hoot hoot, i am certified!

Having the opportunity to become HootSuite certified while taking this course with Dr. Karen Freberg was incentive enough to sign up to be a part of her social media class. Developing the basic knowledge for using social media in the proper way was something that I already possessed, having been the administrator on many Facebook pages, however, being given a tool that could help in running these pages was something that I was lacking. Upon logging into the site I quickly breezed through the videos and the exams – quickly becoming certified within a matter of a couple of weeks after starting the process. I contribute that to the fact that the videos were easy to understand and get through, but also I was interested in the topic and learning more about what I could do with it.

HootSuite, according to Wikipedia, “is a social media management system for brand management created by Ryan Holmes in 2008. The system’s user interface takes the form of a dashboard, and supports social network integrations for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, MySpace, WordPress, TrendSpottr and Mixi.” By possessing the knowledge to now have the know-how on operating a HootSuite dashboard, I am able to stay ahead of the competition in my current field and ensure that I am capable to help whomever I am working for, or with, run an accurate and timely social media plan.

After completing my certification I took the time to browse the lectures that were also available to us. These I found extremely informative and useful, especially the section that highlighted the specific industries. In this area seven industries were highlighted, and explained how social media was a tool, could be a tool, or should be a tool. The various industries that were noted included: nonprofits, real estate, higher education, finance, entertainment, and healthcare. What I found to be lacking in this was the area of sports, and to me that seemed odd. While it could very easily be lumped in with entertainment, and the concepts from each industry could be manipulated to fit a sporting strategic plan it was still odd that HootSuite University did not incorporate something more specific to this industry. I felt that this is something that they are lacking, and can improve upon.

Though I would ask HootSuite the question on how they would tackle, or suggest, using their interface for the sports market? Is there room for them in the industry were the content is time sensitive? That everything, for the most part, is needing to be streamed live? Perhaps there is a new venture out there that they can incorporate something along those lines for integrating the importance of scheduled content versus that of live streaming?

Regardless, I gained an great new insight by becoming certified and I am much appreciated to Dr. Freberg and HootSuite University for giving #Freberg14 the opportunity to become familiar with such a tool and resource!

HootSuite Certified Professional



Weirdo. It’s a term that I have been called for the vast majority of my life, and while I never took it as a negative, I could see my peers using it in that sense. While I openly embrace the fact that I am weird, or unique as my mother often told me, not many people want to be seen as that. They want to be normal. Whatever that means. But Mark Murdock, who works for Bandy Carroll Hellige, came into Dr. Karen Freberg‘s social media class and started off his presentation with the fact that he’s weird, he knows he’s weird, his peers know he’s weird – and well, that is just fine by him.

Because weirdos outperform the normals. Or at least that’s what Michael Lazerow, CEO and Founder of Buddy Media, says in this great video from a panel discussion from SXSW Interactive Festival.

This is what stood out to me the most out of Murdock’s presentation today. That it’s okay to embrace being weird. That as long as you are passionate about what you are doing, and you have a little oddness thrown in there, you can do anything that you set your mind to – working in the social media world you have to have a bit of both to be successful. In this ever-evolving world of technology, new platforms are constantly popping up and original ideas are becoming fewer and further in-between. You almost have to have a bit of weirdness to stay in this industry and be innovative with what you do. He rhetorically asked in class: “is social media a job or a skill?” If you are passionate about it, and this goes with just about any career path or thing in life, the answer is pretty much obsolete.

I commend those who are “weird” or “crazy” or as Steve Jobs calls them “the round pegs in the square holes” – because it’s those of us who have those attributes that do the unthinkable, who are not afraid to color outside of the lines.

So I’ll take it.


passion meets innovation

The spring semester will be complete in just a mere 3 weeks or so; one of the perks of being enrolled at the University of Louisville is their hastiness to get students off campus prior to Derby weekend. This semester was an interesting one, to say the least, causing myself to reevaluate who I was as a student and who I wanted to be as a professional. Luckily, I have meet some great mentors while in the Communication Department and they helped make some of those tough calls easier for me.

Other than our happy go lucky advisor Steve Sohn, I am lucky to have yet another faculty member as a new trusted advisor – Dr. Karen Freberg, whose class I am currently also wrapping up as this semester comes to a close.

