Tips for new bloggers

Nine weeks ago, I was completely unaware of why people chose to create and consistently update blogs. I thought it was just a past time activity which people used to describe their feelings towards various topics and a place to state their opinions on others’ blogs. I’ve heard that some blogs are very lengthy, opinionated and descriptive; I’ve also heard that bloggers can receive a lot of criticism as well as positive acknowledgement. Since I registered for a Social Media marketing class in the last few months of my Master’s program, I was pleasantly surprised to understand that students were required to create a blog and update it on a weekly basis. We were to discuss specific topics and scenarios but were given the opportunity to do so within our own fields of interest. Being a big sports fan, I thought it was the perfect time to share my feelings and experiences not only with my professor and classmates, but with other bloggers worldwide, as well.

(I love this picture below! I thought it showed a more experienced person teaching the child; similar to my professor and findings in this article teaching me – the new blogger. It also adds a little humor because in reality, the little girl is probably learning very quickly and offering tips from what she has found back to her grandfather!)

It was week 1 of 11 in my Social Media marketing class when I was looking through the syllabus to prepare for the weeks ahead. First sentence: “The final project for this course is writing a concise and professional online blog.” My thoughts? What should my main focus be? What am I interested and experienced in? What am I passionate about? How can I get my points and opinions across in a professional yet personal manner? What will make readers want to come back each week to read my new posts? I chose to do a little research on tips for new bloggers. Below are “10 Best Practices for bloggers:”

  1. Think of yourself as a curator of ideas.
  2. Remember that your blog is a community, not a soapbox. 
  3. Use a lot of tags.
  4. Link early and often.
  5. Plan ahead.
  6. Having said that, do blog about items in the news. 
  7. Don’t be afraid to be personal.
  8. Be brief. 
  9. Make your posts visually interesting.
  10. Work hard on your title.

The tips that really stood out to me were “don’t be afraid to be personal” and “make your posts visually interesting.” Growing up, I slowly came out of my shy personality and embraced my passion for not only sports, but for photography and visual projects. In classes, when I was told we had to create a poster or some sort of visual for a project, I couldn’t wait to get started! Now, in order to get my points across in my blogs, while keeping the readers entertained and interested, I would have to share personal ideas and experiences while expressing my feelings through words and visuals. “You don’t want the content to be all about you 24/7, but neither do you want it to be so impersonal it could have been written by anyone” (RNS, 2012). Blogs that provide photographs, images and/or videos of the topics can really catch the readers’ attention while expressing the blogger’s feelings in a different format. The article also mentioned, “Vary the text within your post to make blocks for long quotes, use bullet points, and even do different colored text” (RNS, 2012). These are all great tips to maintain the readers’ interest and excitement for future blogs.

References

Riess, Jana. (2012). 10 Best Practices for Bloggers: Social Media Series #1. Religion News           Service. Retrieved February 25, 2013 from http://archives.religionnews.com/blogs/jana-           riess/10-best-practices-for-bloggers-social-media-series-1

Instagram: The positive and negative affects on professional athletes

Instagram: one of my favorite apps which is located on my “dock” on my iPhone. I don’t know what I did without this photo editing app that allows me to share my personal pictures and follow those posted by my friends, family, celebrities, professional athletes, sports teams and many more! With various filters to enhance pictures, the opportunity to follow my favorite celebrities and athletes through their everyday lives and professional careers, there is not much time for personal lives to remain personal. Don’t get me wrong, this is great for the fans to understand that their favorite stars are actual human beings and participate in normal daily behavior; however, it also shows that fans can become too heavily involved in their favorite stars’ lives. It has gotten to the point where fans are actually arguing with one another via comments, posts, blogs or replies. I see this all the time on Instagram; not only is it pathetic, but it can give a bad reputation to the athletes or sports teams.

I found an interesting article on Squidoo.com (2012) which mentioned, “[Deron Williams] was new to Instagram and he has proven to be a prolific poster, putting up between 4-10 photos a day as the US Team has toured Europe tuning up for the Olympics. It is a fun glimpse inside the latest version of the Dream Team” (Page 2). Although the writer of this article made a great point, he failed to mention the negative comments found on many of Deron Williams’ Instagram photos. I am not saying that Williams is a negative influence or unskilled athlete by any means, in fact, he is the complete opposite; however, this is just one of the risks that professional athletes choose to take when posting personal pictures for the general public to view. They are allowing fans and followers to state their opinions freely. This could directly affect others’ views and feelings towards the athletes or professional sports teams they play for.

