The Best of the Best

The first blog post that I would like to showcase would be my latest one:

A Tribute to Athlete Parents

Why though?

Well let me tell you…

This blog post hits all three objectives as set by Dr. Summer’s in her “About Blogging” assignment. For the first objective, the article arouses an emotion that connects college athletes, high school athletes, previous athletes or any person active in the sports world today, to their parents directly. The blog inspires an online conversation about praising their parents and being forever grateful for them. What’s interesting to see is that parents are now beginning to be a part of social media today. So now the online conversation is going to expand and include multiple parties.

The article applies concepts of a spreadable article, from Jenkins article about why media spreads, as well as principles from Berger’s STEPPS. The blog post is easy-to-share and has emotion, practical value and triggering affects all within the article.

Lastly, the blog post meets the last objective in way that it connects the course discussion of why media spreads with a personal interest of mine, which is thanking my parents whenever I can.

In fulfilling the qualities of a successful blog entry, the blog post incorporates multiple qualities from either readings, class discussions, and Blogs of the Weeks. The blog incorporates quotes, while having them stick out from the reading. The blog also includes a video that is explained and helps add to that emotional appeal by showing Kevin Durant cry in front of millions of viewers. The blog is written in a conversation style way that doesn’t make the blog feel like a written paper, rather just me talking to the readers. The blog also incorporates a different writing style that shows off some of the main reasons why athlete parents rock such as making those reasons bold…and then explain.

My previous blog was the last blog of the year so I was able to use a previous 7 weeks of feedback and combine different ideas from different blogs into one blog that I believe is awesome. I could have kept writing in this blog for as long as I could. This strong passion I showed in the blog post really exemplifies why this blog is a representative of my best work this quarter.

The second blog I would like to showcase is a later blog that I wrote in mid-October:

How Do We Know if You’re Real or Not??

Again, why?

First, the blog meets the first objective of creating a writing style that engages an audience. The blog featured a title that asked a question. Well, as a reader, if you wanted to know the answer then you would have to read the article. This engages a reader to read a little bit and then hopefully hook him/her into reading more. An online conversation is also inspired in this blog post because I talk about a topic that has been really prevalent in our generation today. Online dating, catfishing, and literally Facebook messaging have all seen to be major problems in online conversations today. It’s too easy to fake a real life person.

The blog also meets the second objective of applying concepts discussed in class such that the blog incorporates an infographic that helps emphasize how scary the online world is and how much of it is fake people or bots. Again, the blog is easy-to-share and triggers an emotion of being afraid. Someone who is engaged in online dating could potentially think twice before trying to meet that mysterious person.

Lastly, the blog extends the course reading, When Facebook Friends Die, to Manti Te’o’s testimony to ESPN. I was able to connect this current event, or was current event, to a reading discussed about how real connections and feelings are developed between two people even when neither party actually met one another.

This blog fulfills the qualities of a successful blog entry by mimicking old blog post writing styles, including graphics, and also writes in a way that is engaging for the audience. The blog writes in a communication style writing, as if I was talking to you, but on paper. This not only is easier to read, but also engages the reader to continue to keep reading on especially when a question is asked. The blog also incorporates an easy-to-read infographic that gives the reader a quick way to read the data associated with my blog topic.

Again, my passion into writing this blog post really shows when I try to incorporate different writing styles I’ve seen throughout the quarter and also different concepts we’ve discussed in class. The blog also shows off my ability to have a conversation with literally no one, except to those who I hope read my blog. Overall though, the blog is well organized, engages the reader to keep reading and includes evidence from current events and course readings.

Side note: All of my blogs kept to my theme of sports and social media which was really hard at times, but also rewarding in the sense that I got to explore a topic I probably would have never done before this course.

Cheers.

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A Tribute to Athlete Parents

Thank you

A simple message for all those superheros out in the world right now. There are not enough words and not enough time in the day to express how thankful and lucky athletes are to have parents as superheroes. So I thought “thank you” did just the trick.

