#Xtremechat Round 2

#Xtremechat debuted two weeks ago without a hitch, and we’re prepared to top that with tonight’s second installment of the extreme sports marketing chat. Ski season is over, and its time to grease your bearings, wax your surfboards, and make sure you pick up a bottle of sunscreen with the highest SPF money can buy. Tonight April 14th at 8pm we will be continuing the discussion we kicked off at our initial chat, discussing current (and future) trends in the sports marketing industry. We’re going to kick off tonight’s discussion with the declining snow sports industry, and see why you feel that the sports have plateaued in recent years. At the end of 2013 snow sports sales were up, a good sign for an industry many people consider to be in trouble. Other topics on our agenda include social media and Transworld’s new exposure scoring for extreme sports athletes, Kelly Slater’s recent sponsorship change, and the summer sports that are coming fast as those skis hit the garage and the skateboards hit the streets. Tune in tonight at 8pm for the second installment of #xtremechat!


What to expect in the first #Xtremechat

Strap in and wax those surfboards because #Xtremechat debuts tonight April 2nd at 9pm. Our first feature topic will encompass a variety of current events and trends in the action sport marketing industry. We will touch on a range of topics including the success of the Winter Olympics, Oakley’s retro branding, the declining snowboard industry, the changing seasons bringing around a new year of summer action, corporate cultures, changing sponsorship, and some news about the continued partnership between NBC sports and Red Bull’s Signature Series. Make sure you take a look at a few of these links to shake off the cobwebs before the chat begins tonight. Remember to bring a great attitude and tell your friends to get involved. I would love to submit your own questions to the chat and if you have any please feel free to send them to @locka_flocka by way of direct message on Twitter. See you at 9! Image

5 things to learn from participating in Tweetchats

Ah the Tweetchat. The seemingly always inconveniently timed Twitter discussions have become second nature to me at this point. At first what seemed like a daunting task has now boiled down to what feels like regular conversation if I am in a chat suitable to my own interests. Over the course of my senior year I have participated in quite a few, and have learned quickly that not every chat is for me. The trick is to find your chats and stick to them, soon after you will reap the rewards. Here are 5 things I have learned/gained through my participation in Tweetchats.

