Lies, Damn Lies and Social Media

A single tweet sparks an inferno. (More like Mrs. O'Leary's cow).

AKA, the tweet heard ’round the world.

I generally don’t blog about work-related crises (especially when it’s sports-related), but this weekend’s social media mayhem deserves an exception.

I have witnessed how fast real news and fake news can spread via social media, especially twitter. What makes us hit the RT or the share button so quickly? I’ll leave that to behavioral experts. Even as my fingers are itching to spread information as fast as I can (and, oh, to be the first is so thrilling), I take the extra time to confirm what I’m sharing. I want my followers and friends to trust my updates.

As everyone knows, Texas Tech and Texas A&M are huge rivals, so I was definitely prepared for a social media smackdown Saturday and Sunday (especially if we lost). What I wasn’t prepared for came in via Facebook about 2:40 pm Saturday. “Shame shame tech fans! Disgusting what was done to A&M busses!”

Wait, what?

By Sunday morning, Twitter, Facebook, bloggers and mainstream media from USA Today to ESPN had LITERALLY picked up the ball and run with it. The ball? A tweet from A&M AD Bill Byrne.

Our own community was ripping us apart, condemning our students for everything from spray painting the buses to physically depositing bowl movements on the bus floors. With no proof, no police report, no investigation, no … FACTS. Just a single tweet.

I was very proud of the statement issued late yesterday (10/10) by Texas Tech AFTER an investigation had been conducted:

Many of you are aware of a tweet from a Texas A&M official that their team buses were spray painted and animal feces were spread inside of the buses early Saturday morning. The clear implication of the tweet was that this was the responsibility of Texas Tech fans or students. Texas Tech has conducted an investigation regarding this allegation, and has discovered the following:

  • The buses were not spray painted. Instead, washable shoe polish was used on the windows of one of the buses.
  • No feces were found either in or on the buses. Fish bait was dropped onto the floor of one of the buses.
  • The alleged “vandalism” was cleaned by the bus drivers and Holiday Inn staff before it was seen by the A&M official who tweeted the information.

While incidents such as the ones alleged are inappropriate and strongly condemned by Texas Tech, it is no less wrong to condemn the entirety of our university, students and supporters by posting inaccurate information on the internet for the purpose of sensationalizing the actions of one or a very few. We are disturbed by the careless use of social media to share these inaccuracies.



A Shrine (and a Rant)

RIP Steve Jobs

It just so happens that my office is the coolest AND we happen to have an old Macintosh Classic. We created a shrine with everything Apple we could get our hands on (along with a stuffed bear, candy and incense). As usual, we went a bit overboard.

I uploaded one of the pix to Facebook yesterday and got a quick introduction on the new feature that allows “friends of friends” to comment on photos they are tagged in. Some guy wrote a snarky comment about the microsoft keyboard. I don’t know why it irked me so much, but I deleted it. Yeah, I guess if you’re a purist, it’s out of place. But we put a cross up and Jobs was a Buddhist.

I really think Steve would enjoy the diversity. After all, I think his success had a lot to do with his “multilingual” approach to Apple products in the last 10 years or so. They quit battling it out with Microsoft over personal computing. They made all of the “i” devices agnostic so they appealed to anyone who liked music, needed a phone or wanted an awesome tablet experience. Of course they are still in the computing business, but they succeed by making excellent products … not just keeping up with “competitors.” When Steve Jobs talked, he was a rock star, everyone listened. Bill Gates still has fans, but honestly, he is known more for his philanthropy than anything else.

I admit, I like to give my Mac friends a hard time, but I’m a PC mostly because I know too many Windows shortcuts to change now.

So my wish and prayer at the shrine: “Can’t we all just get along?”

RIP Steve Jobs, 1955-2011.

Steve Jobs OCM Shrine

Facebook Questions for Pages

Facebok questions truncate after 99 characters.
Facebook questions truncate after 99 characters.

I’m slow to Facebook Questions party. Partly because of the overzealous use of them right after rollout. I like to be early, but I also like to hang back a little to get a sense of how things work first.

