No Crossing The Blog Line

Apologies all around for not posting this week. Sometimes life happens.

Mark Cuban, the polarizingly (not a word) charismatic owner of the Dallas Mavericks has decided to ban bloggers from the locker room, creating a clear separation between newspaper reporters and bloggers. As of now, the only person affected by this ban is Tim McMahon who blogs for the Dallas Morning News. McMahon has written a few scathing articles recently about the state of the Mavs and many believe this policy stems from a grudge. Cuban denies there is bad blood and insists that the policy is put in place so that he would not have to grant media access to any and all bloggers who wanted in the locker room.

Questions raised:

– What defines a blogger vs. a journalist? Tim McMahon, as an employee of the Dallas Morning News is subject to that paper’s code of ethics where as Stractical abides by zero codes. We’re both bloggers though. If I started printing these posts and stapling them together, would I be a journalist?

– If this is truly a grudge response from Cuban, is it safe to say that he’s never heard the phrase, “Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.” I guess that should read “Never pick a fight with people who have WiFi access and a laptop.”

Mark Cuban

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NBA Slam Dunks With Social Media

At summer camp we used to call the thrice-a-season dances, “socials.” As kids, we’d frantically search for a clean shirt as we poured mountains of gel in our hair while we mentally practiced the line dance for “Cotton Eyed Joe.”

The topic of social media, previously discussed in this space, is a lot like my socials of yesteryear. There’s a lot of hype, a lot of talk, a lot of posturing about how we can best capitalize on its potential, but when it comes to execution, we’re all still standing against the wall afraid to make eye contact with the objects of our desire.

Jamario Moon

But, then again, sometimes we get it right. Take the NBA. Since the dawn of Youtube (what was that, three years ago now?) the highlight reel mixtape has been a staple of viral videos. A two minute slice reel of dunks and blocks for just about anyone who’s ever suited up exists because of tireless fan dedication and a little Final Cut Pro know how. Recognizing this, the NBA has now fully embraced Youtube, hosting their own channel with game highlights and semi-produced virals.

For this past weekend’s All Star game in New Orleans, the NBA produced virals for some of the Slam Dunk competitors to promote text message voting, including the Toronto Raptors’ Jamario Moon. That video, alluding to a behind the free throw line slamma jamma has all the essential ingredients for a great Youtube clip: it’s short, it looks homemade and it has that “I gotta see that again!” punch that turns a video into viral.

Augmenting the official NBA clips is an influx of player-produced videos like this one made by Chris Bosh. Bosh, in an effort to persuade fans to vote him onto the Eastern Conference All Star team, used Youtube to display his lighter side. And to his success, over 500,000 looked at his “Bubba” clip and Bosh ended up starting the All Star game in place of injured Kevin Garnett.

So, I’m awarding 10 Stractical points to the NBA for both developing a meaningful social media strategy and for creating an environment where players want to independently contribute to the online conversation. Stractical loves this game.

Sixers GM reaches out to depressed fan

In what may be the best display of blogger relations ever, Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Ed Stefanski decided to contact and ultimately be interviewed by a blogger referring to himself as the “Depressed Fan.”

Sixers GM Ed Stefanski

The Sixers are a “rebuilding” team which means the NBA playoffs are probably a few years away and that can be hard to stomach for die-hard fans. Former Nets GM and Wall Street money man Stefanski had the foresight to engage the increasingly crowded sports blogging community which is going to go a long way in bridging some goodwill until he’s able to steer the team in a winning direction.

Hats off to Mr. Stefanski.