This blog is not to downplay non-athlete parents or anything like that, you guys are cool and dope too. You deserve all the praise and love in this world just as much as athlete parents do.

However, this blog is going to showcase the parents of athletes and their incredible talents or as you might call them…superpowers.

Yes. Superpowers.

Not all of them will be talked about as there are too many to be talked about in this blog, but here are some of the best superpowers that deserve the most praise.

Making Money Not an Issue

Playing sports isn’t free. Athlete parents will spend countless amounts of money on uniforms, clothing apparel, gas, hotel fees, tryouts, equipment and etc… just so that their kid can enjoy and play a game they love. This superpower of making money not an issue is one that athletes will forever be grateful for.

Thank you.

Making Distance Never Matter

Games for athletes are never in the backyard so traveling is always required. Athlete parents sacrifice so much of their own time in order to travel their kid to a practice or game. Even the away games, athlete parents will do everything they can in order to see their kid play and never make distance matter.

Thank you.

Making Time Just a Number

Sometimes a practice for an athlete parent’s kid is at six in the morning. Athlete parents will never make time an excuse to not have their child make a practice. These parents will wake up willingly and will always gladly take their child to that six in the morning practice just so that their kid can continue to excel and grow. Also, the time required to travel is always irrelevant. Athlete parents will sacrifice their own free time and use that time to travel to their child’s game. They make time just a number.

Thank you.

Taking a step back from the tribute…

 

No matter the age of the athlete, the occasion of the event or how big of a star the athlete is, I think it’s incredibly amazing how athletes will always pay tribute to their parents.

Do you remember Kevin Durant’s memorable speech that praised his mother for everything she did for him? Here’s the clipping from his speech that commemorates his mother:

“We weren’t supposed to be here. You made us believe,” Durant told his mother. “You kept us off the street. You put clothes on our backs. You put food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate and [you] went to sleep hungry.

“You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”

~Kevin Durant

…brb…crying…

Or what about Dick Vitale making sure his parents got the first thank you for his success:

…my mother and father never had a formal education, but they each had a doctorate of love. They constantly inspired me to always pursue my dreams. I was fortunate to grow up in a home filled with love…

It’s just purely amazing how these athletes understand the pains and struggles their parents went through just so that they could be as successful as they are today. Durant showcased his mother’s superpower of loving and protecting him no matter what. Vitale showcased his parent’s superpower of love and support.

Also, the popularity of these kinds of tributes is seriously amazing and wonderful to see. As Maria Konnikova would put it:

We share what we’re thinking about—and we think about the things we can remember.

Whenever I see a video or an article where an athlete is thanking their parent for all of their success, like the one above, I will always think back to my younger days and realizing how special my parents were. I remember all the games they drove me to, all of the practices they picked me up from, and them driving to all of my college football games. I will never be more grateful for them. That’s why I’m always engaged in these types of stories and will always share these heartwarming stories.

Coming back to the tribute…

Athlete or not, thank your parents, grandparents or whoever has taken care of you in your life. They deserve the world.

Cheers.

 

Student-Athletes: The Face of News

If you really think about it, student-athletes and their appearance in any source of news is inevitable to see sometimes.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Like you constantly see a news headline, whether positive or negative, just popping up in your Twitter feed, showing up in a quick newspaper skim, or anywhere that gives you some sort of news content…

The image above is only a slight snippet of all the news headlines that make the news world today. It’s crazy to see the full range of news headlines going from sexual assault and hazing to scholar-athlete awards and student-athletes excelling in both their sports and in the classroom.

But why?

Why are student-athletes such a hit for a news article? Why do these types of stories, whether positive or negative, get shared so much as to where they become viral? What is really in these news articles that when I read it, I want my friends to know about it? Why do I want to share these articles?

Let’s explore…

The Six Things that Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You, written by Maria Konnikova, can help us find 6 reasons as to why these stories do have the potential of going viral. Konnikova explores Jonah Berger’s, professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, interest and curiosity of answering the question:

What pushes someone not only to read a story but to pass it on?

