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blizzard of #ozwhiteout.

The biggest event on campus (outside of graduation) is when Oswego hosts our archrivals Plattsburgh in men’s hockey. Oswego was ranked #1 in the country coming into the weekend; Plattsburgh #4. Posts on our Facebook page on the topic often earn more than 100 likes, comments on past contests and “Go Lakers!” cheers, so it’s a good time to promote a hashtag. With our usual constraints (zero budget, staffing of just me and any available interns), we picked up the banner of #ozwhiteout and ran with it.

Quick take (if you don’t want to read the whole Storify below): We were able to get the support of student TV station WTOP early, which was big. What worked best for our main Twitter outlet, @sunyoswego, was posting quality content — video, photos, score updates — others were likely to retweet. We drew a prediction from one of our most famous alums, ESPN’s Steve Levy, into the stream. And a quick raw video I hurriedly shot, edited and uploaded to our YouTube channel picked up hundreds of hits almost instantaneously. Oh, and Oswego won 3-0. Go Lakers!

  1. Promotion of the hashtag started early, as I reached out to WTOP Sports Editor Justin Andrews, who took my class last semester.
  2. Share
    @jandrews89 Ha! Also, I kind of favor #ozwhiteout cuz it’s shorter.

    Wed, Feb 15 2012 12:37:13
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    @TimNekritz noted for this weekend. #ozwhiteout will be the official @wtop10 tag for the game.

    Wed, Feb 15 2012 12:39:52
  4. Once WTOP was on board, and with the @sunyoswego account putting out regular content — often retweeted — the hashtag was up and running.
  5. Share
    The campus is abuzz over tomorrow night’s #ozwhiteout game between Oswego, #1 in the nation, and Plattsburgh, #4 nationally. Go Lakers!

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 11:10:35
  6. Share
    RT @sunyoswego: The campus is abuzz over tomorrow night’s #ozwhiteout game between Oswego, #1 in the nation, and Plattsburgh, #4 nationally. Go Lakers!

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 11:14:14
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    First of all thank you @TimNekritz for letting/creating the official #ozwhiteout hash tag. Now T minus 20 hours till game time.

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 23:37:44
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    It’s the final countdown! #1 @sunyoswego Lakers vs. #4 Plattsburg Cardinals! Puck drops tonight at 7pm #whiteoutweekend #ozwhiteout #getsome

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 23:46:04
  9. Then a fan asked for a prediction from ESPN’s Steve Levy, one of our most famous alumni.
  10. Share
    @espnSteveLevy can we get your prediction for the big Oswego v. Plattsburgh #whiteout game tongiht? #golakers

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 12:54:49
  11. Steve responded, full of Laker pride.
  12. Share
    Either 9-0 or 4-2, OZ wins either way RT @TheBillReese: can we get your prediction for Oswego/Plattsburgh #whiteout game tongiht? #golakers”

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 14:20:34
  13. Of course we’re going to share it, adding a hashtag to pull it into the conversation.
  14. Share
    🙂 RT @espnSteveLevy: Either 9-0 or 4-2, OZ wins either way RT @TheBillReese: can we get prediction for Oswego/Plattsburgh game? #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 14:30:16
  15. Yet more alums chime in, including one with an interesting story.
  16. Share
    RT @wtop10: Watch the #ozwhiteout game on WTOP10 tonight! Go Lakers!

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 14:40:12
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    I will be listening to the game while working on an ambulance in Rochester tonight…LET’S GO OZ!!! #ozwhiteout @sunyoswego

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 15:00:45
  18. Thanks to a tip from prominent alum/Laker fan Lou Borrelli, I received word the line for admission (slated to start at 4; it went a bit early) was hitting critical mass, even tho doors weren’t slated to open until 5:45. I walked the line and took a quick raw video, which I quickly ran through iMovie (for a title) and posted to our YouTube page.
  19. Share
    Walking the Line for #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 16:08:44
  20. Which we then posted (and saw many folks share).
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    Quick video look at students lined up for the #ozwhiteout game … this line will get much longer! youtu.be/j2AiD4vpjow

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 16:14:50
  22. Even Mother Nature wanted in on the action …
  23. Share
    Just started snowing.. maybe it really will be an #ozwhiteout ??

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 16:15:48
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    Off to Oswego for the white out hockey game and see my brother @jandrews89 #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 16:27:14
  25. Fans even provided their own photos on the tag … the line is getting really long at this point.
  26. Share

    Happy whiteout 2012! #ozwhiteout http://instagr.am/p/HH3ep7Azi6/

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 17:07:00
  27. And I received a photo contribution from a dean! Dean Fritz Messere of the School of Communication, Media and the Arts, to be exact.
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    http://yfrog.com/kiiasaqj Dean Messere sent along this photo of the first students in line for the #ozwhiteout.

