What Makes an Exceptional Social Media Manager

I love this article from Social Media Today. Recommended reading:

What Makes an Exceptional Social Media Manager

I would like to add something to the “bonus point” section, which reads:

“You never call yourself a social media maven or guru.

Most social media mavens or gurus could never actually manage a social media campaign; they just play the super hero role in meetings.”

Throwing “never call yourself a social media rock star” on that list too.

My greatest idea ever.

As I checked into McDonald’s on Foursquare today, I began to fill in my 140-character space with “No more Shamrock Shakes :[”

This is where I became inspired. The Shamrock Shake is so elusive each year. It’s one of the most popular hashtags on Twitter right now. There is even a website dedicated to where you can find Shamrock Shakes in the month of March (the very aptly named www.shamrockshake.com).

So McDonald’s, why not create a location based smartphone app next year where people can check into their McDonald’s, update users of the app where the Shamrock Shakes are, and then stream to their social networks? You can have a map that showcases the closest locations as to where Shamrock Shakes are and have people share their thoughts on this magical drink. You can even use it to provide fun and useful Shamrock Shake facts, like where Shamrock Shakes are most popular (helpful for those markets where franchises chronically under order).

I think this would be a good way to “shake” things up!

Bling!

A few weeks into my graduate program at the University of Massachusetts, I realized that it was possible that I could one day win a championship ring.

Well, two years after graduating, I am proudly wearing one. Next step? World Series ring. After that, I want to be woman #13 with her name on the Stanley Cup.

Goodbye, Mark Stuart!

Before game 6 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. the Montreal Canadiens

Today, Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler were traded from the Boston Bruins to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik.

Although he’s had a rough season, Stuart has been one of my favorite players for the Boston Bruins. Not a flashy guy, but gets the job done and is one of those all-around nice guys. I admit, I may be one of the few hockey fans who has his jersey.

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to interview him while working in the Boston Bruins media relations department. Here’s the story that resulted from our conversation:

Stuart’s Strong on Boston’s Back Line

Before settling in at the TD Banknorth Garden, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, or “The Dunk” (as it is affectionately known by Bruins fan of both the Boston and Providence variety), was home to Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart for the majority of his career in Black & Gold.

Although the trips up and down I-95 seem to be a thing of the past, this past Sunday, in his third pro year and first as a full time Boston blue liner, Stuart faced some new opponents in a different dunk—the dunk tank at the 18th Annual Boston Bruins Wives Carnival. Fans who attended the carnival were able to take their shot at submerging Stuart in 450 gallons of water.

While the joke on Causeway Street had been which Bruin would be this year’s Dunk Tank victim, the truth is that the good-natured Stuart actually volunteered for the task.

Stuie in the dunk tank at the 2008 Bruins Wives Carnival

“It’s a role I accepted,” Stuart told BostonBruins.com prior to the carnival, “I’ve never been in a dunk tank. I mean, I’ve participated, but never inside the tank.”

What was his one concern?

“I hope it’s not too cold.”

As if that would be a problem for the defenseman who has been braving the cold since he first toddled onto the ice as a curious three year old that wanted to do everything his big brothers did.

“I was kind of a little copy cat,” he admitted.

Fortunately for Stuart (and Bruins fans), he’s been able to do at least two things like his older brothers. All three brothers played for Colorado College and all three were drafted into the National Hockey League.

Eldest brother Mike was drafted by the Nashville Predators and spent time playing with the St. Louis Blues. Middle brother Colin Stuart scored his first NHL goal this past New Year’s Eve when the Atlanta Thrashers paid a visit to the TD Banknorth Garden.

Don’t worry Bruins fans—Mark, the youngest of the Stuart men, returned the favor by netting his own goal against his brother’s squad the next period.

But playing for different teams seems to be the extent of sibling rivalry for these brothers. When asked about how his brothers have influenced his hockey career, Mark had nothing but glowing praise for both of them.

“Colin [has] been huge for me,” said Mark of his brother, who was just recently called up to Atlanta for his first NHL stint. “It’s pretty cool to see him get rewarded. It’s his fourth year pro. He has really put in his time and developed. He’s worked really hard.”

“I looked up to both of them. My oldest brother Mike is a defenseman, so when I was younger I did exactly what he did on and off the ice…He helped me a lot growing up.”

In fact, Stuart credits his family as “the number one reason I am where I am today.”

Not to be neglected in the very athletic family is the littlest Stuart (in both age and stature), Cristin, a senior at Boston College who serves as captain of the Eagles’ women’s ice hockey team, and who Mark says is “ doing great, with both the hockey thing and the school thing.”

Beyond his “real” family, for Stuart the extended family members that he has acquired as part of the Bruins organization have also served as role models.

“Coming into the league, Jay Leach, who was our captain down in Providence, was a good example. [I admired] how hard he worked and took care of his body. He was a very levelheaded guy. I think I looked up to him and learned a lot from him.”