Konnikova points out that Aristotle was already thinking about, but also answering, this same question in 350 B.C. Konnikova writes:

The answer, he (Aristotle) argued, was three principles: ethos, pathos, and logos. Content should have an ethical appeal, an emotional appeal, or a logical appeal. A rhetorician strong on all three was likely to leave behind a persuaded audience.

It makes sense doesn’t it?

If it doesn’t, then dive into Dr. Summer’s quick reflection exercise…

Look back at one of your social media sites, doesn’t matter if it’s Facebook, Instagram or whatever, and check to see what your last shared content was. Why did you share that certain piece of content? What about that content made you share it?

After asking yourself those questions, you probably answered them using words that could describe an appeal as mentioned above.

So back to my main point, what is in these student-athlete articles that make them so viral?

Using Jonah Berger’s Contagious Framework (STEPPS), we can evaluate different types of student-athlete articles using this contagious framework:

  1. Social Currency – The interesting content in student-athlete articles is almost always going to be very popular and it’s going to make you want to be in-the-know so you share it with your friends. It will make you look popular if you share it because you’re in-the-know.
  2. Triggers – A student-athlete article is going to trigger something in your brain, whether positive or negative. As said by Berger, “Top-of-mind means tip-of-tongue”. You want to share that article if it’s at the top of your mind.
  3. Emotion – Student-athlete articles will arouse so many different emotions. As said by Berger, “When we care, we share.” Again, relating to triggers, a ticked off emotion is going to motivate you to share that article to show how angry you are. A heartwarming student-athlete article will make you feel happy so you share it to commemorate the student-athletes success.
  4. Public – Student-athlete articles will contain some sort of information that can easily be made public. The content could lead to hashtags on social media, local rallies, or something simple as a bracelet to support a student-athlete’s battle with cancer. Showing off the student-athlete information in any form will help it grow no matter what.
  5. Practical Value – This framework can’t actually be seen with a negative student-athlete article since we want to learn from mistakes, but a positive student-athlete article with obtainable and measurable goals can be very practical. It’s shareable because it contains motivation for you and others to know that if someone else could be a student-athlete, so can I and everyone else.
  6. Stories – Almost always, a student-athlete article is going to have the set-up story about how this one person got into the situation he or she is in today. A very good read will get shared to others for them to enjoy the read.

Overall, a student-athlete article could potentially contain all six of these contagious frameworks… a pretty good reason to share the article. However, a student-athlete article will always find a way to hit at least one contagious framework. Another reason to believe that student-athlete articles being the face of news isn’t so shocking.

Spread the good and share to end the bad.

Cheers.

How Do We Know if You’re Real or Not??

One of the major reasons why I believe online dating is a dangerous game to be apart of nowadays…

How do we know if you’re real or not??

But seriously how do we know?? Yeah we can take the four hours of our life to stalk the crap out of you, but even then. They are too many clever people out there who can create a person out of thin air.

Read this interesting infographic I found about the amount of fake accounts in the internet today…

How-Many-of-the-Internets-Users-are-Fake1

Source: Digital Information World

36% of the internet is completely fraudulent?? The amount of fake Facebook users continuing to grow, despite the numerous attempts of Facebook to eliminate these fraudulent accounts, is just…

Scary! Am I right??

Let’s look at Manti Te’o’s situation…

If you haven’t heard – This young man, while a college student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame, was one of the countless victims to fall into this fake account scam. ABC News provides the timeline to the whole situation, but I’ll provide the quick summary…

To begin everything…Manti Te’o first gets a girlfriend, “Lennay Kekua”, over Facebook. They Facebook message each other for long periods of time while they were dating. Along with the Facebook messaging, some phone calls were exchanged along with the process. After some time, Kekua tells Te’o that she has Leukemia. After a couple of weeks, Te’o finds out from Kekua’s brother that his “girlfriend” lost her battle to Leukemia…

Sad right?

