Settling Wagers the Social Media Way

So what happens when a bunch of social-media-savvy basketball fans decide to place a friendly wager on the NBA Finals?

For the Lakers, victory has never been harder -- or sweeter (courtesy of the LA Times)

First, Twitter was used to solicit participants and to talk ‘smack’:

Talking Smack on Twitter

Then, the wager was documented in a post on Aaron Strout’s Big Papelbon blog:

Wager Proposal on the Big Papelbon Blog

And finally, the loser pays off in a social media manner which is probably more painful than paying out of cold, hard cash.

With that, here are the new avatars from the Celtics fans who ended up on the losing side of the wager (and documented in my blog too of course).  Please feel free to let Aaron, Adam, Kyle, and Jim that you love their new temporarary Twitter avatars.  And Jamie, when are we going to see your new avatar?

@aaronstrout on Twitter

@adamcohen on Twitter

@kyleflaherty on Twitter

@jimstorer on Twitter

This settles the score for me, since I was on the losing side of 2 wagers in 2007/2008 when the Red Sox defeated the Angels in the 2007 American League Divisional Playoffs and the Celtics defeated the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals.  So, I am definitely savoring this sweet victory.  And thanks to my fellow Laker Fans in this wager – Liz, Jason and Bennett – where should we celebrate our victory?

June 21, 2010 Update – Jamie ‘finally’ updated his avatar over the weekend and is begging to be added to the Humiliation Wall of Shame.  And just in time for the Lakers Victory Parade in downtown LA this morning too!

@JPunishill on Twitter


Copywriting for Social Media?

I was intrigued by a blog post titled Copywriting for Social Media on Jason Fall‘s blog this morning.

Isn’t that post title an oxymoron?

I understand the need for careful crafting and re-crafting of messages for advertising – and recognize copywriting as a profession (especially since my brother Gary has been a copywriter for most of his entire career).  While social media involves lots of writing, I think it’s different than pure copywriting and I wouldn’t deign to break it out as a separate function.

So what’s different about social media?  Social media is all about communicating and you can’t separate the writing act from the communicating act.  In addition, the velocity of the messages is far greater, and the tone needs to be more informal, more human and not as ‘polished’ or edited as what is generally produced under a traditional copywriting campaign.

Velocity – I agree with Jason that when you write for social media you have to think in terms of 140-character ‘sound bites’.    Active social media practitioners need to produce many of these sound bites on a daily basis.  For example, when I was actively managing the social media properties (mainly Twitter and Facebook), I was producing 15 to 20 posts and interactions on a daily basis.  With that level of activity, you don’t have time to write, review and re-write the messages.  And you definitely don’t have time to bounce all of a day’s messages around with the ‘team’.

Tone – It is important to have the right tone in social media communications.  In many cases (as Jason points out), social media missives needs to be conversational and interactive.  Just like copywriters, it is critical for social media practitioners to make sure their writing tone matches the tone of the brand.  Getting the tone right means that you have to spend time with the brand and learn how the customers of the brand communicate.  And due to the velocity of the messages, you don’t always have the time to agonize or mull over what you want to write — you need to act like Nike and “just do it”.

I am also sharing links to these related posts on the copywriting topic that Jason included in his blog post:

Coach John Wooden Passes Away At Age 99

I was saddened to hear tonight that John Wooden, known as the “Wizard of Westwood” and one of the best basketball coaches of all time, passed away at 99  years of age today.

I just read a great obituary and tribute to Coach Wooden in the USA Today tonight and want to share my favorite parts of the piece by David Leon Moore:

“He was a better person than a basketball coach” – Current UCLA Coach Ben Howland

“He didn’t teach basketball, he taught life” – Bill Walton

“The greatest accomplishment in my life is the fact that almost all of my players graduated and almost all of them have done well in their professions’ – John Wooden

Thank you Coach Wooden for all that you did and for the many lives you shaped and influenced in your nearly 100 years on this Earth.  May God Bless You.

June 5 Update – here are some links from the LA Times this morning too.

Finally, I want to re-post something I wrote last October to celebrate Coach Wooden’s 99th birthday:

John Wooden on his 96th Birthday - from Wikipedia

Happy Birthday John Wooden

Today is Coach John Wooden’s 99th birthday.

John Wooden is well-known as the UCLA basketball coach from 1948 to 1975, and for the basketball dynasty he created by winning 10 NCAA titles during a 12-year stretch from 1963 to 1975.  He has written several books, and his latest one – “A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring with John Wooden” – is being released today.

In the LA Times today, writer Mike Penner wrote 99 things you may or may not know about John Wooden.  This article is like a mini-biography and provides highlights of his life.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Mike’s article:

“Learn as if you were to live forever; live as if you were to die tomorrow.”

“Talent is God given; be humble. Fame is man given; be thankful. Conceit is self given; be careful.”

“Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.”

John Wooden is also famous for his Pyramid of Success which lists John’s 15 qualities of personal success.  It took Coach Wooden over 15 years to fill in the boxes on his pyramid, and he views it as a ‘personal roadmap to pursuing, and at times, achieving Competitive Greatness.’  Wooden freely shares his pyramid, his wisdom and his approach to success.  You can learn more about the Pyramid of Success and download a printable copy along with other resources from

John Wooden Pyramid of Success from

Coach Wooden shared his philosophy on the difference between winning and success in this TED video in 2001.

You can send birthday wishes to Coach Wooden through this website.  The goal is to have 9,999 people wish him happy birthday and they are just shy of 3,000 currently. Take minute today to reflect on Coach Wooden’s Pyramid and to learn just a little more about this great man.