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Category Archives: Social Media

Face the Future

Face the Future.

Face the Future.



Much a Tweet about Nothing


While I didn’t celebrate Bo Pelini getting fired as Nebraska’s head coach, it did wonders for me on Twitter. All through the fall, I was around 150-160 followers and gaining 2-3 followers a week. The first 24 hours after Pelini was fired I added around ten followers, and now I have 211 followers, gaining around 3-5 every week.

In a limited sense, all those extra followers ramp up the pressure. I’m more consciousess of when and how often I tweet. I pre-write a lot of them, and put out more pictures and links. One night, I checked my phone before I went to bed, thinking that I had tweeted too little when I had in fact tweeted 33 times that day. When I think about that many separate thoughts, I wonder if I should be putting that time into writing a book instead!

Always looking over your sholder

Always looking over your sholder

Simplifying to Gain: A Twitter Lesson

Twitter can be a lot of things, but in many ways, it’s like the rest of life: you need a plan that is direct but encompasses what you need to do. When I applied that lesson to my Twitter bio, I gained followers.
For about a year and a half, I tried to list all of my interests in my Twitter bio starting with, “aspiring writer/photographer”. But after some of my affiliations had changed last fall, I realized it didn’t make sense to try to cram ten things into that bio when the vast majority of the time, I tweeted about Husker/college football. So I simplified my bio with links to and my own site, and over that time, I steadily gained followers.


Academy Awards Rant: Can You Name a Relevant Film Best Picture?

Last night, the snobbishness of the Hollywood critics reached an all-time high when a film that I hadn’t even heard of before the academy awards was named best pictured. Never mind that last years clear top pic The Social Network was passed for an art house  movie and went straight to a list that includes Saving Private Ryan and Brokeback Mountain. The academy’s insistence on choosing the movies that are made for critics over popular movies.

I’m not talking about The Dark Knight or Inception winning best picture, although Christopher Nolan has done enough work to show his films should be taken seriously. I’m talking about the Academy Awards becoming the Marry Rieppa Ross Theater Awards: virtually all the winners are artsy-Meryl Streep-Alexander Payne films, tailor-made to the .01% of Americans who actually vote in the academy award, lazy film critics who’ve grown fat on cruddy popcorn. If the film academy was like this twenty years ago, The Silence of the Lambs never would have won best picture.

Last years’ snub of The Social Network defines how self-absorbed the critics are. Never mind that the film came out in October: the critics snubbed it in favor of the proper Colin Firth-Helena Bonaham Carter film that was made for them. Yes, it was a film about a man during the most important period in history the last hundred year, but The Social Network was a just as Shakespearean with its themes of betrayal and pain. It just happened that the film was about young people, starring a Zombieland co-star, a 90’s boy band figure, and the next Spiderman, which made it the kind of film the Academy doesn’t wish to flatter.

I’m not one to say that the Academy owes us better best pictures, just a few that the public can embrace more. Sure, there are some years were Gandhi might be a better movie than E.T., which will have longer staying power, but that doesn’t have to be every year. While I don’t expect every single best pic to be accessible to the masses, it would be nice if some were. What’s wrong with giving it to War Horse? It’s not an epic, is it?

After writing this, I watched the trailer for the aforementioned Best Picture for 2012. I don’t need to see it. Yes, I’m sure it’s a very good film in its own right. But it’s not a Best Picture-it’s a pic that exemplifies film critics’ love affair with the past. Enough said.

Super Bowl Recap: Welcome to the Corporate Bowl

Last night, I anticipated that first great commercial leading into the break. Usually, whichever company has the resolve to put their commercial first usually pulls out all the stops and goes with something really funny. Instead, there was a warehouse that looked like Lucas Oil Stadium and an assembly line, which showed a Bud Light Platinum bottle being put together. No joke, no punch line; at least Budweiser spent all that money to introduce a new product.