Wellllllll not really because Te’o gets a phone call about three months later from Kekua saying that she’s not actually dead.

WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED?

Okay…yes. Manti Te’o is not the smartest guy on the planet for dating someone he has never met before. Te’o could have also taken some other steps in determining if this girl he was talking to actually existed. However, that’s not my point…

My point is that Te’o developed real feelings for this girl! Without even seeing her…

…weird…anyways…

Private investigations concluded that this girl never even existed and was a hoax the whole time…

Shear madness…that’s what this whole thing is.

Manti Te’o describes to ESPN about his feelings for Kekua by saying:

“I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her.”

These same feelings can be seen in the article Dr. Summers shared with our class this past week. The article, When Facebook Friends Die, is about the connections a woman, LJ Charleston (the author of the article), makes with her old friends over Facebook, after they have tragically passed away.

More specifically, the article goes into depth about how Charleston gets so connected with a friend that she has only conversed with over Facebook. Charleston writes:

I felt like we were friends and I believe she felt like I was her friend — even though we’d never looked each other in the eye, or given each other a hug or shared a bottle of wine.

It’s crazy to see these connections people feel and create, even though no actual human interactions were made. It just amazes me to see this kind of stuff happening…

How do we know there is an actual person on the opposite end of a simple Facebook message or a Twitter direct message?

…To Charleston’s defense, she did know that her social media friend existed through friends. However, that doesn’t defeat the fact that she developed feelings without meeting her social media friend.

…Carrying on…

A lot of you reading this whole blog might not totally agree with my whole main focal point and say,

“Oh you can stalk them to be absolutely sure they are real.”

Yes, absolutely. If you are into stalking…while keeping it legal…then all means go for it. I respect your hard work of making sure that person on the opposite end of a conversation is real and human.

All I am saying is that we, as a society caught up in texting, online dating and everything technology, need to be more safe. You never know who’s on the opposite end of that internet conversation.

Cheers.

 

 

The Anxiety of Reading This Blog

The title of my blog this week probably has you feeling a little anxious about what I am going to write about, doesn’t it? It’s like I left a cliff hanger for a Gossip Girl episode on whether or not Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf are going to finally tie the knot. (Spoiler Alert: They do) Well I wanted you all to feel a little anxious about what happened over Saturday, October 14, 2017, when I chose to partake in New Tech City’s Bored and Brilliant Challenge 1. The challenge had me put away my phone for a certain time period as like during the duration of a bus ride or a simple walk. Simple right? *Buzzer Noise* Wrong. On paper this is an easy task, but when you actually perform the challenge. It’s a whole new world.

On Saturday when I chose to perform this task, our football team had an overnight trip to Manchester University. This included a 45 minute trip from the hotel to the University, and then about a three hour return trip from the University back to Rose-Hulman after the game. I am always constantly listening to music and scrolling through social media on these trips. The bus has WiFi and charger ports which also makes looking at your phone an almost guaranteed thing. However, on this particular trip, I didn’t use my phone at all.

Let me tell you, it was one of the more difficult tasks I have ever done in my life. The anxiety that came with this experience was overwhelming at times. Checking social media is almost second nature for me. So you could expect how awful this trip was. However, as the bus ride went on for both trips, I quickly forgot about how worried I was about checking my phone and was more engaged with my surroundings. I was talking to teammates more, getting lost in my thoughts as I was looking at the window and seeing Indiana’s finest corn fields pass along or even paying attention to the movie playing on the screen. Sure the trip seemed longer compared to if I was on my phone the whole time, but I felt like it was a more worthwhile trip. I was glad to partake in this challenge and am sure to do this another time in the future.