I have also been known as the innovator to my group of friends – my father is sort of a nerd and thus the gene has been passed down to me. My siblings and I had an Apple 2 growing up, we had iPods before discman’s had even thought of being obsolete, my folks were on the first waiting list for the first iPhone, and it’s a running joke in our family that Apple is our favorite fruit. Hell – I have the Apple logo tattooed on my wrist. Anything that is deemed the new coolest tech toy, my dad has it, has bought it, or is on the waiting list for it. So when Dr. Freberg walked into our Cohort Seminar in the fall sporting a pair of Google Glass I knew that I had to be in her course! Luckily enough, I was able to snag a seat in her social media course (which by the way is another one of my favorite past-times, to the point that my mentality is if you didn’t Instagram it, tweet it, or post it – did it really happen?!).

What I grained from her course was just amazing – an incredible experience!

Right away I was named team leader to work with Joey Wagner on his upcoming event Thunder Lounge. Where my team and I had a blast! We created, and served, real cocktails to him and his associates in a business meeting. We brainstormed with his team to come up with ways to brand the event. We are running his Twitter and Facebook accounts – our strategic plans being turned into real life content as we go along. It’s been great working with Joey, and I hope we can work together again in the future. (And a big ol’ thank you to my team Maggie Cunningham, Katie McDaniel, and Kate Vance – couldn’t have done it without ya!)

Dr. Freberg also brought in multiple guest speakers from all faucets of the industry. From crisis communication to Facebook analytic specialists to previous students of hers. Though the one that I was must interested in was with @ULFlyingCard – the social media guru for UL athletics. Having already talked to me, repeatedly, about my future goals and what I was passionate about Dr. Freberg knew that sports was were I wanted to be. And before Nick Stover‘s presentation was even over, she was whispering that I needed to go ask him for an internship – tell him I am a designer, I knew social media, I’m a graduate student. The class ended and she pretty much ushered me to his side to ensure I got the opportunity to talk with him. She even helped me finalize the draft to this post that I sent to him, along with my resume.

It is because of her and her encouragement I was able to land an internship of a lifetime.

And I cannot thank her enough.

From the lectures on branding oneself, to the guest speakers, to personally letting me take her Google Glass to the UL/UK Sweet 16 game, to always just being a tweet away – I just want to say thank you to Dr. Freberg. She has taken my passion for sports and social media and has turned it into an innovated career path. I look forward to more classes with her and am proud to be a #FrebergGrad!

My boss & I rocking Glass before the start of the UL/UK Sweet 16 game in Indy.

My boss & I rocking Glass before the start of the UL/UK Sweet 16 game in Indy.

a hiatus & a thank you

And I am back. After a hiatus from social media starting at about 12:37am this past Saturday morning. It wasn’t a real hiatus; I still checked my emails and occasionally got on to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – but I didn’t post much and it usually only took me a few moments before I tossed my phone to the side once more.

Why, pray tell? All because of a little basketball game.

But you see it wasn’t just another game. And before you jump to conclusions that its just because I “hate” UK – let me stop you right there. That’s not it at all. (Granted I don’t like UK – at all. The majority of their fans are annoying, but so are some UL fans, they both exist – yeah, yeah, I know.) Rather it had everything to do with the fact that fans have watched Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Stephan Van Treese, and Tim Henderson grow up at UL – from transfers, to walk-ons, to sitting on the bench; these guys cared deeply and wholeheartedly about the name on the front of their jersey. That’s who they played for. Kentucky players – c’mon it’s a one and done environment, yes it works for them and yes they are in the Final Four because of that but that doesn’t mean that they deserved that win. Because they didn’t. Those seniors at UL, the ones who sweated day in and day out at the gym, who kept their grades up, who stayed to finish school, they deserved that win.

That’s why I took a hiatus from social media (sort of) for the last few days. I didn’t want to read the snide statuses or the flip flopping of the fans. I was an athlete for the vast majority of my adolescence – I know the pain and the let down feeling that is associated with not winning a crucial game, and I can only imagine what it felt like for them.

With all of this being said, I think it is now somewhat safe to return to being active on my social media platforms. And thank you UL seniors – you will be missed.


a Glass like view

My family isn’t from Kentucky. We relocated here for my father’s job a couple of decades ago, but we weren’t from Kentucky. And because of that I never had an opinion on whether I belonged in Cardnation or Big Blue Nation (though, from a young age, I thought it was silly that folks said that they bled blue…right…). I graduated high school in Oldham County, a neutral zone, and was accepted into Western Kentucky University for my undergrad – I was a Hilltopper. It was as simple as that.