We’ve used twitpoll with mixed results for the Texas Tech account. The most successful was measuring where our followers first heard about the news that Osama bin Laden had been assassinated.

July 12 was National #frenchfryday so I decided to try both a twitpoll and a Facebook Question. With the help of a Mashable article, it was a cinch.

Some extra tips:

  • The description of the poll is truncated at around 99 characters.
  • You have no control once you publish (as in you can’t customize a comment).
  • It seems that the fewer choices, the better since more than are hidden in the post stream.

Anyone else have fun stuff to share?

Will Netflix Cave?

Netflix enduring customer outcry on Facebook

After Netflix announced it’s new pricing scheme, people have taken to social media in droves to voice their concerns over the $7.99 price points for streaming AND unlimited DVD service, $15.98 for both. Ummm, anyone who deals with pricing knows, it’s risky to do a “two-fer” without giving a break. Why not make it $13.99 or even $14.98?

Dear Netflix” is trending on Twitter (WORLDWIDE). And at around 11 am CDT, they had 33,373 comments on Facebook. Oh, my.

The Netflix blog addresses the pricing in a way that I think seems disconnected: “Given the long life we think DVDs by mail will have, treating DVDs as a $2 add on to our unlimited streaming plan neither makes great financial sense nor satisfies people who just want DVDs.”

Will Netflix stick to their business strategy or cave in to the pressure? My guess is that they will have no choice but to make some kind of adjustment. Having weathered some PR storms myself, it’s hard to pinpoint current customer voices in all the din. Many of the complainers may not be former, current or future Netflix customers. Hang in Netflix!

Time will tell. What do you think? Stay tuned and I’ll keep this post updated!

#Joplin: The Social Media Effect

Female lab at the Joplin Humane Society Animal Adoption & Resource Center via Lost & Found Tornado Pets 2011.
It’s breaking my heart to watch the headlines, ireports and tweets as the full impact of the Joplin tornado unfolds.

I followed the impact social media had on the coverage and response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March and the tornado outbreak that ravaged the town of Tuscaloosa in April, but I sit here amazed at the social media response to Joplin. Maybe it hits home for me because I lived and worked in the KC area for many years. Maybe it’s because the first tweets I saw were from a colleague in Pittsburg, KS. All I know is that I’m touched and inspired by what I’m watching.

Update: New York Times reporter Brian Stelter has posted a thoughtful and compelling account of how he used Twitter to report on the aftermath of the recent tornado in Joplin, Missouri.

Headline: Facebook Places Don’t Grab Teens’ Attention

Facebook Places
The demise of the check-in is much exaggerated.
Admittedly, I’m a big fan of attention-grabbing headlines, so when this one popped up in my Facebook feed I quickly skimmed the article and shot off a quick email to my colleagues with the link without thinking too much about it.

As an early adopter of location/geobased marketing, I’ve been pondering the implications so I saved a link in evernote to make sure I could reference it again. After further review it occurred to me I had never heard of Dubit before, so I hunted for the research referenced in the article. It took several Google attempts (never a good sign), but I finally found the original.

Dubit surveyed 1,000 teens aged between 11-18 years of age with an equal balance between gender and age. The attention-grabbing bit is “nearly half of 11-18 year-olds have not heard of foursquare or Facebook places.” That’s big. However, what the All Facebook article doesn’t disclose is that the research was conducted in the UK. I think that’s pretty big too, don’t you?

As a side note, without warning Facebook rolled the check-in function to the Texas Tech University page on Friday. Less than 3 check-in’s showed in the analytics. As of the time of this writing, there have been more than 2,000. This anecdotal evidence doesn’t mean much, but my 11 year-old already knows Facebook Places well so I’m not convinced. Yet. I’ll keep watching.

Facebook Rolls Out Tagging Feature for Pages

via Mashable

This has so many implications. I’m already thinking of entries for our content plan calling all Red Raiders to tag us in their photos. Then my heart skips a beat and I wonder how many inappropriate tags we might receive. This adds another layer of complexity in our monitoring efforts.

Time will tell!

Currently, you can tag a page through the photo viewer, but not during the upload process. Click images below to see.