  1. How to better interact with Online Communities.
    First and foremost, the number one thing I have learned through my participation in Tweetchats is how to interact with preexisting online communities. Before diving into these chats I was merely interacting on a friend to friend basis, rarely utilizing my social networks to reach out, ask questions, and truly obtain useful content from the Twitterverse. The majority of my interactions would simply be relaying random thoughts that popped into my head. However participation in Tweetchats has changed the way I interact through all of my social platforms, not just Twitter. Although I still like to maintain my personal quirky touch, I find myself interacting very differently online. This has led to the conversion of these platforms into professional tools rather than personal outlets, through which I share content relevant to the fields I hope to soon pursue a career in. Tweetchats have taught me when I should be personal vs. professional as well as how I should approach interactions with peers and professionals via online platforms. I have become more wary of the content I share and the people I follow and choose to interact with. I have also learned that each social platform or specific situation can call for a new type of interaction and may require a different level of professionalism, a different voice, or a different type of content in general such as sharing a video, article, picture, gif, or whatever else may be deemed appropriate to attend to the situation at hand.
  1. Stay up to date, while approaching new topics from various points of view.My first ever Tweetchat happened to be the same place I received the inspiration for my first blog post concerning the deal the NFL had come to with Twitter and displaying a live feed during games. If I had not been participating in the chat, I may have never heard of this news, certainly not as soon after as I had. Not only did I learn about this new information, I was able to discuss the new deal as well as its pros and cons utilizing insights from a countless number of chat participants. By the time the next question was posed I could have written a 5 page novel on the benefits and disadvantages of this new deal just based on the discussions I had, questions I asked, and number of insights I was able to discern from others. Needless to say this chat is not the only one to inspire a blog post, and I often find that shortly after the chat is when I write my most successful posts. Many of the chats I have participated in have turned me on to an array of current events, articles, and recent discussions that I would not have heard elsewhere. In addition to this, the benefit of having so many different points of view in one place is priceless. I am able to see and discuss how recent events are portrayed in the minds of others allows me to share content in a way that is universal and inclusive for all of my followers/circles/groups. Being able to pick and choose which chats I participate in allows me to stay current on topics of my choice whether that is sports, sport marketing, blogging, social media news, business, or job searching/career prep. The opportunities to stay up to date in the field of your choice and enter a valuable real time discussion about them are seemingly endless as you can find a chat for just about anything.
  1. How to build my personal professional network.
    It is easy for one to simply search Twitter and follow thousands of accounts that seem relevant. However, a Tweetchat offers you a truly rare opportunity to interact with these individuals and businesses before you follow them and they reciprocate. Suddenly after interacting with them, whether it is a simple response or them answering a question you posed you become a much more valuable connection in their eyes. These people and brands are often used to attracting the random follower, and this typically means little as you are just another account on their feed. It is your interaction via the chat that gets your foot in the door and makes you seem like a much more valuable account to follow. What I have noticed in my chats is that it is easy to simply be a wallflower. Sit back, watch the Tweets roll in, and pick and choose who you wish to follow. However it is in the chats that I am most heavily involved asking/answering questions, replying to posts, reaching out to specific users and moderators, sharing quality content, and saying hello and goodbye that I have found my most valuable network additions. Those same people that interacted with me in the chat will now interact more frequently with other content I share outside of the chat simply because we have made that personal connection before mutually following. This applies to both parties, as I often find myself engaging more often with users I have connected with via chat because typically the content is relevant to my interests and I have built a sort of trust with them already. I like to apply the 80/20 rule to Twitter and say that 80 percent of your content is consistently engaged by 20% of your following.  Tweetchats have been extremely valuable in helping me build my professional network both on and off of Twitter, and has led to some significant growth within LinkedIn.
  1. How to stand out.
    Being that I’m 6’2 with blazing red hair and one of the rarest names in the book, standing out is something that has always come naturally to me…Until I attempted #blogchat. It was the first time I had truly felt rejected by an online community, but I soon learned not to take it personally. #Blogchat is an established community with an incredible amount of participants which makes it all the more difficult for a new entry like me to stand out. However, I have realized that in many of the less crowded chats I can often interact with others in a way that makes me a major contributor to the chat. I have been able to do this by identifying chats in which I have significant knowledge concerning the subject matter, or something I am extremely passionate about such as sport marketing/business. I can say that one of my most successful chats has been #internpro, where I feel that my content is shared significantly more than others and often by the moderators. I do a number of things to stand out including quick responses to questions, highlighting specific participants I want to reach, addressing the moderators in every post, posing strong questions that call for quick responses, utilizing humor in my posts, and trying to be as creative as possible when addressing the questions posed. Admittedly this is not always foolproof and I sometimes find myself at a loss for engagement. It is in these moments that I do whatever it takes to get my name into the discussion, responding to as many questions as I possibly can, following relevant users and addressing them immediately after, sharing content I have written on my blog, and a number of other appropriate techniques to call attention to myself without straying from providing quality content. One of the dangers of trying to stand out is reducing the quality of your posts. Instead I search for ways to drive engagement without reducing the quality of my posts, rather than searching for any and all engagement I want the right people seeing these posts (although I’m not opposed to some extra blog hits). Being in Tweetchats has helped me refine my style and voice to better stand out in communities that are constantly flooded with content. This has been a great tool for me as I have gained some important connections and dramatically improved the number of followers. In the last two months my following has increased by nearly 75, and growing with another 7 from #internpro tonight. In the virtual world being a 6’2 ginger named Lochlan can only help so much.
  1. Identify key traits of moderators to better understand community management.
    As the end of the semester approaches, the ever daunting task of hosting our own Tweetchat continues to loom over our heads. Needless to say nerves have set in. One of the places I have turned in this time of need is to the current moderators of chats I participate in. I have found that simply by identifying the way these chats are run, and how the moderators interact, I can better identify how I want my chat run. I have found that the moderators of #internpro are some of my favorite, as every time I enter the chat I feel that they are incredibly receptive to their participants. Through my tweetchatting I have picked up on some useful techniques to moderating a Tweetchat of my own. First and foremost you must promote your chat, both within other chats and through your own profile. Once you have established a date and topic it is crucial that you let your followers know, as well as doing everything in your power to reach those outside your following. Make sure you utilize a Twitter Client like Hootsuite or Tweetchat. Even though my initial Tweetchat may be small in size, it is important you make it easy for yourself to quickly engage with participants and stay up the second on responses coming through. This simply cannot be accomplished on the standard Twitter feed. It is important that everyone and anyone feel welcome in your chat and as moderator you do your best to welcome and thank them for coming by specifically tagging them in a welcome post. At this point you might want to pose an interesting question to get discussion flowing in a relevant way, such as asking who their favorite team is if your topic relates to sports. Make sure you have questions (and responses) ready to go. In my experience anywhere from 4-8 questions should suffice as long as they are interesting and engaging! Do your best to respond to everyone you can, but don’t overwhelm yourself. Make sure to focus on the response at hand rather than trying to answer 5 at once. Pay extra attention to new visitors, retweet the best content, and allow participants ample time to respond to questions. It is crucial you utilize some form of metrics and measurement tool, to organize and compile all of the participant’s tweets and send them out after they are archived. Finally reach out to specific people you want involved and ask them to join your chat, and make sure you’re not a control freak. As long as you stick to these guidelines I believe anyone is capable of running a successful chat.