I can also relate my social media anxiety to Twitter specifically. This previous week, our class read an article written by Laura Turner, “How Twitter Fuels Anxiety“. The article talks about why we use Twitter and how some of the anxiety we have in life can be fueled by using Twitter. Well some of you might ask how? Easy…Laura explains it perfectly saying,

In no particular order, these are some of the reasons I use Twitter: to check the news, to procrastinate, to see what my friends are up to, to stave off boredom, to find an article I’ve been wanting to read, to seek out new voices to listen to, to make myself feel better by sharing what I’ve accomplished, to see what people are saying to me. In other words, Twitter mimics a lot of the everyday interactions I have—only without the benefit of being face-to-face…

Laura is spot on with the reasons why I’m on Twitter so much. Connecting to my sports themed blogs, I use Twitter a lot for updates, news or highlights for any sports game anywhere. Whether it be keeping up with my old high school football team or seeing how bad the Colts are going to lose this week, I definitely feel that increased sense of anxiety every time I refresh Twitter. Waiting to see if my favorite team will win or trying to find that amazing highlight play, I am definitely at unease for a lot of times in my day.

How to counteract this sense of anxiety you feel everyday? Well it’s not easy, but sure can help in numerous ways. It’s called being mindful. Career services came into our class last Tuesday and shared with us a way to ease our feelings of anxiety. Breathing, embracing your loved ones, and gaining control of your feelings and thoughts really helps you be mindful of your surroundings. The sense of anxiety is overwhelming at times, I experience it almost every day. However, I need to take that step back and be mindful. My team doesn’t have to win. My tweet doesn’t need to have a thousand retweets.

Let’s enjoy the little things in life. From the wise words of Pat McAfee:

Laugh more, hate less. Work hard, cash checks. #Smile

Cheers

The Fantasy Football Trolls

I HATE FANTASY FOOTBALL TROLLS.

Well I actually hate any type of troll really, but what really gets on my nerve is when these fantasy football trolls, who act like their fantasy team is their life and soul, absolutely blow up on an athlete when they perform bad during a game. Like calm tf down and cry somewhere else. My timeline doesn’t deserve your inconsiderate bs.

Let me you provide a typical Twitter/Fantasy Football Troll conversation example from yours truly:

(Excuse the slight grammar mistakes and the profanity…Twitter allowed it so I guess I can)

@MartysaurusRex Literally hate you and everything you do on the field. How about you actually show up to play and score me some fantasy points? You literally lost my fantasy game this week.

twitter 1

@MartysaurusRex Yeah? Well you probably should care since I put $100 bucks into my league and if you’re a “real life football guy”…how about you actually play football then?

twitter 2

@MartysaurusRex Why are we bringing my parents into this? Stop avoiding my questions and get to answering. Seriously don’t like how you think Fantasy Football is so bad for everyone.

twitter 4

Twitter images obtained from: USA Today

Annoying right? I mean I hated myself for actually trying to keep the conversation going. Even though Martellus Bennett’s last tweet was a nice comedic relief for the whole rant, I felt like some of the tweets I was saying were borderline okay to say or not okay to say.

Trolls are every where in the social media world, but it seems as though social media sites, such as Twitter, are taken the proper steps to limit what can and can’t be trolled on. Charles Johnson, infamous Twitter troll, has definitely pushed the lines of what can and can’t be said on social media sites. In the article, “Charles Johnson, one of the Internet’s most infamous trolls, has finally been banned from Twitter“, Caitlin Dewey summarizes his reasoning for being kicked off Twitter because,

Twitter is differentiating between types of acceptable speech; they’re redrawing the boundaries of things you can say in public and things you can’t say in public, in a way that Johnson and others — including Twitter! — aren’t necessarily used to.

Although fantasy football trolls don’t reach the troll level of Charles Johnson, they do, however, challenge the boundaries of things you can say in public and things you can’t say in public.

But why engage in this kind of conversation? Why start the whole fantasy football thing if it only leads to negative social media attention? Well, Jason Smith, fantasy analyst for NFL.com, writes about all of the incentives for engaging in this kind of activity in the article, “Fantasy football is not only a game, it’s a social experience“. He writes:

Look, there’s a thousand reasons why you should play fantasy football. You can win money. You can rip on your friends after a big win. You can feel like a real General Manager by making trades.