I follow mostly New England sports teams, athletes and coaches, mainly because they are my favorite teams and I enjoy viewing pictures of the professional athletes during warm-ups, practices, traveling, game days, post-game events, etc. I can honestly say that I have seen more negative comments on these photos than positive, especially after a loss, trade or injury. If I was in charge of social media or Instagramming pictures for a professional sports team, I would hope for positive feedback and good responses from the fans; although this does occur and the pictures keep fans updated and informed of what the athletes are doing every day or week, the negative comments have not and most likely will not stop.

I’d be very curious if professional sports leagues, teams or coaches are banning the use of Instagram and other social media sites from their athletes for the main issue of negative influencing. This is a major risk that, I’m sure is used and will be used, to prevent bad feedback against professional sports teams and athletes. It could even embarrass the athletes or get them in serious trouble not only with their coach, team or league, but with the law. However, as of now, it is the athletes’ personal rights to post what they want, when they want for all to see. It is strange to think what these athletes have to say about the comments posted on their Instagram picture, or if they even care. Maybe they just like the attention? All I know is I will continue following my favorite athletes and teams on Instagram and will be sure to keep you all posted on the affects it has towards sports’ reputations!

 

References

(N/A). (2012). Squidoo. Celebrities, Photographers & Other Interesting Instagram Users. Retrived February 18, 2013 from http://www.squidoo.com/celebrity-instagram

“The Score” App… for sports fans everywhere!

One social media app that my friends and I have found very useful is called “The Score” app. In the sports industry, with games, scores, statistics and much more constantly being changed and updated, The Score app helps fans stay connected with the touch of a few buttons. It is used for all sports organizations and teams at various levels. The app provides scores, game updates, breaking news, records achieved and much more. Each of these updates is customized for the specific users and teams of interested. The Score’s website said they offer, “Customized feeds, real-time alerts and one-tap social sharing.” Users can check stats and scores with a few simple clicks and it is much quicker and more efficient than other sports applications I have come across!

The Score app also consists of different sections including: My teams, My players and My score. The official website stated, “View all of your favorite teams from any league, all on one page. View upcoming games, real-time scores, and get up to date team specific news.” These allow users to enter their favorite teams and athletes into their application for easy access to updates and scores. There is no need to scroll through hundreds of sports leagues and teams to find updates. In today’s society, everyone is looking to save as much time as possible; why would this be any different for social media apps?

Speaking of social media apps, The Score app also gives users access to theScore.com’s blogs and videos! Talk about branching out to different social media websites and targeting even more people. The blogs and posts have discussed recent awards received including: iTunes Rewind 2011: Best Sports App in US and Canada as well as Best App Ever Awards 2011: Best Sports App. Tweets, Facebook statuses and blog entries have all shared comments regarding these achievements, spreading the word to users worldwide.

People have also tweeted about The Score app and how beneficial it is in their everyday lives! Users tweet @theScoreApp daily so that other users and prospective users and sports fans can learn more about this great app. Each post on Twitter also includes the link to their personal blog, which is great since the tweets are very brief. The blog goes into more details and offers more information regarding the short post. Users can also tweet the latest news on their favorite teams, athletes or rivals. They can share this news with the Facebook friends or via SMS/email messages, as well. Even my dad, who is a huge sports fan but not tech-savvy at all, has recently downloaded The Score app! Now I understand him when he complains that I “have my phone glued to my hands,” because now, he is guilty of it, too!

The Score app has recently customized their settings. There is now a landscape view to read stats. Users can now flip their phones or devices horizontally to landscape mode to view stats in larger fonts and easier ability to click. Overall, I definitely recommend downloading the app. It’s free, it’s user-friendly and takes a lot less time finding final scores than it does clicking through channels or waiting near the radio to hear results on previous or current games!

References

http://mobile.thescore.com/

https://twitter.com/theScore

Super Bowl… the sporting event that doesn’t only attract sports fans!

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With the Super Bowl right around the corner, sports fans are not only becoming more and more excited for the game, but are becoming anxious to see the commercials and new social media apps! As a big sports fan and a friend of many non-sports fans, I know first-hand that the Super Bowl does not only attract football fans. Although commercials are played every day, on every channel, on every network, they somehow do not compare to those broadcasted during the Super Bowl. These commercials are created to increase awareness of products and services through comedy and creativity.

Social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and other applications allow fans, nonfans, celebrities, athletes, sports writers, and other television networks to post their feelings about all aspects of the Super Bowl. This can include commercials, game outcomes, half-time concerts, uniforms, attendees, weather, parties and events and much much more. Hash tags and @ signs are used every minute to discuss common topics, allowing complete strangers to agree, disagree or choose not to comments on others’ opinions. Controversy does occur because of this, but what would a major hallmark event like the Super Bowl be without a little competition? Personally, I find it very entertaining and informative.

