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Linsanity: Social Media In Sports and Entertainment

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By now, practically everyone on the planet has heard about NBA phenom Jeremy Lin. His 'rags to riches' story is already a legendary tale of persistence, talent, guts, and glory. A true American saga. Plus, the New York Knicks sensation is super fun to watch.

Social media has tracked his success every step of the way, and it has provided an international platform for fans, pundits, the general public, and 'traditional' media to interact. And interact they have. The power of social media in real-time is on display once more.

So when ESPN created an especially stupid and racially charged headline "Chink in the armor" (yes, I know... it IS 2012, so that's hard to believe), it only took 36 hours for the fallout to begin. Thanks, in part, to the loud thunderstorm on social media -- it's everywhere.

Bottom line, you can't run and you can't hide.

So, today, ESPN issues this statement:

At ESPN we are aware of three offensive and inappropriate comments made on ESPN outlets during our coverage of Jeremy Lin. Saturday we apologized for two references. We have since learned of a similar reference Friday on ESPN Radio New York. The incidents were separate and different.

They then go on to state the punishments for the offenders.

Do they get points for acting quickly? Not really. Acting quickly in the social ecosystem is becoming normal business procedure. They lose points for utter lack of cultural sensitivity among the ranks, that's for sure.

Brands and organizations are just learning how to navigate the social experience from a strategic point of view. As far as SocialTV goes, we're seeing sports and entertainment companies quickly realizing they need to change strategy and think of TV as new media. "Digital" and "TV" have merged in the ecosystem. People are now watching more TV than ever. And because of social media, they're more engaged in what they watch, taking to Twitter and Facebook with reactions in real-time. All this social TV engagement will not only help grow ad revenue, it will drive participation in social commerce as well.

And it will be the invisible hand that makes or breaks new shows, stars, and even commercials. Or sports announcers careers.

Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit LLC and the co-author of The Power of Real-time Social Media Marketing. Join her and 40 top sports and entertainment executives at Gravity Summit UCLA on February 22, 2012 as they discuss Social Media in Sports & Entertainment. You can reach Beverly at beverlymacy@gmail.com.