-sports-app-with-new-updates/

 

#OriolesMagic

Social media and sports go hand in hand these days. If you’re not watching the game on TV and if you’re not at the game in the stands cheering, you’re getting updates from the game on your phone, watching Twitter closely to see what sports analyst shares the most interesting information first, or you’re following ESPN to follow everything going on at once. No matter what happens in the game, social media is there to talk about it. One of the most interesting things is the depths analysts will go to make sure people are followings and liking their pages. Every detail about the athletes’ lives on and off the field are reviewed to see how much what happens off the field impacts them on it.

The Baltimore Orioles have a large followings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Baltimore City and County combine for roughly 1.4 million residents. 1.2 of them are followings the Orioles on Facebook. Their Twitter only has about 475,000 followers, while Instagram has 295,000 followers. The interesting thing is not knowing how many of those 295,000 are also on Twitter or Facebook, but also why the other 600,000 followers from Facebook aren’t on either Twitter or Instagram as well? Are the Orioles doing something wrong on the other 2 sites? Or are these people strictly Facebook users and don’t have a Twitter or Instagram? I find it interesting because Instagram and Twitter are opposite sites. One uses pictures while the other uses words. I follow all three because I love the pictures on Instagram and I love getting updates from the twitter account when I’m unable to watch. But what connects all three are the hashtags. Looking over the posts, they are all different. I’m not sure if that means a few people just reword their posts, or if they have individual people in control of each site. But either way, all the hashtags are the same. Right now the main hashtag is #VoteOrange for the Allstar game. But Maryland has something no other state does. Maryland has the best state flag and it is the most commonly used flag as a promotional give away and apparel worn everywhere. Give-away at games promote #Maryland and #MarylandPride- take a look at the #MarylandO’sHat! After a win #HowBoutDemO’s and #OriolesMagic circulate the state on all three sites, filled with pictures and posts from how amazing the game was.

I’ve been to tons of Orioles games in my life. I’ve even been on the field and worked for the Orioles before! People text, post, replay and blog everything that happens at the game like it were under a microscope, and it’s fascinating. The Orioles post fan photos on the jumbo-tron throughout the game, promoting the use of social media during the games. Even promoting #BirdlandHeroes by recognizing soldiers during the game at the same time as promoting social media is a great success.

There are still improvements that could be made. With such a large gap in the amount of people who follow the Orioles on each site, they need to improve their followers on Instagram and Twitter. Twitter needs to be a place where people can talk to players and be part of the conversation. Right now, their Twitter is just the Orioles sending tweets about the team, there’s no two way conversation taking place. Right now, Mark Trumbo, who is leading the league in home runs, is only a few hundred votes away from a starting position in the All-star game. Promotions are starting to pick up to gain him the awareness and support for fans, but more can be done. Promoting and celebrating our players at moments of need and triumph is a great way to be viewed as a more powerful and together organization.

But the Orioles are a proud organization with a proud fan base and no matter if the O’s win or lose, there will be fans in the stands and people talking about the Orioles until the next night, where we get to do it all over again.

Citations:

@orioles • Instagram photos and videos. (n.d.). Retrieved June 25, 2016, from https://www.instagram.com/orioles/

Baltimore Orioles. (n.d.). Retrieved June 25, 2016, from https://www.facebook.com/Orioles/?fref=ts

Baltimore Population and Demographics (Baltimore, MD). (n.d.). Retrieved June 25, 2016, from http://baltimore.areaconnect.com/statistics.htm

 

Social Media and the O’s

Social media has become the new way for people to connect. No more running down the street to a friend’s house, no more pulling out the Yellow Book to look up someone’s number. All it takes now is a few simple clicks and a message can be sent to contact them, which is why it is no surprise businesses have joined the party to connect with their consumers. While Facebook is the clear front-runner for businesses to use to reach their clients, there are two other platforms which seem polar opposite from one another, while still using social media to gain viewer’s attention. Twitter operates 140 characters at a time, so messages sent need to be as clear and concise as possible, while Instagram operates one picture at a time, with a caption of few words.

Twitter was created in 2006 and started as a school project. It quickly gained popularity enough that the creators, Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass wanted to keep the momentum going. Since its creation, Twitter has gained well over 200 million users and more than 4 million tweets are sent out daily. Businesses, actors, and even TV stations send out news and updates on their lives to have a more direct and personal conversation with the world. The best quality about Twitter is how easily it connects people from all over the world. There is little to no personal information on the accounts, so it makes spreading and sharing easier than with Facebook, since there is no real privacy to be had. The craziest part about Twitter is the pace news spreads. For example, I was in college when Osama Bin Laden was killed, and I didn’t hear it on the news or in a paper, I logged onto my social media and there it was! Tons of friends tweeting and posting that the US finally found him. The Orioles’ twitter account is used to keep people updated on how the game is progressing, while tagging the player’s twitters into their own to bring everyone closer together. Twitter makes life short and sweet, where there is no room for fluff. It’s simply simple people, sharing their lives with the world.

Instagram is the complete opposite of Twitter in terms of how it operates. Created in 2010, Instagram meant to bring out the photographer in us all. After gaining popularity, Facebook bought the app for $1billion, and it grew at a 23% rate. Instead of having 140 characters to share life facts, it operates by uploading a picture of something. Some say this is where the picture of foods was born, something we’ve all become irritated with over the years. But others use it to simply touch up and perfect their pictures to document life. Instead of writing in a diary or sending out year reviews in writing, others prefer to document their life through visuals, something Instagram is perfect for. Most sports teams, like the Baltimore Orioles, have their team photographer take pictures before, during and after the game, where they are then handed to the social media coordinator for editing. They use their account to publicize Orioles players who are in the running for the Allstar game, using hashtags such as #VoteOrange and even personalized ones such as #VoteTrumbo. They publicize birthdays and teammates performing community service through pictures, which helps consumers feel more attached to the players and the organization as a whole.

While Twitter and Instagram are after the same goals, they go about achieving them in different fashions, which is why social media is great. It allows people to be creative in their own ways with unlimited possibilities. It is important for companies and organizations like the Orioles to maintain the positive energy from when the team wins, like last night against Boston to keep their #FirstPlace swag going. Even more important is when the team loses, because then social media will always be the reminder of the good and the bad, and why being a fan is for life.