While last night probably won’t stop advertisers from spending millions on Super Bowl ads, this was the first Super Bowl where the ads were not must-see TV. Usually, Super Bowl ads are mini-plays and parodies in and of themselves, which take up a life of their own. This year, there seemed to be a lot of ads taking a more serious tone, and even the ads I would have be funny (or at least mockable five years ago), like the Elton John as a medieval king, were instead just a waste of time. Disclaimer: I didn’t even know Elton John was that king until he started trending. Either I’m that oblivious, or the year was as bad for ads as I’m writing. I would attribute this serious-ad trend to last year’s Chrysler-Imported from Detroit campaign, which was a great, inspiring ad and has a place in the Super Bowl, but a handful of serious ads late in the game is enough. I want my funny. Companies aren’t spending as much on the Super Bowl as they used: in the third quarter, there were even some local ads.

To the other trends: someone needs to tell and whichever designer was using David Beckham to model briefs, you can’t just be shocking, your ads have to actual humor and punch. Go to Hollywood and get some unemployed screenwriters to punch them up: guys don’t just run out to buy underwear just because an overseas-celebrity wears them, a fact people realized pretty quickly. Unfortunately, the Beckham ad generated the biggest social media response of any ad, meaning some advertiser will be copying it next year. And on that tired-of-gross-out-commercials note, Doritos needs to punch up their ads too, something they should have learned from their tired, dog-runs-into-the-glass-door ad last year. (Seriously, everyone and their grandmother has seen that ad fifty times. Stop insulting dog eyesight.)

Contributing to the lack of waves was an absence of movie trailers. Other than Battleship, The Avengers, and G.I. Joe 2:Retaliation, few of the summer blockbusters bought ad time. No The Dark Knight Rises, no The Amazing Spiderman, no Men in Black III. Dark Shadows or The Bourne Legacy didn’t use the game to announce their coming, and the first quarter’s most significant movie, The Hunger Games, passed as well. For my part, this was the most significant disappointment of the ad experience. Every year, the Super Bowl acted as a platform for great movies (it significantly helped the first Matrix), and not having a slew of great trailers is a let down. The Dark Knight Rises couldn’t have saved some of their football scenes for the Super Bowl? And George Lucas just looks greedy using a montage of Star Wars-original trilogy footage to sell The Phantom Menace in 3-D.

But now to the good: the three most outstanding ads, in my mind, were the Budweiser end-of-prohibition, the Ferris Bueller-update for Acura (which should have aired in the first quarter), and of course, Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler ad. Behind them, I would put the Coke polar bears (not great ads, but good nonetheless), the Bud Light-dog commercial, and the, monkeys-in-suits crowd (and Tony Kornheiser) pleaser, and although to be fair, the monkeys-in-suits shtick would have seemed tired in a year were all the ads were as bad as they were. The biggest winner in the ads-bonanza is Clint Eastwood-he still retains a lot of his Dirty Harry-ism toughness, and is the kind of guy young people wish was their grandfather.

Most surprising trender of the night: GI Jane. I say it in my right twitter column late in the second quarter and thought “What?” Turned out, everyone had noted the irony that Demi Moore had played the titular character in GI Jane fifteen years ago, and now her ex-husband was starring in a G.I. Joe film. Apparently Ridley Scott, doing Black Hawk Down hasn’t made people forget about that film.

A note on the halftime show: As I said before, I had very low expectations for Madonna when I heard she’d be the Super Bowl half-time act, and LMFAO popping in the middle of her act just made her seem all the lamer. When the Roman army came out with her, that was all the confirmation I needed. A quick check today shows reaction is mixed, and I even did turn the sound back on when she started singing Like a Prayer. At least Madonna knows to cover it up, and she didn’t get the gig because her songs where the intro for half of NBC’s highest-rated shows, Ala The Who two years ago for CBS

While everyone noted the irony of NBC using Lady Gaga’s Edge of Glory to set up the first half highlights right before the second half began, this is as audiences are going to get in the post-Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake Super Bowl halftime-wardrobe malfunction: an over-the-hiller who won’t embarrass the shield. But now that the Super Bowl halftime show is as embarrassing as the Pro Bowl, let’s either cancel the thing, or have a family-friendly act do the show, Ala Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, or whoever wins American Idol next year. Perhaps NBC should have had Katherine McPhee perform part of Smash.


