Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Thanks, Leo

The weekly Princeton Office of Athletic Communications meeting is held every Monday.

Among the issues each week is the selection of the Princeton athlete of the week for the website. For the record, it's officially called the "Coach USA Princeton Athlete of the Week."

This week's winner is Molly Contini of the women's hockey team. Princeton is off to a 2-0 start after sweeping Providence as the Tigers go for a second straight Ivy League title and trip to the NCAA tournament.

Before choosing Contini, TigerBlog joked that it should be some guy named Leo.

Who is Leo?

He's the one who hacked the Twitter feed @putigers_live. If you were looking for in-game updates this weekend on the usual site, well, you noticed that suddenly you were following Leo and his investment service, not the feed for Princeton updates.

TigerBlog has learned all kinds of things about how accounts get hacked and how very little could be done about it once it's gone. On the other hand, the feed @putigers_live was already outliving its usefulness.

The main athletics Twitter feed, @putigers, was originally used for in-game updates. Lots and lots of them. Eventually, it was too many of them, and it was costing Princeton followers.

That's when @putigers_live was created. Just for in-game updates. Lots and lots of them.

And what happened to @putigers? It went from around 6,000 followers to the nearly 14,000 it has now. And @putigers_live? It never really got a lot of traction and in fact had just recently gone over 1,000.

So now what?

Well, @putigers_live is gone forever, so don't go looking for. The question is what to do next.

And that's a big issue. See, what TigerBlog looks for in social media isn't what his OAC colleagues do, and it's really hard to get consensus here on E level, let alone across the entire audience. All anyone can do is try to make good guesses.

Even before ol' Leo showed up, the decision had been made to try to push in-game updates to the team Twitter feeds. Yes, it decentralizes them. But at the same time, it gives consumers a chance to get all the updates they want, without the ones they don't.

TigerBlog is interested in every Princeton sport. Most people aren't.

What is the audience anyway? It's varied in every way.

There are recruits for each sport. Current athletes and their friends and families. Alums. General fans. Donors.

They vary in age, ways of accessing social media, favorite platforms, what they're looking for when they're online - everything. Do you want to read stories? Do you like to see infographics?

TigerBlog does know that flooding @putigers with in-game updates is a bad idea. It's not what the audience wants.

And then there are other questions.

What should go on the Princeton athletics feeds and what should go on the team feeds? Should things be posted to both?

TB is pretty sure that everyone wants to see video highlights as soon as they can, during games. The big goal. The interception. The dunk. Quickly.

Where should that clip be posted for maximum exposure, without overdoing it and getting people to unfollow?

TigerBlog was at the men's lacrosse alumni game Saturday morning and took a 10-second video of the handshake line. He decided to put it on the men's lacrosse Instagram page, where it had more than 1,100 views and nearly 200 likes. Not bad. The same video on the Princeton Athletics page wouldn't have done as well.

Anyway, these are the issues that are regularly under discussion here in the OAC. It's clear that the social media piece is as big as anything else that is produced by college athletic communications offices these days. It's reaching directly to the audience that's interested in you, and you know they're interested in you because they followed you in the first place. The key is to keep them following you and to give them the content that they most want, even if that's not the same for each of the 14,000 followers.

TigerBlog has to chuckle at it all. It wasn't that long that he was in the media guide and media relations business, right?

And then there was the shock brought on by Leo.

Getting an account hacked was a tough thing. It took TB a few seconds to figure out that Leo wasn't something being promoted on Twitter and that he was where @putigers_live had been. If you go to twitter.com/putigers_live, you'll get the message that the page doesn't exist.

Just like that. Gone.

That's hard to deal with, right?

Then there's the whole idea of how many different passwords everyone has for every account out there. And who can remember what email was used to establish it in the first place? You know, you can only have one Twitter account for each email.

It was all so overwhelming.

TigerBlog thought he needed to get away after all of that. Maybe go sit on a tropical beach and have a tropical drink.

Can they put one of those little umbrellas in a glass filled with Yoo-Hoo?

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