As my own Tweetchat looms ever closer to its debut this Wednesday, April 2nd I can only brace myself for what is to come. I have chosen to discuss current marketing trends in the extreme sports industry. Being my first Tweetchat I have turned to Twitter for advice, and do my best to discern the best promotion and moderation techniques from the Tweetchat gurus that currently dominate the Twitterverse, possibly probing them for questions, and remembering to always utilize these platforms as learning tools.

If you’re interested in extreme sports and the marketing that goes on behind the scenes I urge you to participate in my first Tweetchat Wednesday, April 2nd, at 9pm under the hashtag #xtremechat! Your participation will go a long way and will certainly not go unnoticed. I am ecstatic to get this underway! See you all on Wednesday!


March Madness is Upon Us!

It’s that time of year again. Spring is nearly upon us, and with it what is possibly the most revered and talked about collegiate championship in the world. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, hailed for its do or die nature that puts seasoned champions on the line against hungry underdogs with an appetite for upsets.

  • The NCAA began its tradition in 1939. 2014 will mark the 76th Anniversary of the Tournament.
  • The Tournament began with only 8 teams, and now stand at 68.
  • You have a 1 in 9.2 Quintillion chance of selecting a perfect bracket. If you can Warren Buffet wants to give you $1 Billion Dollars.
  • The Tournament demands high capacity stadiums with a record attendance of 826,989.
  • An estimated 1 in 10 Americans will fill out a bracket this year with over $7 Billion dollars on the betting line.

Although chances of selecting that perfect bracket are slim, we will always be willing to give it a go. The NCAA Tournament is the sole reason the month of March has been revered as the holy month by basketball fans and sports enthusiasts alike. Don’t let the odds scare you from choosing your bracket, and certainly don’t rule out the underdogs as this tournament is famous for its Cinderella Stories. If you wanted to see your odds of a perfect bracket in paper, the number of possible brackets would only stack from the Earth to the Sun 6,000 times… But fret not! The perfect bracket is out there begging to be picked so fill out those brackets people! Oh and by the way…Let’s go Blue Devils!



America likes it HOT!

American Hot Sauce Comsumption

If my own undying love for hot sauce were not enough, Americans have confirmed that my addiction is more than simply a personal obsession. It’s a national pandemic. This is directly related to the influx of Asian and Latino immigrants who culturally maintain a higher tolerance for spicy foods. It is also a result of the booming popularity of a personal favorite of mine, chicken wings.

Even grandma likes it Hot

Major names in the sauce industry like Frank’s (the holiest of the hot) and Sriracha have seen significant growth in sales as hot sauce popularity has spiked. This has been a trend taking place over the last decade in which hot sauce sales have grown more than 150%. Americans are no longer shying away from spicy foods, and often welcome the challenge of trying new, more intense levels of heat. As the super bowl approaches, hot sauce businesses are lining their pockets with Americans set to consume more than 1.25 billion hot wings on Super Bowl Sunday alone, not counting the 25 billion that are devoured annually. Chickens across the country are living in fear, as the wing craze continues to grow and with it, the hot sauce industry.

Chickens are praying for change

Max Parrot Wins Slopestyle at Winter X 2014


This Parrot took to the skies winning snowboard slopestyle at 2014’s Winter X Games against the world’s best, including the likes of Sochi favorite Mark McMorris. Look to see more from this up and coming name in the near future, as he clearly showed his ability to ride with the top tier.

Max threw down one of the best runs X Games has seen linking some extremely technical tricks on a tight course that left no room for error. Max Parrot delivered in the rail section, including a cab 270 on the down rail, an intense hardway back 450 on the down flat down, gapping the flat, and rounding it out with a big 270 to lip on the up flat down. Parrot did not dissapoint on the jumps section combining two technical doubles with two triples including a cab triple underflip and a backside triple cork 1440 to take the gold home.

Many people including myself had heard little to nothing about this rising star. Keep an eye on the competition circuit as more and more underdogs like Parrot climb the ranks. Watch out for some names including Aleksander Oestreng, Stale Sandbech, and Billy Morgan to stay ahead of the curve as the next generation of riders knocks on the door.

The Rise of the Millenials!

My fellow Millennials, our time has come. As we approach the next crucial years of our lives, the workforce must open its doors to allow the next generation to take over. Employers must change their tactics and prepare to cater to a new breed of employee. Here are just some of the mind blowing stats that accompany the growth of the Millennial in the workforce:

  • By 2025 Millenials will represent 75% of the global workforce.
  • 1 in 10 Millenials makes over $100,000.
  • Millenials represent the most culturally diverse generation yet.
  • Millenials are insatiable consumers and are expected to surpass Baby Boomer spending by 2018.

Millenials will soon be the driving force behind the worlds economy and with our positive, goal oriented, self reliant, and tech savvy attitudes and skills, we are certain to take the workforce by storm. Watch out Baby Boomers, Millenials survived Y2K and are here to stay.