In the midst of the Decline and Fall of the Super Bowl Halftime Show and Ad Blitz, there was actually a game. Like a lot of recent Super Bowls there wasn’t really a pop to the game. Although the final score was close, the game was a bit boring and went the way most people thought it would: Giants winning, although not blowing out the Patriots. Of the two teams, Patriots played more to their potential, several times stopping the Giants from inside their own territory and holding them to either field goals or punting. If the Giants had lost, they would have looked at what they’d left on the field and had a longer off-season than the Patriots were having now. Credit Tom Coughlin for keeping his team up after leading most of the half and then going in at a halftime down giving up a late touchdown, and again, on the first drive of the second half.

But the most obvious difference in this game were the receivers: when the game was on the line, Brady’s receivers put the ball on the ground (the two drops that ended the drive with about four minutes to go, plus the drops on the final series) and Manning’s receivers stepped up, especially given that the Patriots were able to take away Victor Cruz for most of the night. And Brady’s best receiver, Rob Gronkowski was able to do little because of his bad ankle. If Gronkowski was fully healthy, he could have made it to the deflected ball in the end zone on the last play of the game.

This shows us what the NFL is about now: teams with quarterbacks, and how much help those quarterbacks have. Perhaps the cerebral game is what makes for the boring ads: star-studded 49er and Cowboy teams aren’t making the Super Bowl, but it’s the teams with elite quarterbacks who get easy roads to the Super Bowl (the Saints Colts, Steelers, and Patriots the last three years), and the teams with enough parts who get hot at the right time (the Packers and Giants the last two years). Yes, the games are at least close, and there was some nice back and forth last night, but there wasn’t this feeling like anything could happen. It was as if the looser was going to be the team who made the last little mistake, which almost ended up being a back-up running back who didn’t fall down at the one yard-line. A Super Bowl with so much end of game clock management just feels weird.

Giants vs. Patriots: Why is Nothing Coming to My Mind, Again? Come Back Sunday to Find Out

Four years ago, when the Giants upset the Packers and Farve on the road and made the Super Bowl, I was rather unimpressed with the subsequent Super Bowl match-up. The Patriots and Giants had played a great game in prime-time the last week of the regular season. The Patriots had won, proven they were worthy of 16-0 and one of the best teams of the last forty years, and the Giants proved they could hang with the Patriots. So the Super Bowl seemed flat, and even flatter in light of the potential Brady-Farve match-up.

So now we’re debating who has more to add to his legacy by the winning another Super Bowl, Tom Brady or Eli Manning, a debate people love to hear in light of the Occupy Movement. This game feels a lot like the Super Bowl  last year: a good game between two teams who did things the right way, and the team that was slightly better (Green Bay) won a close game in non-dramatic fashion. The only thing that could make this game at all interesting is the potential revenge factor and Bill Belichik running it up on the Giants, but he likely lacks the players do just that against this Giants team. Of course, the Giants did have some huge losses in the middle of the years, which no one remember now, so it could happen.

For this Super Bowl to be great, Brady and Eli will have to match each other throw for throw. The really great Super Bowls of my lifetime, Patriots-Panthers, Steelers-Cardinals, and the best of them all, Packers-Broncos, featured lead changes, long plays, and momentum swing like that of a pregnant woman. Of course, the Rams-Patriots Super Bowl was dramatic, but only because it featured the impossible feat a Patriots defense shutting down one of the league’s all time great offenses. If  these quarterbacks coming back time after time, it could be a great game. Neither time is good enough in their back seven to dominate the other team, although the Giants are able to compensate with their pass rush. The wildcard could be this: does Bill Belichik see his team as the true underdog, and if he does, would he then try a trick play? Remember, Belichik called a halfback pass in the Super Bowl against the Rams (Kevin Faulk never threw the ball on the play, though).

Personally, I am betting the Giants at +3, although I did this before I considered the Giants edge: Peter King said on ESPN Radio in the middle of the season that, if the Giants did not generate a pass rush, they were a vulnerable team. With the time to prepare, Belichik can come up with something to counter the Giants’ rush, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Patriots were able to jump out early on the Giants. But I don’t regret the bet; really, I feel this game is similar to the first LSU-Alabama game this year, and at -5, Alabama covering seemed like the least likely outcome. Same thing I feel with the Patriots at -3.

