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Stepping In the Social Media Squared Circle

I have always been interested in sports and entertainment. With my nephew recently discovering the live action soap opera that is professional wrestling (marketed as sports entertainment), I thought it was the perfect time to revisit what I watched as a child (World Wrestling Entertainment) and review their social media presence.

I stopped watching the then-WWF as a teenager for a time because I felt they were always slow to adapt to change. To my surprise, their social media presence is apparent right on the front page. There are links and logos for Facebook, YouTube and Twitter prominently featured on the front page. The Twitter page gives links to all of the wrestlers’ official Twitter accounts. I would be very curious to see if the performers are required tweet in character or not. I actually think it is a great opportunity for a newer performer to connect with fans. Characters live and die with fan support, so this could be a great way for a performer who may not get a lot of television exposure to stay in eye of the fans. While their website offers their own video player, I think it is also important to utilize YouTube. I think having a personalized YouTube page for WWE’s brand offers fans the opportunities to potentially embed videos to their own blogs.

I chose review the WWE’s social media presence because I feel it was always an industry slow to adapt to change. While they never really outright inform fans each broadcast, it was long been accepted that the events are staged and results are predetermined. It goes to show the importance of social media. Even a traditionally “sheltered (in terms of other working with other media)” company like the WWE realizes that there are more ways to connect with fans rather than just using their website. It provides a new way for both fans and performers to interact with fans, in ways that “real” sports does not officially adopt.

What About Design?

Web designers are always on top of the latest trends. When I do a search on social media and graphic design, I see that a lot of great work is being done in terms of designing logo, templates and favicons. However, I don’t see an abundance of interaction within social media. Blogs whose feeds I subscribe to include You The Designer, 2expertsdesign and Logo Design Love. All they really have are infrequently updated tweets on their Twitter accounts. What can I learn from this?

My Own Social Media Squared Circle

Like the WWE’s undercard of talent looking for a break or fan reaction, I think it’s important to stay on the forefront of social media, even if I’m not a publicly traded sports entertainment company. How to do this?

I find that the more I tweet, the more followers and blog reads I receive. I recently blogged about the relevance of the OBEY Giant artwork. I personally found the topic interesting (did I mention that I watched wrestling as a child), so I posted an offbeat tweet about it. To my surprise, I received a fair amount of feedback. However, I don’t always check Twitter as religiously as others, so when I go weeks without a tweet, I notice I’ve lost a few followers. Clearly, the advantages (especially for an upstart professional) outweigh the disadvantages. I’ve learned to tweet items relevant to your blog and not post with a course agenda to them. Unless sending a direct message, I want my tweets to sound authentic. I tend to never read a tweet from a peer that posts “Assignment 5: Post 1.” We all have writing requirements, but its important to continue to attract outside followers with similar interests. Now the key, is to hold their interests.

I do not consider Facebook (at this juncture) to be a viable means to reach my audience. As someone with a personal account, I don’t feel comfortable promoting my brand to friends and family at this stage. To gain notoriety and success is the dream of any graduate student and should (or optimistically when) this occurs, I would feel it is appropriate to create a Fan Page.

I find that LinkedIn is sometimes in the shadow of the other social media giants, but is also important. While not as informal in tone as my blog posts, I think it is important to show the client where I have been in my career and also read recommendations on my work.

YouTube is the next realm of social media that I want to take more seriously moving forward. I have already posted a link to my DesignSource project and YouTube will be a platform to not only post tutorials, but perhaps a video slideshow of my portfolio. Perhaps not necessarily YouTube, designer Dave Werner utilizes video to describe his work in an extremely effective manner.

I think most of us (even you wonderful baby boomers) have come to accept social media as the norm and not a fad. For an upstart trying to make a name for myself, it would be foolish for me not to try. Of course, I can go on about this…now to make it happen!

There’s No BS in RSS (feeds)

Okay, so I cannot lie, I’ve heard of RSS feeds many times before. I’ve seen the icon million times and simply thought, “Why do I need that? I just go to the sites whenever I want news.” Pretty shortsighted, I know.

I guess that is why we are calling them “feeds” for this purpose and rightfully so, it sounds user-friendly and accessible! So other than organizing my virtual life and figuring out that they are awesome, what else have feeds taught me? Well, for one thing they taught me that my peers in ICM 501 are pretty engaging folks. While we all have at least one common interest (that being the course), I really enjoy having my feed organize all of the blogs to better keep up with everyone’s happenings in the course.

With that said, what “outsider” blogs am I subscribed to? One of the first blogs I have followed (even non-feed) is You The Designer. The site provides everything from Photoshop tutorials to design freebies for blogs (I may or may not have been inspired here). I have even been motivated to go out and buy some movie posters I forgot or didn’t know were awesome. I also like how the site does not post that often, so when they do, I usually take the time to read.

Another one of my favorites is called Logo Design Love. As a designer, I have worked for a national brand and also worked on several logo designs for people looking to brand themselves and their companies. The really short end of it is that I have always been fascinated with logos. As a kid, I would not be very chatty in the morning, so I would sit with my bowl of cereal and read (or inspect) the box. Logos have always captivated me. Whether it was cereal mascots, soda cans or the Ghostbusters logo, I was hooked. I even bought a throwback can of Pepsi today based on the retro look I grew up with and I don’t really even like soda…

So, Pepsi throws back, Walmart, Stop & Shop and Kraft Foods change their logos while Tropicana changes their logo drastically enough that they had to change back (as customers were confused last year).

Of course, these branding fun facts won’t interest all of you, but they do hold my attention. My point is to make the feeds your own (oh and help you multi-task more efficiently). Just another example on how we no longer have to seek out the news as much as the news (we want) seeks out us.

I am live and tweeting, so feel free to follow me @JonBlogetery or just click the little birdie at the top of the page!

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