When visiting Twitter (https://twitter.com/search?q=super%20bowl%202013&src=typd) I typed in “Super Bowl 2013.” The first post that caught my eye was one from Huffington Post. They tweeted a link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/29/celebrity-super-bowl-commercials-videos_n_2576026.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003 which gave followers the ability to watch videos from “Celebrity Super Bowl Commercials of the Past and Present.” It’s great to look back on past commercials to make predictions on this year’s best and worst commercials!

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Facebook even has a ongoing list of pages related to the Super Bowl. In relation to Twitter’s Super Bowl commercial posts, I found this link which is always appealing to me: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Super-Bowl-commercials-2013/368567936544738

Pictures are posted from this season’s games, coupons for Pizza Hut and other fast food restaurants that will be having specials on Super Bowl Sunday, and sneak peaks of potential commercials. People worldwide who have “liked” this Facebook page have the ability to comment on posts, “like” status updates, and view all links, videos and pictures. It’s a great way to stay connected and updated with all aspects of the hallmark event.

Other websites like http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/super-bowl-food-top-10-best-super-bowl-recipes/story?id=9745102 offer tips on healthy food options and recipes for Super Bowl Sunday. Followers have the option of “recommending” the link to friends on Facebook or sharing their thoughts on the link with their followers on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google. As we all know, Super Bowl parties are extremely popular. For the strict new year’s resolutioners watching their figures, links to healthy snack and meal options is a great way to increase awareness of chefs and restaurants as well as party hosts that are looking to expand their variety.

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How can a good night’s sleep benefit you?

Yes, it’s January, the beginning of the year. The time when all of the resolutioners are back in the gyms until about mid-February. They are purchasing supplements, diet products and “better” foods. Little do they know that they don’t need fancy supplements, they don’t need to do crazy workouts or take on the latest diet fad. The key ingredient for a healthier lifestyle is getting more sleep! The article below goes into great detail about why sleep is vital for men and women of all ages. Participating in physical activity, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, and parking further away from the mall can all help a person’s health and decrease risks of heart disease and other issues; buying more nutritious foods and having portion control at meals can also help a lot.

However, without a good night’s sleep, it’s tough to stick to any of these decisions. Sleep gives the body more energy, allowing people to feel better, have a better workout, and perform better at work. Not only is sleep extremely important for the every day person, but it is crucial for athletes since they are typically participating in higher-intensity workouts. On days that people participate in different forms of physical activity, they will even find that they will sleep better. When researching how much sleep is enough sleep, it sometimes depends on the type of lifestyle one lives, how much physical activity is performed on a daily and weekly basis and even the age or sex of the person. No matter what the results say, each person can benefit from the pointers discussed in this article below. They relate to various parts of our everyday lives that work together to help maintain overall function of the human body. This includes our memory, weight, mood, cardiovascular health and prevention of diseases.

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After working at a fitness center for over 2 years and participating in sports since I was 5 years old, I’ve always looked for the next best trend in the fitness industry, just like many others. However, when I think about it, getting more sleep is probably the easiest adjustment to make at any age. I found this Harvard based report very interesting. They created a list on the “Six reasons not to scrimp on sleep:” 

  1. Learning and memory – memory consolidation occurs better after we sleep when learning new tasks (and tests scores reflect the difference)
  2. Weight and metabolism – chronic sleep problems can cause weight gain by altering the way our body processes and stores carbohydrates and by altering the hormones that affect appetite
  3. Safety – increased fatigue = a greater tendency to fall asleep during the day, which can be catastrophic (car accidents, industrial accidents, etc.)
  4. Mood – the lack of sleep can increase irritability, impatience, concentration loss and moodiness
  5. Cardiovascular health – serious sleep loss has been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat; Heart health is a very important part of sound deep sleep.
  6. Disease – alters immune function and may help fight cancer.

The Sleep Foundation, found at the link below, is a great place to determine what may be causing #insomnia, #excessivesleepiness and other sleeping-related issues. The slogan is, “Helping America sleep better! Sharing info about the importance and benefits of sleep, and how to overcome and cope with sleep disorders.” https://twitter.com/sleepfoundation

Facebook has also created a page called “Sleeping” where people who “like” this page can view the definition of the word, friends who have also “liked” the page, pictures of themselves and their friends sleeping (which is pretty hilarious) and recent posts made by friends on the topic. Over 24 million people have “liked” this page and many of my friends have made comments related to sleeping behavior and patterns they have noticed. What’s interesting is that many of my Facebook friends who have posted statuses about sleeping issues are non-athletes. This makes a lot of sense after reading the Harvard articles and Twitter links regarding athletes receiving better sleep due to performing more physical activity.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sleeping/102168219824412