Too many people get bogged down into this whole fantasy football thing. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I just want to shout at Dalvin Cook and tell him to stop playing like he has a torn ACL. (Too soon?) However, I don’t engage in the trolling. It’s dumb. I’m an athlete and can understand the annoyance of having a fan blow up your social media. Imagine that…having some jerk tweet at you, saying you suck after a tough loss. It would be hurtful and just plain tick you off right?

Let’s move on from the trolling and act like real adults. Keep your thoughts inside the fantasy league chat and leave the athletes to do their thing. Let’s make social media fun again, shall we?

The Lies of Sports’ Infographics

Have you ever watched a sports game, no matter the sport, where your favorite team is losing with absolutely no chance of winning? Then to only make things worse, have you ever seen the T.V. announcers show the odds, in an infographic, of the opposing team winning over your favorite team? How annoying is that?? It’s like you just want to shout at your T.V. and say, “No, my team isn’t losing tonight!” Then, all of a sudden, your team pulls off the miracle and wins the game! Now you’re yelling at the T.V., “I told you so!” But this situation makes you think a little about that infographic. Why would they show this infographic about your team losing when it actually didn’t happen? This similar action is seen in the betting world. Bookmakers will create infographics, or odds, to show the public the best teams to bet on. When it’s all said and done, you’re most likely out 100 dollars because the Cleveland Browns (the worst team in the NFL) just upset the New England Patriots (one of the best teams in the NFL). It’s dumb and annoying how these infographics lie and cause so much trouble with how we, as humans, think about how a game will end.

Earlier in the school year, our class read an article called, Infographics Lie. Here’s How To Spot The B.S. It’s an interesting article about how infogrpahics nowadays will skew their data by showing an obscure figure or fixing a scale to show, as an example, how Product A is better than Product B. Randy Olsen writes,

However, time and time again we have seen that data visualizations can easily be manipulated to lie. By misrepresenting, altering, or faking the data they visualize, data scientists can twist public opinion to their benefit and even profit at our expense.

Although most bookmakers or statisticians in the sports world don’t usually alter or fake the data, they will most definitely misrepresent the data. This data may seem that one team has the absolute clear advantage to win the game, it could be possible, but it’s not true. We misinterpret a simple infographic by the numbers, such that we think a team with an 91% chance of winning is most definitely going to win the game.

If we take a look into my class’ textbook, “The Best American Infographics 2016”, introduced by Robert Krulwich, we see that, on pages 42-43, a simple infographic of two team’s chances of winning. If I were to follow this infographic blindly, going from the start of the game to the end, I would almost certainly think that the New England Patriots had no chance of winning. However, one play changed the outcome of the game. I was swayed that the Seattle Seahawks had it all in the bag, but they didn’t.

Infographic

The infographic above, which comes from the article, Live Odds: Which team is going to win the Super Bowl LI?, is another example of how the data misrepresents a team’s actual ability to win a game. It literally shows that up to the last-minute of the game, the Atlanta Falcons had this game won. However, it didn’t happen. It sways your thought to believing what it wants you to believe, which is Atlanta winning.

It seems as though the only way for a statistician or a bookmaker to actually predict the outcome of the game is by predicting the future.

The clipping from the movie “Back to the Future”, shown above, is an example of how one might actually predict an actual game correctly. All we need in life is an older you traveling back in time to give you “The Grays Sports Almanac” to successfully know who will and who won’t win the game.

Overall, I don’t like statisticians and bookmakers. They sway the public’s opinion into thinking who will and won’t win the game. Their crazy formulas are cool and all, but they too can’t predict the future. Although there are multiple cases where they are right in predicting the winners of the game, there are just too many cases that tell a different story. Don’t believe the numbers too much because you might just find your team beating the odds and winning themselves a championship.