Spain, DiCaro address #MoreThanMean online harassment

Last week, Penn State's chapter of the Association of Women in Sports Media sat down with sports reporters Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro to address the harassment both they and their colleagues face on social media. 

Spain, an espnW.com columnist, ESPN Radio host and SportsCenter Reporter for ESPN, and DiCaro,  a weekend host, update anchor for 670 The Score and a columnist for CBSChicago.com, participated in a video segment titled #MoreThanMean in April 2016, which featured men reading out loud some of the real and shocking tweets each journalist has received, in front of them. The powerful video received nearly four million views on YouTube and sparked a national conversation about the online harassment female sports reporters often experience.

"I think the most surprising thing to me was how many people were genuinely shocked," Spain told Penn State students. "That's been a wake up call for me, too, that there is a lot of stuff we deal with because we get used to it. And it shouldn't just be something that we're so used to that it no longer affects us."

The entire discussion lives on AWSM Penn State's Facebook page, which can be found here

The Association for Women in Sports Media is a 501c3 international organization whose male and female membership supports the advancement and growth of women - both student and professional - in sports media.

Sports Teams Start Using Snapchat Spectacles and Make Fans Feel Part of the Team

By Neil Horowitz

Another day, another new toy for social media and sports, as Snapchat’s Spectacles (remember, Snapchat is a camera company, not a social media company), have arrived on the scene. It’s like Google Glass + GoPro, but cooler and more intrinsically connected with social media and a network for distribution.

This past week, two sports teams — the Minnesota Wild of the NHL and the University of Miami Hurricanes football team — got a hold of some Spectacles and became the first major sports teams to start creating content with Snapchat’s new product. No best practices, no tried and true concepts, just pure experimentation and using the Spectacles to deliver new content in new ways to fans that they could not do without Spectacles.

The best part of Snapchat has been the raw, uncut access to teams fans have gotten, and Spectacles allows fans, through the lens of the trusty social media manager, to not just be in the room as an onlooker, but to truly feel part of the narrative, part of the team. These were the moments that stood out to me for both teams, when it felt like the fan watching was part of the pregame walk past all the cheering fans (for the Canes) or another member of the circle kicking around the soccer ball before a game (as we did with the Wild).

Just like there’s no comparison to the goosebumps induced when a player makes eye contact with the fans or speaks directly to them, Spectacles offers the opportunity for immersion. The behind-the-scenes content, in and of itself, is highly effective, but is taken to another level when fans feel like an active participant, instead of a passive onlooker. It drives that deeper engagement and connection that teams are after in their social media efforts.

The rest of the content seen from these teams’ first forays with Spectacles gave a different, first-person POV into the game day experience. The Hurricanes took fans on the field pregame (but this was understandably less participatory than the previous content), while the Wild got creative in trying to find other unique ways to give fans a perspective they hadn’t experienced before. This included seeing what it’s like to have a view on a ZAMBONI ride and even put us behind the t-shirt cannon with the mascot, firing shirts into the crowd. There is a lot of experimentation left to come, and teams will get to spread their wings of creativity to see what works well with Snapchat Spectacles.

More teams will get their hands on Spectacles and, no doubt, we’ll continue to see more novel and new ways to use them to produce compelling content. The biggest takeaway, for me, from these initial uses is to, like with any new toy, consider what Spectacles allow teams to do than they couldn’t do before. For Spectacles, the ‘whoa’ moments came when the Spectacles made fans feel like another player on the team, not a fly on the wall, but another participant. I imagine it’ll be awesome when a player dons Spectacles at practice, inside a pregame huddle, etc. In this sense, it’s like a more accessible, ore social version of GoPro, complete with features that make Snapchat different, too, like filters, quick video edits, quick sharing to the masses, and, eventually, the integration of player-generated and fan-generated content to weave first-person POV stories unlike ever before.

Social media has allowed teams to create everlasting connections with fans more than ever before – driving emotional investment with the team and players. Spectacles offers a new way to make fans feel a part of the team, to build attachments that new tech like VR and AR promises. Delivering the content and telling the stories is now easier than ever, the next step is to make fans feel like they’re not just watching the stories, but part of them, feeling the emotion, seeing the little gestures and idiosyncrasies that social media managers take for granted, and making these larger-than-life figures come to life. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead as Spectacles re-define spectating and fans will feel ever more connected and engaged.

This post was originally published on dsmsports.net, which can be found here. 

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Neil Horowitz is a Senior Customer Success Manager at Hopscotch and founder of DMZsports.net, an industry publication highlighting many aspects of the sports business. His Digital and Sports Media podcasts can be found here. Follow him on Twitter @NJH287

How does the #SMSports team respond to an upset?

For the first time since October 19, 1985, the AP No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 college football teams all fell in the same day. National television showcased the players responses and coaches addressed the upsets during press conferences, but how did the respective #SMSports teams respond to the unexpected? 


No. 2 Clemson vs. Pittsburgh 

The play: Senior kicker Chris Blewitt made a 48-yard field goal with six seconds left as Pitt halted No. 2 Clemson 43-42. The loss, despite the record day for Clemson junior quarterback Deshaun Watson, put a speed bump in the Tigers' goal of back-to-back playoff appearances. 

What did their timeline have to say about the loss? Well, not much.

