Tag Archives: Social Networking

The evolution of Sports Social Media

I was recently invited to get involved with a social media start-up called JockTalk (www.jocktalk.com). I am a bit of a cynic when it comes to new social media ventures because I am the type of person who likes the ones I use and use the ones I like and that keeps the paying field small – mainly LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (a bit and mainly for the kids). However, the more I heard about JockTalk the more convinced I became that this is the future of sports social media.

Photo of stage at DEMO12

There are a number of social media plays trying to fix the “monetisation of Twitter” problem and JockTalk certainly addresses this opportunity. A revenue share with athletes means that the content created can be monetised through ad revenue. However, what is really great about JockTalk is the level of fan engagement built-in. It is obvious when you get under the hood, that athletes have been involved in scoping it because each feature fulfils a flaw in the way Twitter supports fan:athlete engagement. There is a Q&A section, athletes can rank top fans and the platform publishes to Twitter and Facebook so it doesn’t require a massive behavioural change for athletes and fans to get involved.

What I most like about JockTalk is that it is designed to deal with all sports. As a fan this is crucial because like many fans, I enjoy multiple sports. I don’t want to go to a different social media platform for each set of athletes (soccer, Rugby, Baseball, Cricket etc.) I want to be able to put all my sport in one place. As a Twitter user with two profiles – one work and one social I already have compartmentalised my business Tweeting from my sports Tweeting and so JockTalk allows me to enhance this even further. The site is in Beta but you can take a peek here: https://beta.jocktalk.com

The team is presenting at DEMO12 this week and I can’t wait to see the feedback. It is often said that the simplest things are the most effective and JockTalk’s simplicity and power are sure to be a hit.

Don’t mix friends, family, and business contacts.

The Daily Telegraph (a UK broad sheet newspaper) recorded a story on 16th June 2008 about a High Court ruling that requires an ex-employee of Hays to hand over his business contacts built up on the social networking website LinkedIn. The story has been picked up in various places including Brand Republic and Computer Weekly but none raise the obvious more expansive question of what does this mean to the rest of us? Computer Weekly does make reference to a legal specialist that advises employers to add clauses to employment contracts and to ask employees to set up business only networks but I think this misses the point.

Social networks are just that – social. The dictionary definition of ‘social’ is “living or preferring to live in a community rather than alone.” The networks don’t have boundaries and certainly don’t separate colleagues from friends. In many ways, if they did it would defeat the object. But for many, the level of transparency is unnerving.

I had lunch with a customer recently who talked about her younger sister connecting with her on Facebook. I have a similar scenario where I am connected to my niece and nephew. They have very different interests and circles of friends to me being as they are about 25 years younger but what is my alternative – deny their existence or compartmentalise them?

Only five days earlier (11th June) the Times Online ran a feature that advised people to keep their social and business networks separate. This is an interesting idea and there were various suggestions made by different people – all in recruitment (or Talent Management if there is a difference). One suggested he uses a nickname on Facebook that only his friends know, and uses LinkedIn for business contacts only. I don’t see how this can work. There has to be crossovers and what happens when a family member or close friend is also in business or vice versa? The article finally ends up with a suggestion that soon software will simply track you down by making connections between you, friends and colleagues and bingo – your profiles are connected for all to see.

What this really means is we have to get ready for a time when virtually everything we put up online will be attributable to us. Potential employers will be able to see our connections with dodgy friends and family members and start judging us across a wider set of values. Is this good or bad? I am certain, their will be losers as there always are but I think this is akin to businesses getting used to corporate blogs – which many have yet to do.

There are countless examples of businesses gaining stronger brands as a result of honest information about them going up on blogs. They are measured by how they respond to negative comments about poor performance and people realise that no business is perfect and actually, if you can see them warts and all you tend to trust them more. The same will surely happen to individuals and I think it will be refreshing.

I predict that the transition will be ugly, but when we get there we may see a levelling of the playing field on a scale never seen before.