As far as the commercials, I don’t really get into Super Bowl ads, unless they are really good. My favorite year for commercials was 2005 (the one I remember was the Fed Ex one with a list of things you had to have in a Super Bowl ad, which included a dancing, talking bear and Burt Reynolds), and the worst year was 2006, when the second commercial was a hideous musical parody for Burger King that feature the ugliest streamers. The group of people I was with was playing video games when the second half started.

The undoubted highlight of my Super Bowl experience this weekend will be monitoring twitter chatter and reporting it back to you. I don’t know what format it will take, but expect me to have a post by halftime, and possibly one or in the middle of the game, depending on how able I am to get my thoughts together. Of course, I myself will be tweeting during the game too, so feel free to follow me there. I look forward to hearing you thoughts to, and recapping on Monday.

A note on the halftime show: when it was announced on halftime of Sunday night football that Madonna would be performing at halftime, I did a twitter search for her, and it turned out the majority of people did not care. Really, Madonna should thank Lady Gaga for getting her the gig.

Chuck Reminder: A Final Thought

Hey, to all of you who read and enjoyed my Chuck post, just a reminder to check back in after the finale for my thoughts on this blog. If you enjoy the running commentary, follow me on twitter (@DerekJohnson05, link on the side bar), and I’ll be putting out my thoughts as it airs, as well as monitoring the chatter.

In case you haven’t seen it, has a series of three articles, which you will find under that link. Most intriguing news Lost‘s Mark Pellegrino, who played an anonymous Fulcrum agent in season two, will be guest starring. Guess Christ Fedak landed a huge break when Damon Lindelof cast him on his show. Frankly, I’m more inclined to believe my theory that the show will end with a what-the-blank moment. But in just under four hours, we’ll all know. Happy watching!

Touch: Kiefer Sutherland’s New, Gentler Dad and Twitter Survey

As a 24-addict, I was bound to turn into whatever show Kiefer Sutherland decided to make next, although I was a little surprised it took him only a little more than a year to do another pilot (given that he could spend the next twenty years being paid by sharp studio exec to read bad ideas for shows). The other irony of his new show Touch is that the 45-year old Sutherland is playing the father of an eleven year old boy. Not as big of an anomaly as when the 35 year-old Sutherland starred in a show where he had a teenage daughter, and the shows timeline ended fourteen years after the events of the pilot/first season.

Second oddity: another action veteran, Danny Glover, joins Sutherland in the cast. Might as well be Angels in the Outfield.

I liked the pilot: I wasn’t turned on by all of the international scenes and didn’t even watch all of them. (Hey, I was making apple kuchen.) The main storyline with Sutherland’s Martin Bohm and his son was pretty good, although Sutherland still exhibits a lot of Jack Bauer’s signature desperation. 24 was such an unique environment, taking place against a ticking clock; Sutherland may be taking on a new show a little sooner than he should, but at least for him, Touch will likely be appealing to a different crowd than 24 did. And David Mazouz, who plays the key role of Sutherland’s son, exhibits the characteristics of the cerebral boy quite well.

But the central premise of the show-in a world where everyone is connected by a thread and certain people are “meant” to met, a mute autistic boy can predict the future using numbers-comes across as a bit stilted to me. Maybe I just wanted to see a few more acting moves from  Sutherland, who plays a hero with only a couple of levels. (24 writer once said that there were only so many ways they could write Jack.) And even though it is a procedural, I feel like this show could really hinge on the payoffs of season-long arcs. But I do think I will try the show when it returns in March.

Surveying #Touch on Twitter (where it did begin to trend), most people received the show positively, some saying it was nice to see a positive-slanting show on the air (the Touched By an Angel crowd I’m guessing) and the Kiefer fans were happy too. But the interesting thing was how the tweets progressed: at the half-hour mark, the tweets were universally positive, but by the fifty minute mark, there was a noticeable minority of tweets starting to say that the show was confusing. Translation: show could have a devoted group of fans, which is what it may have to rely on to push it to renewal after renewal.

