Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Taking social media to the next level

The times, they are a-changin'.

Bob Dylan's 1963 song never seems so prophetic as it does now, especially in the world of journalism and new media.

In case you didn't hear about this, the University of Miami is trying something new this Friday at the Hurricanes' season-opening baseball game. Miami will be hosting the first-ever Social Media Day.

Talk about being your own media!

Before I go any further, I want to give UM Associate AD for Communications Chris Freet major props for attempting such a feat. It's easy to dream up ideas, but it takes courage to take the risks necessary to achieve them.

What Miami will be doing is essentially shutting down their main athletic website and communicate solely via social media. Tell you what, I'll let the release speak for itself. Here's an excerpt detailing the day's events:
Miami will be the first college athletics department to `shutdown' its official website for a full business day and communicate solely through social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, UStream, YouTube and an unprecedented 14 hours of Live Chats with Hurricane coaches and standout student-athletes.

From 8 a.m. through the final out of the Miami baseball season opener against Rutgers, the staff of HurricaneSports.com will forget its official website - HurricaneSports.com - and communicate directly with fans through 14-plus hours of live chats, tweets and Facebook posts.

"This initiative is about fans of The U and putting their entertainment first," said Associate AD for Communications Chris Freet. "Social Media allows us to interact in new ways every day and the most powerful opportunity it provides is person-to-person connections. That is what we are aiming for on Feb. 18.  For example, fans will see Coach Golden on a video chat, they will be able to ask their questions and see his response in a live environment.

"Really, this is a thank you from the entire Athletics Department. We are going to put down our projects, break down some pre-existing barriers and open the virtual doors to every `Canes team by interacting with our fans for 14 straight hours."
I am not smart enough to speculate on how successful Friday's "Social Media Day" will be, but I am fairly confident this will not be the last one we see. In fact, this might just be blazing a whole, new trail for us in the media profession to follow.

And now, for your enjoyment, Mr. Bob Dylan!!!

Bob Dylan - The Times they are A-changin' -1965

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