Top Story: The Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School
Like many, we first heard of Friday’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut through scrolling our social media news feeds; the devastating and unfathomable details were broadcasted live via Facebook and Twitter accounts. The evolution of social media during tragic times like these is evident when rewinding back to things such as the Columbine shooting. In 1999, all of us were glued to our television screens watching the latest updates on CNN or the local news broadcast, 10 years from now we will have memories of scrolling through our Facebook and Twitter feed on our phones.
One of the major realizations we’ve gathered when analyzing the role social media has during catastrophic times like these is the sense of community. Victims are being consoled by individual people all over the world rather than just hearing mentions on news channels. Social media has become an important outlet for grief and is giving victims the sense that they are not alone. The most tweeted hashtags involving the shooting were #SandyHook, #PrayforNewtown, and #PrayforSandyHook. People also shared photos of gatherings and candles lit in honor of the victims of the tragedy.
We have already started to hear about online efforts to help victims but we are predicting many more ideas will start streaming through Twitter. Five online campaigns you can contribute to now are Sandy Hook Elementary School Fund, Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund, Help for Sandy Hook Elementary School Families, Secure Schools, and Wall of Love. Students at Virginia Tech have also started their own fundraiser Hokie Hope for Sandy Hook to help those affected at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Although the evolution of social media can be terrifying to some, it’s nice to see the benefits during tragic times like these. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the tragedy and we will continue to show our support on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Under the Radar: ESPN uses Twitter to embed videos in tweets for College Football
College football has partnered with Ford and Twitter to create an innovative new form of media (as well as a new ad model for Twitter) in which they will embed instant replays from games directly into tweets. Before the video is shown, viewers will be served a video for the Ford Fusion.
This is now the first sports-centric promotion Twitter has done, their first major foray coming with a partnership with NASCAR to create a branded #NASCAR page that held user generated content as curated by Twitter employees.
One of the major benefits the newest partnership brings is the ability for football fans to quickly few and share important replays on their mobile phone without leaving the Twitter app, which benefits college football, its fans and Twitter. This shift is something other major sports leagues and media providers are sure to notice, opening up a possibly lucrative model where they could sell ad video space, and not rely on one major advertiser.
Seeing the normally stuffy college football establishment on the better side of the innovation trail is great, especially considering the SEC’s (Southeastern Conference) near social disaster a few years ago when it announced that it would ban all real-time updating of games from all stadium attendees in any way. They were quickly attacked for short-sightedness, and updated the rules to say all business purposes, quelling many of the major issues people saw with the stringent rules.
First, let’s talk cosmetic and UI changes.
- Nifty new photo button and gridlines when taking your photo (oooh, ahhhhh)
2. Scale and crop features – no longer have to use your normal camera function to crop and scale, can do it all within the app.
3. Woohoo!!! New filters. Ok, just one. And its name is “Willow.” Officially, “a monochrome filter with subtle purple tones and a translucent glowing white border.” We call it black and white.
4. Tiny things you may not notice – images appear larger, News Feed design has been tweaked slightly.
All in all, subtle changes, but great steps towards making Instagram a one-stop shop for photo sharing.
A few things about the change:
- It wont take place until January 16, 2013
- Users still chose who is allowed to see their Instagram photos
- Users still chose if their photo is posted on Facebook
So, what do these changes mean for us as users? Basically, it means that Facebook will have more insight into our day-to-day activities that will allow it to further tailor content and ads to our behaviors(“including but not limited to, information from cookies, log files, device identifiers, location data, and usage data”). Not a huge change to the way we use Instagram, rather a change to the way Facebook see us as users.
Around the Hub: Boston is Still Sports Crazy on Social Media
You’d think we’d all be getting a little bored with obsessing over sports on social media these days. After all, Not only has it become normal to see athletes tweeting about what they had for lunch, but Ochocinco and Evelyn Lozada are no longer fighting publically on Twitter and Gronk rarely says anything scandalous these days. Boring, right? But instead, Boston is becoming even more obsessed and it’s to the point that if you’re a sports fan not on social media, you’re seriously missing out.
Last year, we reported that Emerson’s Professor David Gerzof managed to get Ochocinco to come and teach his class all about social media. This year, he took it a step further and had the one and only Rob Gronkowski in the classroom. Students went wild (especially on Twitter) and local media picked up the story as if the Patriots had just won the Super Bowl. How will Gerzof top Gronk in the classroom next year?
In other sports and social media news, the Boston Business Journal recently profiled Celtics’ Social Media Director, Peter Stringer; the man responsible for all of the Celtics’ social media platforms. He claims his goal is to give fans an “inside look” at the team, which requires him to attend plenty of games and stay on top of what the team is doing all the time. We’ve given shout-outs to the Celtics in the past, citing them for their excellent use of social media and loved learning a little more about the man behind it all.
And thanks to social media, if you were watching the Patriots game last night, you felt safe switching channels to the Dexter and Homeland finales, knowing your Twitter feed would keep you updated on what was happening. Which is exactly how you knew to switch the channel back in the fourth quarter. And how you woke up to words of wisdom from Donte Stallworth on Twitter this morning: “We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start.”
We’re looking forward to 2013 to see how sports and social media continue to evolve and hopefully bring us closer to the teams we love. Are you still using social media to feed your sports addiction?