Check out the promo for Touch‘s upcoming season here:

Thoughts as Paterno Has Passed from this Life, and a Few More on those Errenous Tweets

It used to be, before the Penn State scandal broke last falll, I would always get sick of those BTN tributes to Joe Paterno, but now that he has died, I really do feel like all those things have some extra meanings. Jonathan Franzen wrote that when his father died, his memories of him froze in his head. Now that Paterno is gone, I watched all those tributes on ESPN and heard everyone talking about what a positive influence Paterno had on them, I kept thinking to myself, wow, his life really meant something.

(This image comes via the twitter feed of Tim Gilbert [@TimGilb] and was taken Sunday night as fans gathered at the Paterno statue to pay their respects. Gilbert writes for The Daily Collegian, an Independent Student Newspaper at Penn State, and his feed provided some great moments from Paterno’s statue on Saturday night. Thanks, Tim.)
I’m a Lutheran Christian person, and I believe that God works in spite of our failures. As I’ve said yesterday, I have been critical of Paterno’s inaction in the Sandusky case, but that doesn’t have to blur out the positive contributions he made to the people around him, especially his own family. Jay Paterno said to Tom Rinaldi (in the ESPN inteview two posts down from this one), that in his final days as he suffered from cancer, Joe Paterno urged his children not to feel sorry for him and to care for their matters. It must not have been easy for him to give Sally Jenkins an interview, but he did that too, and those two things are the marks of a selfless person.
As a fan of college football, while I am sad today, I am grateful that today, we are remembering Joe Paterno’s best memories, and hearing from many coaches who he made better coaches. Yes, there will be days when we have to judge Paterno’s record, and I will undoubtedly be back here in this space to share my thoughts. But until then, I will be remembering the positives about Paterno.

It was very disappointing yesterday when errenorous reports of Paterno’s death leaked. After my post yesterday, I continued to monitor twitter. Up until 8:45 P.M. Eastern , there continued to be random tweets that referenced that Paterno had died, until finally at 8:45, many news outlets began to go with stories of Paterno’s death (and of course his Wikipedia page was update), until other tweets began coming out at 9 from official sources that Paterno was indeed still alive and fighting.

Here’s a good story that has a timeline of the most important tweets in the false reporting, to its correcting: Link

Ironically, this shows both the power of twitter to get things incredibly wrong and to correct them quickly. As I noted yesterday, there was some simmering on twitter that Paterno had died, which undoubtedly stepped up the pressure on the news organizations to find out if he had indeed passed or not. But twitter also allowed Paterno’s family to get out in front of the story easily, and stop it before it got too far, and saved the family and other news organizations from embarrassment. I’m guess Joe Schad and other ESPN reporters are very grateful now that they can’t break stories on twitter before they are broken on ESPN the network.

Either way, Yahoo! Sports columnist Pat Forde tweeted it best when he said that Paterno’s death was just something any news organization could get wrong, at all.

My Voyage into the Twitter-Verse: Speaking the Way No Man Has Spoken Before

Facebook is that most of us use with ease, but Twitter, while it is in the same social media breath, is harder. I started out on twitter two  and a half years ago and I followed public figures, but I rarely tweeted myself. Over the course of the last few months, I’ve learned how to tweet regularly, and now I frequently tweet at least five or six times a day, and sadly, as many as twenty. I still only have about forty followers, but I’m keeping my hopes up. But since I learned how to tweet from scratch, hear are some of the things that I’ve learned about the process of tweeting.

The first step in learning to tweet is listening. While I ended up driving myself crazy refreshing my feed every five minutes, it helped to teach me how other people tweeted. I knew I couldn’t just put out information, like reporters or Adam Schefter do; I had to be original, which is hard with the character restrictions. At a social media seminar I attended, Lisa Landry (@LisaaLandry ) said that she monitored twitter for a year before she started tweeting regularly. (By the way, Lisa is a great follow if you want to learn about developing your twitter and social media skills.)

Follow like-minded people who share your interests and who get you thinking. Don’t just try to imitate them or retweet them: challenge them and interact with them. Remember, twitter is a conversation, not just random chirping. And the great thing about twitter is, they provide trending topics to the side. If you nervous, just pick one of those topics, and just give a quick thought on it. Or see what others are saying about it, and respond to what others say about it.