Stuart’s own levelheadedness, work ethic, and leadership are some of the strongest qualities he brings to ice. During the last two seasons, when he was sent up and down between Providence and Boston, Mark never got down on himself.

Instead, he viewed his assignments as opportunities to become a better player.

“When I was in Providence it was great, because the coaches down there really teach…It really is a development team and [the AHL is] a development league. That’s where I really improved.”

Not that his early stints in Boston weren’t appreciated.

“You get to come up here for a few games and learn what it’s like to play at this level and say ‘I could do this,’ you go back down there and continue to work and hope that you get called back up.”

After two years of ups and downs, it looks as though Mark Stuart is finally able to call Boston his home.

And with his “will do” attitude, he’ll look to do whatever it takes to stay — even if it means braving Boston’s finest fans at the Dunk Tank, which he did with aplomb on January 6th.

“The first session I was freezing,” said Stuart of his tank experience. “But you get used to it. The second session was easier than the first.”

Again, just like his first few games in the NHL and his time AHL, Stuart’s experience showed him the way.

“The second session I got smart,” he said, with a laugh. “I put (moisture wicking athletic gear) and a tight long sleeve shirt and another long sleeve over that.

“So, I was a little warmer the second time around.”

Heartwarming story of the day.

My heart was warmed earlier today by visions of 15 flat panel monitors surrounding me in a plush red office that broadcast sports two even larger screens 24/7 (because really, if I had all that would there be any reason to every actually leave the office? But I digress…)

Here’s a story that might warm your heart. Or maybe not.

I’m conflicted. I am absolutely inspired by the spirit and skill of athletes like Anthony Burruto, who have overcome disabilities to match or (perhaps in Burruto’s case) excel over their peers. You see, despite not having legs, Burruto is a pretty darn good pitcher, and can hurl a fastball 80 miles per hour as a high school sophomore. A few years ago, ESPN magazine even highlighted Burruto’s talents and his use of prosthetic legs. At the time, he was so good that he forced ESPN to pose the question: How can able-bodied kids keep up with the superabled?

(Actually a pretty interesting article which dares to discuss whether athletes with prosthetics could one day have an advantage over their peers. Click to read.)

Now, if Burruto’s story had different outcome, it would knock it right out of the park (sometimes you just have to go there with the baseball cliché) as far as heartwarming stories go. But he recently made the news because he was cut from his high school baseball team because coach Mike Bradley did not believe Burruto had the prowess necessary to field a bunt.

I wasn’t at tryouts, so I’ll hold my opinion as to whether I think this was right or wrong. I’ve enjoyed the debates so far and I’m interested to hear what you have to say.

Here’s the piece from ABC News. Let me know what you think.

“The jealous are possessed by a mad Devil…”

Well, I have a little social media envy.

The New Jersey Devils just launched Mission Control which, as a social media/hockey nut, is the “office” I thought only existed in my wildest fantasies.

Surprisingly, “the stuff Melissa’s dreams are made of” is not how Mission Control is described. Rather, the Devils refer to mission control as:

A Digital Command Center designed to activate and further extend the franchise’s online brand presence. Located inside Prudential Center (@PruCenter), the command center will be fueled by fans using Twitter, Facebook and other online channels hosted by the franchise and opening its digital outlets to bloggers and message board users. (full press release here)

A group of 25 (lucky) social media savvy fans called the Devils Army Generals and team social communications consultant Jim Delaney (@activate, one of my personal favorite tweeters) helped develop the idea for the space, which boasts 15 individual screens to monitor the online conversation surrounding the Devils and Prudential Center brands.

I’m a little hazy on how this room and the Army Generals will work together, but I’m eager to see the results. What I can say is that I am glad the Devils have truly embraced social media by involving their fans. Far too many teams have insisted on using social media to “broadcast” versus engage, and there is nothing social about that.

As much as I might pine for a social media command center, I must accept that something like this wouldn’t work for our minor league baseball team. However, there are certain elements from the Devils social media strategy that could apply to a minor league franchise like the one I work for:

  • Encouraging and promoting fans who thoughtfully blog (shout out to the New York Islanders Blog Box).
  • Launching a concourse station which includes computers for fans to update Facebook and Twitter statuses and a photo booth to share an instant game photo with friends.
    For us, this likely can’t happen in the next year or two. We can adapt this strategy by having a concourse table where we can explain to fans how to interact with and follow our team during the game through their smart phones.
  • Get fans involved with crowd sourcing. Even something as simple as a contest to design the next “Burger of the Home Stand” gives fans a larger stake in the team. From personal observation, fans who feel involved with a team are more likely to become advocates of the team, come to games more often, and convince their friends (both offline and on) to attend a game.

It’s incredible how social communications keep on evolving, and there is no place more exciting for these advances to occur than in the arena of sports.