The Fire Frazier Campaign: Well, That Escalated Quickly

I don't really believe Leslie Frazier should be fired. However, I question the hiring of anyone who participated in the Super Bowl Shuffle.

The Internet is completely wacked.

Consider: Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf fired head coach Brad Childress yesterday, and before newly promoted interim head coach Leslie Frazier held his first press conference, I’d already registered and began tweeting from @fire_frazier.

It started as a joke between a few co-workers, as we’re in the business of making things catch fire. Attempts to make things go viral often fail, but this ludicrous Twitter handle had potential. After all, it was completely bunk to call for the head of a coach who hadn’t even held an official practice, no less coached a game. I saw @fire_frazier as a poke at irrational Vikings fans who were willing to blame Childress for every last failure, not acknowledging some, if not most, of the blame should’ve fell on his underachieving team.

So, who started following @fire_frazier on Twitter?

  • MinnPost.com
  • DJ Tony Fly of 96.3 FM NOW
  • Rob Olson, sports reporter for KMSP-TV Fox 9
  • Jason DeRusha, reporter for WCCO-TV
  • Brandon Warne, founder of TwinsMVB.com

@fire_frazier was also mentioned or retweeted by:

  • Erik Perkins, anchor for KARE 11
  • Joe “Phunn” Anderson, host on ESPN 1500AM
  • Dave Schwartz, sports reporter for KARE 11
  • Lynn University Sports Management in Boca Raton, Florida

Remember the Chicago Sun-Times story the week of the Vikings-Bears game? Bears beat writer Sean Jensen, formerly of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, wrote that Childress had long ago lost the locker room and included quotes and sentiments from six unnamed Vikings players who admitted they’d be happy to see him go. Jensen wasn’t so impressed with @fire_frazier:

@fire_frazier was even mentioned during Fox 9’s fan response story on the 5 p.m. broadcast. Go to the 2:40 mark:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Olson was right — @fire_frazier was started as a joke. I wish the new coach well. The one thing I hate about pro sports is coaches are too often made into piñatas because of their team’s shortcomings. I suppose that’s management, though. Forget the NFL — it’s a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world.

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Use Social Media for Missing Children Cases

Kyron Horman, 7, went to a science fair 8:30 a.m. Friday morning at Skyline School with his grandmother. Horman, who was last seen going to class after the science fair, was never accounted for in the classroom.

The search for missing seven-year-old Kyron Horman enters its fourth day today. Horman went missing sometime early Friday after attending a science fair at Skyline School in Northwest Portland, Ore. Since then, the Multnomah County police department has brought in 65 detectives from different agencies and 60 trained searchers, according to The Oregonian.

While local authorities are doing everything they can, I can’t help but think this informs future solutions. Skyline is a smaller, more rural neighborhood within Portland. I have not one criticism to level regarding the search for Horman, but I think traditional methods could be aided by newer, smarter technologies to help engage communities in search efforts.

Think: Emergency social media protocol. This would give law enforcement the opportunity to send out mass messages, including photos and descriptions of missing children, via Twitter and Facebook. How might this be done? Twitter already has location-based services, while Facebook has temporarily delayed their highly anticipated rollout. Still, Facebook allows users to manually input their current city. Within hours of an initial report, community members could be alerted through social media.

The counter argument may be, “We already have TV, newspapers and Internet to inform us of missing children.” That’s true, but each requires active engagement and the mass media exposure may not be there in smaller communities. Skyline’s proximity to downtown Portland means The Oregonian, four local news networks and a few dozen blogs will pick be carrying the story. If this had occurred 100 miles away, that might not be the case. But people throughout the world use Twitter and Facebook. We can leverage this fact to save lives.

The emergency social media protocol would inform users who lived within a reasonable distance of where the child was last seen. (Perhaps a 15-20 mile radius.) Messages could be read on computer or mobile devices, creating a broader, more engaged network within the community. Finally, this service could work to gather tips from sources otherwise overlooked.

I wish there was something more I could do to join the search for Horman. It’s not like this is the first time I’ve heard of a child gone missing, but this one is so close to home. I grew a little frustrated over the weekend seeing search crews wading through tall grass and digging through bundles of bushes. The search seemed so misguided. But then again, they’re the professionals here. I’m just a guy who blogs.

Still, I think social media could provide quick, easy and affordable enhancements to search and rescue efforts. Even if it saves just one child. no one could say it’s not worth it.

The Coolest Intern Hiring Process Ever

While I’m sad to report I didn’t get a chance to interview for the Star Tribune apprenticeship I’d applied for, now I’m waiting to hear back from a public relations firm in Minneapolis that just may have the coolest hiring process ever.

