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  • Social Media Killed The Message Board Star


    Forgive the overly cheesy paraphrased reference to a 1980’s one-hit wonder.  It does, however, cover the subject of the following ramble.  This won’t be yet another sports-related blog as the vast majority of those paying any attention to Washington Redskins content have taken a leave of absence until the regular season draws near.  And who could blame them?  Being a Redskins fan is exhausting.  It wasn’t the subject matter of the song but Stevie Wonder described what it’s like being a Skins fan in a few verses:

    You took me riding in your rocket, gave me a star
    But at a half a mile from heaven you dropped me back
    Down to this cold, cold world

    So, when fans exit message board forums stage left even at the first sign of the end of the Redskins season it’s not only unsurprising but understandable and expected.  It’s also unsurprising when forum staff do the same.  For them it’s not only the emotional drain but also the mental drain of months of (often) thankless work.  It takes a lot to keep a forum operational, much less to keep one active and growing.

    For website administrators the challenges are greater still.  There is no off-season for a website trying to survive and carve out a niche in what is an overly-saturated market.  There are, literally, tens of thousands of sports websites all trying to be unique in some small yet meaningful way.  That’s the result of competing with one another for traffic.  If competing with the specific niche of other Redskins sites wasn’t enough of a challenge the internet has recently presented a new one: Social Media.

    What used to be unmatched quality and ethics in print journalism has been replaced with instant gratification.  Print media is struggling to survive in a digital age.  Long form media is struggling to survive in a 140 character limit age.  Many would rather speak but not be spoken to or talk but not listen or digest information in bytes small enough for toddlers.  Social media leads old school journalists to believe the world is coming down with a severe case of attention deficit disorder.  If social media is any indicator the vast majority of people stopped reading this two or three paragraphs back.

    But social media serves a purpose.  It’s a manner of disseminating more information to more people more quickly than is possible even with huge, established sports media outlets.  Very few are concerned with the lack of ethics in social media.  Everything is regurgitated.  Nothing is vetted.  No one gives a crap.  Two seconds after they’ve read some complete nonsense they’ve moved on to the next hot topic.

    Ideally, the solution would be to combine the best of social media with the best of traditional print media and the best of message board forums.  Each has its merits and its caveats.

    Here is where it gets personal.  I’ve been webmastering and administrating websites for twenty-five years.  I began venturing into message boards back in the days of AOL and dial-up, even before the marvel that was the 56k modem.  I love everything about creating a site and equally importantly, creating the sense of community that goes along with it.  I love receiving member opinion on how to make a site better, although admittedly not all of it is practical or even possible.  I love working to make a site grow and adapt with the times.  Having said that, I’m at a complete loss for how to effectively counter the migration of so many good members to social media.

    If a site has social media in the forms of facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. will members actually spend any time reading the articles and blogs or posting in the forums?

    This site has lost quite a few members over the years to something else which has occupied their limited “me” time.  Any number of life circumstances may have contributed to their leaving.  This site isn’t alone in that.  Every sports website is suffering.  I’d like to know why.  Is it social media alone?  It it life circumstances such as marriage, children, job changes, etc.?  I’m reluctant to throw a poll up because I’d like some level of detail in the answers.

    If you’re spending less time on traditional sports media sites and you’d like to tell me why I’d love to know, not for the purpose of judging but solely for the purpose of knowing if it is possible to change and adapt a site to the social media age.  I don’t mind fighting lost causes.  I’ve been married.  I’m familiar with losing battles.  If it is impossible to meet the “needs” of the masses with a traditional website not to fret.  This one isn’t going anywhere.

     

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    Working the Week 1 NFL Odds: Part I


    Do you gamble? I love to gamble. Well on football anyway. For me it isn’t about winning money, its just about being right. Ego trip. That isn’t to say that on the instances where my payoffs have been big, that I wasn’t happy; but rather to take note of the fact that the sense of accomplishment probably out-weighed the financial gain.