The second step for me was learning to think in “twit-speak”. You thoughts have to be short and quick to fit in the 140, and ideally, 120 characters. Consider all the topics you think about every day, the information you consume, the decisions you make, and shoot it out quickly. Trustworthy sayings, as one of my college professors said about 1 Timothy. Malcolm Gladwell based his book Blink on his theory that first impressions are usually right; I take that midset into the tweets.

The experience that really taught me how to tweet was college football, and specifically Husker football. When I watch the Nebraska football game, I would often have my computer in front of me and be updating my twitter feed throughout the game. I found my experience to be enriched as I watched in the middle of the thoughts of beat writers and other fans, and added my own thoughts to the conversation. It’s also easier to get injury updates mid-game. And when I went to games and didn’t have my twitter in front of me, I was easily frustrated.

From that experience, I learned to separate my thoughts into little containers. I think of it like this: every day, I take in and process a lot of information. When I get up in the morning, I say prayers, so it’s a good time to tweet out a line of Matins, the morning prayer office. I make a point to tweet out a line of my devotions. Then, I turn on ESPN radio to list to Mike and Mike and the Herd, and I’m tweeting my takes at them. I look for at least one person a day to pump up on twitter. I usually take on at least two or three trending topics to comment on. If there’s a game on that interests me, I tweet about it. When I’m watching TV, I tweet about the episode (another way to get started-shows now show you the hashtag that you should include in your tweets. So if you favorite show goes bad, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.) If I buy a new product or find a new restaurant, I’ll tweet about it. Now, when I’m reading a book or an article, or a new movie trailer comes out, I can spot the key thoughts that I want . And when I’m on the road, I tweet about where I’m at and set pictures out.

So, in summation, here’s how you can learn how to tweet: make a list of everything that you do in the day, all the information you consume, everything that you eat, what you do at work, what you read, and what you learn at school. Do what I did: watch a game, or a movie, and write your thoughts down as it plays.  Your attitude toward all that, those are your tweets.

Since I tagged some specific people on Facebook to read this, I would like to give a specific encouragement to these people to tweet. I know that all of you have busy live, and I fully support people riding their lives of needless information. But I believe each and everyone of you can be a great tweeter, and I know if I got regular tweets from you, my life would be better, especially those of you in church work. If all of you get on twitter and follow the action, I would be very grateful. And if you don’t get it at first, don’t worry just follow the right people, and eventually, it will click for you.

So, to all of you, I hope to see you signed up and on twitter in the near future, and even if you don’t tweet yourself, you can always follow me. That should be reason to get on twitter enough!

The Jerome Simpson TD via Twitter

I wanted to share this story, because it demonstrates just how big twitter has become in our society. Last Sunday, I was watching football with my computer in front of me to tweet about the game (@derekjohnson05, in case you have any extra time you’d like to waste further accessing my dementia). Suddenly, everyone in my feed began to tweet about an amazing touchdown catch by Jerome Simpson, calling  it the catch of the year. Even the college football writers I followed tweeted about it. I was stunned; since I didn’t get the Bengals game at home and don’t have the Red Zone Channel or the NFL Sunday Ticket, I was switching between the three games I did get even more vigorously then I usually did. I searched twitter again and someone said that Simpson looked like a ninja. I tweet out my frustration, mentioning the ninja reference.

I searched youtube, but I did not find the video of Jerome Simpson, who of course was trending by now. Finally, I saw the video-because someone tweeted it out, of course. The video, courtesy of Matt Lechner (@mattlechner) was actually of very good quality, even though it only showed part of the screen. And surprisingly, the Simpson leap had actually been undersold on twitter. No one mentioned that he did a back flip and stuck the landing.

By the way, Matt also has a pretty interesting blog,

While I don’t do fantasy sports myself, it seems to take on some interesting fantasy topics. Check it out, and thanks a lot Matt.

So there was a play that I completely experienced via twitter before anywhere else, after which I concluded that twitter speed equals light speed.

Ps. The Jerome Simpson catch, while amazing, was not the play of the year, but the highlight of the year. A play of the year is the game winning of the Super Bowl, most likely. What Jerome Simpson did was an amazing Sports Center highlight. Maybe it will be more significant if the Bengals make a deep run in the playoffs, but it is nothing more than that. Just had to get that in there.


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