@ClemsonFB let fans know that Pittsburgh took the lead with a field goal, but then went silent until the words from Watson brought the focus back to motivating the Clemson fanbase. 

Business went on as usual for arguably one of the top college athletics #SMSports staffs as they pushed out weekly graphics and gifs highlighting game leaders along with words from head coach Dabo Swinney, but the word "loss" is nowhere to be found.

There's no doubt the digital team is #ALLIN heading into week 12, but only time will tell if the team on the field can be as strategic as the team in the press box. 


NO. 3 MICHIGAN VS. IOWA 

The play: Iowa freshman Keith Duncan kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired and the Hawkeyes stunned Michigan 14-13. 

Unlike Clemson, the Michigan #SMSports team addressed the loss immediately and used the hashtags #KeepFighting #NotOver in the resulting recap and video recap tweets. 

As the Wolverines went back to Iowa's famously pink visitors locker room at Kinnick Stadium, NDSU joined the digital conversation and threw some serious shade at Jim Harbaugh's squad.

The Michigan faithful came together the following day after falling just two spots in the AP poll and @UMichFootball assured people that "The Wolverines still hold destiny in own hands." All hail the playoff expectations, #Onward.


No. 4 Washington vs. No. 20 USC

The play: Redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Darnold threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns and USC upset No. 4 Washington 26-13 on the road Saturday night. The victory snapped the Huskies' twelve-game winning streak and put their playoff aspirations in question.

The Huskies digital team set the scene for followers late in the fourth quarter with this:

And met the stinging reality face-to-face in the timeline, much like the Wolverines had earlier in the day. 

The feed then turned over to the expected: press conference, highlights and recaps as the College GameDay crew said goodnight to "The Greatest Setting." 

It looks as if UofM and UW are calling plays from the same social media playbook. 


Meanwhile, just two teams remain unbeaten this season and one (no, not Alabama) is getting College GameDay this weekend. 

Digital media pros are drooling over the opportunities Western Michigan has to expand their brand on a national scale this weekend. The game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 19, but we have to imagine the game plan is already being drawn up. Your move, Broncos. 

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Sean Merriman, Digital Media Manager, Intersport

Sean Merriman recently stepped in as the Digital Media Manager for Intersport. He previously worked at the Big Ten Network as a Social Media Producer and Web Content Editor where he was responsible for writing and editing content for BTN.com. Additionally, he ran the network's Facebook and Twitter pages as well as fourteen school-specific handles. He covers Big Ten recruiting for the Detroit Free Press and is a graduate of Michigan State. Follow him on Twitter @MerrimanTweets.


 

On how the digital side of the sports industry has grown and changed...

Good luck finding a sports fan watching a game without a second screen out. It is part of the ever-evolving digital world we live in. Whether individuals are watching a game at home, at a bar, or live, chances are they have a smartphone or tablet handy. Social media has allowed fans to be a part of the action, be it through photos on Instagram, video on Snapchat, or sharing their opinions on the game on Twitter. As a member of the media working in the sports industry, I try to put myself in the shoes of the consumer. Almost everything I do from a social standpoint, I think to myself, "if I I were a fan watching this game, what would engage me and entice me to join the conversation?". This was never a thought when I started in the industry 6-7 years ago. The pace at which social platforms are able to adapt to a user's wants and needs is what surprises me the most. I often find myself brainstorming new, creative ideas, and unfortunately, 99.9 percent of the time, someone has already beat me to it. 

On the most effective social media tool to capture your audience's attention and keep it...

It's all about engaging your audience with what they are interested in. The most effective tool to engage an audience's attention on social media is video. Live video is even more enticing on platforms such as Twitter (Periscope) and Facebook Live, as users are able to interact with you during a live broadcast. Individuals want their voice heard and have skin in the game. On a platform like Facebook Live, users are able to watch live video, submit questions, and remain engaged because their question has the chance to be answered. In other words, they feel like they are a part of the conversation. 


On how personal branding can help amplify your career...

When it comes to social media platforms, Twitter is such a unique platform because it serves as a news resource and a conversation platform for individuals in the sports media world. When @BTNSean originated, my goal was to provide both knowledgeable and engaging content surrounding Big Ten sports. It was also to connect with individuals in the sports media world who post about similar topics. That has helped me build a name and a platform for myself. In building a reputable platform, I have gained respect of others throughout the industry, which in return, has helped amplify my career.  

On staying abreast of the latest changes and innovations in the social media & digital marketing space...

I am always reading about new, upcoming innovations in social media and the digital space. If Twitter or Facebook releases something new that can be relevant in what I am sharing, I want to be the first to use it. I also have selected a number of Twitter handles that I consider extremely innovative and make it a point to check on them almost every day.

On the next big thing in social media for sports...

I think sports Virtual Reality has the chance to be very neat. People are already experimenting with it, but once it finds its niche, I could see VR exploding on the social scene. I am also anticipating Facebook releasing dual-screen Facebook live for the public. This will give media members like myself the chance to interact with athletes, coaches, other media members, ect. while not being in the same location. That could be massive in the social world.

On the go-to resource for daily news...

I think I'm like the majority of people nowadays, I get most of my news from links off my Twitter feed. Rarely do I type in a URL and navigate through a website. I really enjoy reading SBJ when I can. The one daily news source I go to everyday is Freep.com. I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and will always read the Free Press, in addition to writing for them on a freelance basis.