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 17:12:30
  29. Share
    Go LAKERS!! #ozwhiteout 2012

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 17:35:26
  30. Share
    At the whiteout game? Come say hi at camera two next to the @espnstevelevy pressbox! #ozwhiteout #puckflattsburg

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 18:05:07
  31. Share
    White out game! Let’s go #oswego #ozwhiteout with my favorites @ericasuzan24 #Sam

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 18:16:29
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    Oh, just #1 and #4 in the country, Oswego vs. Plattsburgh, sold out. NBD. #ozwhiteout (@ Campus Center Arena) 4sq.com/yUKlep

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 18:21:50
  33. Share
    10 mins til puck drop. This is sure to be a great one! #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 18:51:21
  34. During the game, we provided scoring updates, sometimes reposted by official media! And fans contributed their perspectives.
  35. Share
    First goal of that game is a slap shot by Oswego’s #28 Jesse McConney from #21 Tyler Leimbrock! Way to go Lakers! #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 19:14:13
  36. Share
    I believe we are already in funkytown #ozwhiteout #JustSayin

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 19:15:27
  37. Share
    RT @sunyoswego: Slap shot by Jon Whitelaw! 2-0 Oswego. #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 19:30:38
  38. Share
    Lakers still lead 2-0 after 2 but will start the 3rd at a 5-on-3 disadvantage. #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 20:20:21
  39. Share
    This is uncomfortable. RT @sunyoswego: Lakers still lead 2-0 after 2 but will start the 3rd at a 5-on-3 disadvantage. #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 20:24:24
  40. New media professor Gary Ritzenthaler chipped in his view … literally.
  41. Share

    Nice view! RT @gritz99: Seats right on the ice for #ozwhiteout game! Go Lakers! http://yfrog.com/esd9ladj

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 20:30:19
  42. Share
    Chris Ayotte’s one timer puts Oswego up 3-0 over Plattsburgh! 12:00 to go! #ozwhiteout #LetsGoLakers

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 20:43:43
  43. Share
    Power play goal by Chris Ayotte! 3-0 Oswego! #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 20:43:58
  44. Share
    We’re okay. Puck just flew over us! #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 20:54:52
  45. And, at last, tales of victory rang throughout the land.
  46. Share

    Victory! #ozwhiteout http://yfrog.com/h0do5ecj

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 21:14:10
  47. Share
    Oswego hangs on for the 3-0 win! Lakers are your SUNYAC regular-season champs! #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 21:09:30
  48. Share
    RT @sunyoswego: Oswego hangs on for the 3-0 win! Lakers are your SUNYAC regular-season champs! #ozwhiteout

    Sat, Feb 18 2012 06:57:27
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a musician who puts social media to good use.

Canadian singer/songwriter Matthew Good is probably one of the more progressive practitioners of social media in his field. So it was really cool this weekend to meet him in person and ask him questions … because of a contest he ran via social media.

Good recently created M+, a sort of uberfan community where, for a $25 annual subscription, one receives access to bonus content — demos, videos, events, etc. It’s not dissimilar to how The Damnwells are using pledges from fans to finance their new record, which I blogged about a while ago. A few days before his show in Rochester, he posted the following:

Fig. 1: A Special Opportunity for M+ Members!

The reaction was swift and enthusiastic, some fans offering to drive several hours for the opportunity. As luck (and perhaps persistence) would have it, my brother and I both made the cut for the 10 fans for the soundcheck and Q&A. He played a couple of tracks (“Great Whales of the Sea” and “It’s Been Awhile Since I Was Your Man,” which they had not played in, er, a while and repeated the ending a few times), talked a bit and then threw the floor open to questions.

I asked a rambling question about his use of social media (it sounded much better in my head!) and his use of it to get straight to the fans. He responded that while he finds it a handy promotional avenue, it would be a mistake for up-and-coming acts to hitch their fortunes to social media in a vacuum. Good said touring, physically connecting with fans from town to town (which he’s done for 20 years), was key. Bands who bank on mainly spreading the word via social media without touring would just get lost in the “white noise,” he said. In short, it’s about selling the steak, not the sizzle. For Good’s full answer, see this video. (Also see more photos.)

While Good refers to his activities as promotional, it’s worth noting he doesn’t use it completely one-way. He is fairly responsive on his blog — which he updates feverishly — sometimes replying to comments and overall keeping the discussion lively (and occasionally intense). On Twitter, Good tweets regulary, but doesn’t reply often (his most regular @ replies include Pete Yorn, who ranks among the top musicians in overall social-media use). His Facebook page is more a place for fans to interact, as Matt closed down his personal account a couple years ago because he could not keep up with the raft of friend requests and comments from fans.

From left, Colin, our new friend Travis from Canton and Matthew Good's guitarist Stu Cameron talking after the soundcheck.

From left, Colin, our new friend Travis from Canton and Matthew Good's guitarist Stu Cameron talking after the soundcheck.

So while he’s too busy to take full advantage of two-way communication opportunities, he certainly has more of a plan and earnestness than the Oprahs and Ashtons who jump on Twitter for trendiness or ego fulfillment. Matt’s tweets generally point readers toward his blog or feature observations about the town he’s visiting (or the occasional odd story such as the guy in NYC who somehow thought he was Brandon Flowers of The Killers). Instead of chasing a social media outlet because it’s trendy, Good has sound reasons for what he uses. Or to use a popular mantra: Goals first, then tools.

The experiment in Rochester is, I hope, the start of a new way of giving his fans a window into his life in a face-to-face way. The important lesson is that social media, to him, is not an end in itself but a means to build and better engage audiences. And for a guy who plays and tours hard, the live interaction, even if just a half-hour, between the mercurial artist and his band with the fans likely does all parties some good.

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