Fast Horse Inc., whose client list includes Coca-Cola and BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota, asked applicants for their summer internship to submit a video cover letter and resume. The video, in less than three minutes, was to demonstrate creativity, personality, initiative and je ne sais quoi. Once three finalists are selected, their profile will be posted on The Fast Horse Experience fan page on Facebook where Fast Horse fans will vote for the winner.

What does this mean? It means if I make the cut — and I should know in the next 36 hours — it’s up to me to pull votes with a wicked effective social media campaign. Truth be told, I haven’t campaigned for anything since student council my freshman year of high school. Back then, “Facebook” was two random nouns combined to form complete nonsense. Heck, blogging was still cutting edge. That was pre-9/11! (OK, you get it.)

For you skeptics out there, yes, this internship search could equate to a popularity contest. Keep in mind, though, that Fast Horse Inc. isn’t looking for a surgeon or a lawyer, but a public relations intern. What better way to exemplify your talent with social media tools and building hype than selling the product you know best?

I’ve got several ideas brewing if I make the cut, but here’s where things get interesting: Someone’s going to do something crazy. It’s bound to happen. I’m sure the other internship candidates are well aware of what goes viral and what doesn’t. For instance, the other night, sitting at Safeco Field, I briefly considered running onto the field with my Flip, where I would record why I’m qualified for the internship before field crew Tasered or tackled me. I didn’t act on this impulse, but I’m also somewhat rational. Somewhat.

In what amounts to a viral campaign, the reward being an internship and a possible long-term employment in this bear of a job market, it’s hard to say what qualifies as going “too far.” Here’s what I do know: I’ve fallen in love with Fast Horse Inc. by way of their blog. “Work Hard, Play Hard” is their gospel. They’re idea people. They’re my kind of people. (And I mean that so sincerely, I used italics.)

It’s too early to say if I’ll get a chance to campaign my arse off, but this hiring process has been a huge pick-me-up after the Star Tribune opportunity fell flat. What I wouldn’t give to work with people who inspire me in an environment where I’d not only be encouraged to write, but I’d be paid for it. Boo-yah!

Check back tomorrow. There’s a good chance I might need your vote. In the meantime, check out The Fast Horse Experience fan page. If I’m lucky enough to become a finalist, I’ll need your help!

Social Media, Newspapers Need to Play Nice

In an average day, I post to my blog, check out Facebook several dozen times, browse my Twitter feed every few hours, look up a thing or two on Wikipedia and maybe watch a few clips on YouTube. I don’t consider myself anymore engaged in social media than you. I consider my activities to be very normal.

So does Erik Qualman, who’s book Socialnomics argues social media is no fad, but rather “the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution.” In Qualman’s case, the numbers don’t lie, and he’s leveraged them in a YouTube clip — fittingly — to advertise his book. (You can find the clip at the end of this post.)

  • 96% of Millennials have joined a social network.
  • Social media has overtaken pornography as the No. 1 activity on the Internet.
  • 1 out of 8 married couples in the U.S. met via social media.
  • 60 million status updates on Facebook happen daily.

Socialnomics stresses the importance of businesses investing in social media campaigns to stay relevant with the times. I’m no MBA, but I can say this: Anymore, if I see a brand or business without a Facebook page or Twitter account, I immediately question its legitimacy. It’s kind of like back in the mid-1990s when URLs started showing up in ads. Such oversight feels to me like a serious disconnect, making it harder to trust a company.

My dad is part-owner of Millers & Hass Builders, Inc., a homebuilding company in Sioux Falls, S.D. that operates in the basement of our house. It’s a small operation — literally two Millers and one Hass — but companies like theirs can really benefit from smart usage of social media. They’ve started a Facebook fan page, and while they only have 66 fans, there’s potential just one of those people could pass their name along and essentially land my dad a contract to build a $185,000 home. There is no cost to maintain a Facebook fan page. Talk about return on investment.

As a newsman, this also worries me. A decade ago, my dad’s company would’ve gone to the local newspaper to buy advertising. This would’ve been the most practical and effective way of drawing interest. Now, that’s not necessary, especially for a small business with a conservative budget. In a very real way, Facebook is stealing revenue from newspapers, leading to Qualman’s grim statistic that “24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation.”

Here I am, a gluttonous media consumer who indulges in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia and several blogs everyday, while these things have the industry I hope to work in — the newspaper industry — in a stranglehold. Here’s why I don’t feel guilty, though: Smarter newspapers across the country are pumping resources into social media integration because they realize this isn’t a fad. My daily usage, along with yours, proves social media a worthy investment.

But why does it matter?

Arthur Miller once said, “A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” One could argue with Facebook and Twitter, who needs newspapers? Well, if you feel the civil discourse should be capped at 140 characters or a status update, that’s your problem. (Please don’t vote, by the way.)

What I mean to say is social media might be the right forum, but journalists are the right people. Once the two learn to play nice, it’s possible we can have our cake and eat it, too.