Then something strange happened. After graduation I moved back home, though instead of camping out in the country side of the OC, I moved to the city that was just up the road – Louisville. And my allegiance began. I live five minutes from campus. I date a guy who is a UL fan first, and a UL student second. What sealed the deal – I started working for the University on a grant project and then was admitted into their Master’s program. There was no longer any doubt – I was Cardnation’s newest citizen and I couldn’t be more stoked.

I’m not one of those fans who just woke up and decided that red looks better on me; I have a real investment with the University of Louisville – I have met great mentors on this campus and am continuing my education within it’s Communication department. Within that I have gotten an amazing opportunity to intern with the university’s athletic social media director, @ULFlyingCard, who is on the cutting edge of everything hip and trendy. Which, and if anyone really knows me, knows that this has geeked me out more than anything. I was raised as an early adapter, the coolest tech toy sat under my Christmas tree, and I live and breath anything Steve Jobs has touched.

Technology is rapidly changing around us all; continuously evolving passed society’s wildest imaginations. The first computer was created in 1939 by David Packard and Bill Hewlett – the HP 200A Audio Oscillator, which was mainly used by engineers and Walt Disney who wanted to use the machine in the 1940 movie Fantasia. This was roughly 45 years prior to Steve Jobs dropping out of college and creating the Apple computer, and Bill Gates starting Microsoft. Another two decades passed before the dream of a smart phone is in consumers hands. By this point, technology wasn’t taking years and decades to advance, but rather snippets of time – months, weeks, days – the newest and greatest things are constantly outdoing their competitors and trying to race to get the latest piece out there.

The Google start up was no different. Created by two twenty-somethings fresh out of college, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and wanting to be a part of the technological conversation, touching every facet that was available to consumers and creating innovative ideas that were not yet even conceived by the very same demographic. This ranged from Google Docs to Google Wallet to Google Play to tablets and smart phones. And now they have tapped into a market that is quickly becoming a hot item of demand – wearable technology. According to an article by Wired, this technology is creating a revolution; “In many of the most cutting-edge applications for wearables, the time between intention and action is actually negative: The device knows what users want before they want it.”

While businesses are trying to find ideal ways to implement Glass into their strategic plans; athletic departments for teams such as the Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers are already using it to their advantage. The Kings teamed up with CrowdOptic to produce a vantage point that fans had never before seen. Players, coaches, dancers, and others who are right along the court side are wearing Glass and, with the help of CrowdOptic, were able to produce that coveted view on their arena jumbotrons.

But you know who also has Google Glass? The University of Louisville.

And you know who gets to be a part of pushing the bounds? This intern!

That’s right – the biggest rivalry in college sports is meeting up at the Sweet 16, and I, along with @ULFlyingCard, will be there, Glass on head and ready to show the nation a unique perspective – one that has not yet been seen yet – the fan perspective! I will be traveling to Indy tomorrow morning, attending the J. Wagner Group and ESPN 680 big pregame party, and I will be sitting with the fans – all the while I will have Google Glass on my face capturing the experience.

This piece of wearable technology is going to change the sports, according to an article by Albert Costill in Search Engine Journal. It will enhance the way players train and referees officiate. Scores will now be updated live, instant replays readily at hand. Yet, the University of Louisville is already taken it upon themselves to be a big player in the conversation, connecting with fans in a way that has not been done thus far.

So, come tomorrow – make sure your phones are charged, you’re plugged in, and you’re following @ULFlyingCard for a court side view, and that you are following me @samanthahughey for a new take on the fan perspective.

Rocking the Google Glass - though I will be in my red & black tomorrow! Go CARDS!  Be sure to follow me for an exclusive fan perspective (@samanthahughey)!

Rocking the Google Glass – though I will be in my red & black tomorrow! Go CARDS! Be sure to follow me for an exclusive fan perspective (@samanthahughey)!

#L1C4 vs #BBN

This afternoon something amazing* happened.

*The word amazing is used only in the context if you are a sports fan or a basketball & March Madness fan or if you live in the good ol’ Commonwealth of Kentucky.

This afternoon – the No. 8 University of Kentucky defeated No. 1 Wichita State by 2 points.

This afternoon – it was determined that Kentucky and No. 4 Louisville would duke it out in the quest to getting to Dallas.

This afternoon – social media, for the most part, went up in flames.