    So the start of another NFL season and the Redskins’ first game, is just part of the rapture that I get to enjoy this week, with the other part being that I get to start shuffling money. You see, I know when I am looking at the NFL Week One Odds that even if I win big this week or at any point, there’s always a good chance that I’m NOT going to win. It’s the nature of the beast. So if I look at my gambling winnings and losses as “shuffling” – it’s a good way for myself personally to make sure that I always bet responsibly. Read the rest of this entry »

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    A Last Cheers To My Friend


    Despite the jubilation that I expressed today in the “Another Washington Redskins Season Is Upon Us” piece, I got very emotional and choked up when I read it back to myself. I started to reflect back to that time when I had nothing but summer magazines to fill a football offseason with in the late eighties and early nineties, and my mind was immediately filled with memories of a good friend. Back in those dog days, I talked football with pretty much only one guy, my friend Paul. Paul was the biggest Cleveland Browns fan that you ever did meet. It saddens me greatly to write that in a past tense, but you see, he died of a heart attack a couple of weeks ago.

    He was just 45 years old.

    He was the biggest football fan that I know, or ever knew. I would even say that in the early days, despite liking different teams, Paul’s level of fandom greatly inspired my own, and to start this site in the first place. I wanted to get to Paul’s level of knowledge, though I never will. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Colts Owner Jim Irsay Jailed


    Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving last night. He was also charged with possession of a controlled substance.

    Its fun to guess what the controlled substance might be, when you look back at the pics that the guy tweeted during the playoffs…

    image

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    More Redskins Camp Pictures from Mozelle!


    More Redskins Training Camp Photos thanks to Skins Family Member Mozelle Meyers – @Sportsgal5_2000 on Twitter:

    No Kicking Controversy here

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Did Penn State avoid NCAA ‘Death penalty’?


    On the day after the statue of a coach that stood for so much good but now is being portrayed as something far different, the program that Joe Paterno built was rocked to its very foundation.
    The NCAA, citing the Freeh Report (paid for by the very college that itself was the center of the investigation) and a “thorough investigation” handed down what could be argued as their harshest penalties.  They did so against a football program that for so long was the pride of the institution.   Read the rest of this entry »

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    Back Online


    Sorry for the hiccup Redskins Nation. In our long tenure on the interwebs, we haven’t had many outages at all, and we take them seriously. We know that our community loves bleeding burgundy and gold here at THN, and we appreciate that!

    Today the site was under some form of attack, so our web host had to suspend the site while they figured out what was happening, and prevent it from causing further issue.

    We apologize for the inconvenience.

    Now back to your regular scheduled programming.

    Hail to the Redskins.

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    TGIF Photoshop: Skippy Baseless


    If you’re a sports fan and you’ve ever tuned into the corporate big wheel that is ESPN, you’ve likely seen a face or two that just make you go, “Hmmmm.”

    For me, that joker is Skip Bayless. I try not to be venomous about it, because it isn’t Skippy’s fault that he works for an employer that obviously encourages him to be as big a douchebag as is humanly possible. If Skippy wasn’t doing exactly what was expected of him, he’d be out in the cold. Instead – he’s front and center. Read the rest of this entry »

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    A Legendary Eagle Gets His Wings


    Heaven became a better place on the morning of September 8th when J. Gawen Stoker passed away.  That will be the last time you may hear or read me calling him by that name.  While that is the name he was given and he was a great friend of mine, he has always and will always be “Coach” Stoker to me. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Looking at Pryor Supplemental Drafts


    Much ado has been made recently about Terrelle Pryor and his eligibility for the supplemental draft today. So is it worthwhile internet chit chat, or is it just much ado about nothing? While the pundits and arm chair quarterbacks like to rant and rave about the merits of drafting these supplemental picks, one only needs to look back at history to determine if their opinions are warranted. And if you’re looking at history… they probably aren’t.

    The reality of it is this, very-few-to-none, that have been drafted in the Supplemental Draft, have ever amounted to much of an NFL player. Oh sure, there have been some fringe pick-ups, but rarely has a team missed out on a perennial Pro Bowler, by not jumping on this draft. Read the rest of this entry »

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