The Louisville | Kentucky rivalry dates back to 1913, and is considered one of the greatest rivalries in sports (for more about the history of it, please read this great article). And the two will meet for the 47 time on March 28 in Indianapolis to see who will advance to the Elite 8. But, for the fans in the Commonwealth, it isn’t just another tournament game, it’s something way more – yes, the winner will get to continue down the road to the Final Four but they will also have bragging rights for the next 9 months, and in this state – that’s everything.

Until 9:45 pm Friday night, however, social media will be flooded with tweets and status updates – claiming that one team is better than the other. While I am a UL fan, it is interesting to still look at what each team is doing and how their fan base is taking to these social media platforms. These two teams are part of the few that have clever and unique hashtags that their fans use more than anything else: #L1C4 (Louisville First, Cards Forever) and #BBN (Big Blue Nation). These hashtags have become a part of the programs, a part of the universities – creating a trackable conversation online that social media analysts love.

#L1C4 in the last 24 hours has reached 261,677 users on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram making an impression on 370,812, while (and keep in mind that UK played today whereas UL played yesterday) #BBN reached over 2,121,884 and made an impression on 2,355,492 on the same platforms. According to keyhole.coreach is the number of unique followers a user has, and impressions are the amount of times a user posts – therefore, if you have 500 followers and tweet twice your reach is 500 and your impressions is 1000. Tweet Binder, a way to study those who are using any given hashtag, shows that in the last day 1579 people were tweeting out #L1C4, with the average user sending out 1.27 tweets. As for #BBN, there were 1581 contributors and they were tweeting out at the same pace.

It will be an interesting week for social media within the Commonwealth, and those who are fans of the two universities. While some of it will be tasteless, and some of it will be nothing more than one bashing the other – following and studying these two fan bases and their social media presence will be exciting.

Based on the information that was presented in Nick Stover‘s social media braketology, these two schools are not just powerhouses on the court but also in the online world as well. They have taken a sport and it’s fan base and have created an online presence that is far ahead of their competition. The innovative strategy behind the creation of a hashtag has produced a trackable campaign, as well as a venue for the fans, the coaches, the mascots, and the players to interact with one another. In fact, Stover had @GoCards and @KentuckyMBB meeting up in the Sweet 16 on his social media bracket as well.  Louisville came out as at the victor, so here’s to hoping that they can also pull off a win on the court!

it’s social media, babyyyyyy

Conference play has ended, and the teams have been selected – the 2014 NCAA tournament is hours away from beginning and while the players and the coaches are strategizing fans are taking to their smart phones. Whether it’s filling out brackets or sizing up their team’s opponents social media has continued to prove to be a vital resource for fans. But in a digital world were content is king and snackable content is being demanded at a faster rate – how are teams beating their competition on the virtual court?

It seems that last year’s article done by Mashable was taken seriously by those schools who didn’t  have a strong social media presence. A few of the key players, both in the sports world and the social media world, offer their insights on who should be crowned this year’s Social Media Champion.

University of Louisville‘s Nick Stover (@ULFlyingCard) looked at how teams were in fact measuring up – if their social media game could back up what was happening on the court. Looking at the three most used platforms, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, the Elite 8 came down to who had the most followers and who was being the most active, appealing to their fan base. From there the race got a little heated and relying on the use of unique hashtags the Final Four came down to UCLA, Memphis, Wisconsin and, last year’s National ChampionLouisville – these were the schools that were creating content that was outside of the box, hashtags were consistent among all platforms – some were even using other avenues to promote their school (VIne, Google+ and YouTube). Though it ultimately came down to the two schools who were sharing behind the scenes exclusive photos and videos – UCLA and Louisville.

UCLA ultimately would take the crown as the Social Media Champ based upon the amount of fans that they were reaching and engaging with, amongst the innovative tactics that were set in place.

While others, such as HootSuite, focused purely on the followers that they had on Twitter based upon those who were enrolled in the university. Though they also incorporated key players, mascots, and coaches who had an active presence on the platform as well. The Final Four for schools with a mass Twitter following included: @KUHoops, @MSU_Basketball, @KentuckyMBB and @BlueJayMBB. The champion being @BlueJayMBB (Creighton University), with their following doubling the school’s enrollment.

The road to the finals in now underway; games being live streamed and live tweeted non stop, with the championship game being played April 7 – until then it’s nonstop madness.