Michelle Sullivan Communications

Social media lessons learned while humming the Hockey Night in Canada theme song

I like the Hockey Night in Canada theme song as much as the next Canadian. It brings me back to a late-70s living room on Fallingdale Crescent in Bramalea Ontario, where an Irish immigrant father and his three young kids cheered for the Leafs while the true born-and-bred hockey fan was in the kitchen probably wishing the Canadiens played more often on CBC. Like a lot of people, for me the song is sweetly nostalgic.

So when news came through Bob LeDrew’s blog that CBC had decided not to renew the song’s licence, I thought : Oh. That’s a shame. Then a split second later my social media instincts kicked in. Within a few minutes, by about 10:30 Thursday morning, I’d posted an online petition and a Facebook group. I decided to experiment a little to see if the page would grow without my network and it slowly did thanks to the popularity of the sport, of the Hockey Night in Canada brand, and to the media attention the story was receiving. Growth happened much more quickly when I recruited my Facebook ‘friends’ to the cause, of course.

I stopped monitoring growth and reading comments on Monday, when, as promised, I forwarded the petition to CBC’s president. I threw in the Ombudsman and a few media outlets in for good measure. Then I posted the following stats on the Facebook group page :

Closing stats (11pm ET June 9) :
5087 members in this Facebook group
9033 total signatures on the petition

That’s all in about 3.5 days.

That same day, Peter Cheney of The Globe & Mail called for an interview. I didn’t make the cut : CTV stole my thunder by announcing it had secured the rights to the song. I’m consoled by the mention of online petitions at the article’s halfway point.

All in all an interesting experience.

At time of writing, we’re at 5791 Facebook group members and 9518 petition signatures.

Lessons learned (or confirmed) :

  • Social media is a potentially powerful communications tool that not only helped this particular campaign take off but builds community. I started to realize that when I read in the petition I’d made available that I was a ‘Canadian hero’ for my initiative and when the daughter of the song’s composer Dolores Claman wrote to thank me on behalf of her mother. I knew it by the time I’d posted those closing stats and taken a last look at the conversations happening on the group wall.
  • Facebook works well for popular movements. Particularly those with strong brands and media attention.
  • Since I’d limited myself to a Facebook group page, after a few thousand people had joined my group I lost my ability to ‘message all’ – Facebook caps this feature at 5000 members.
  • If I were an unscrupulous marketer, I’d have made my Facebook group a Fan page and would now hold the profiles of close to 6,000 hockey fans in my sweaty little hands. I could start to target within my fanbase according to demographic. If I were an unscrupulous marketer who was banging my head against the wall because I’d mistakenly started a group instead of a Fan page, Facebook could help me with migration.
  • Social media lets the ‘little guy’ get his story out there, for the record. Dolores’ Claman’s daughter opened a blog to share her family’s point of view of how events unfolded after CBC started pointing fingers at Ms. Claman for the breakdown in negotiations. Madeleine Morris also used Facebook to promote her position in various related groups, including mine.
  • Canadian hockey fans are a passionate bunch.

Stratford goes 2.0

The Stratford Festival has launched a Facebook marketing campaign :

« Hooked on Shakespeare » is a Stratford Shakespeare Festival application that allows you to: build a Shakespeare character personality profiler; find out how famous actors are connected to the Festival with a « 6 Degrees of Separation » game; and test your knowledge of Shakespeare in a trivia contest (free ticket prizes awarded every month).

Also, be sure to visit our Stratford Shakespeare Festival fan page for exclusive photos and videos.

Contest : The top scorer each month will receive one pair of tickets to a performance in our 2008 season. In the event of a tie, all top scorers will be pooled with a winner randomly selected.

So far they have 138 daily active users (about 5% of their total pool).

They also have a fan page that looks like it was set up in March. 1879 members so far.

I suspect the ad purchase will cause that number to rise.

Wonder what it is in my profile that has The Stratford Festival knocking on my door (other than obvious good taste and class).

My brother’s friend Zaib Shaikh from Little Mosque was at Stratford one year … wonder if they’ve included him in their little 6 degrees of separation contest … Hmm …

Jim McKay R.I.P.

Certain journalists define their generation. I see Jim McKay as one of these. Like Walter Cronkite announcing Kennedy’s assassination, or the journalists on the ground on September 11th, McKay’s voice remains etched in the minds of everyone who followed the tragic events of the Munich Olympics in 1972 :

When I was a kid, my father used to say Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized. Our worst fears have been realized tonight. […]

They’re all gone.

And now, so is Jim McKay.

The father of David Berger, the American-born wrestler who was among the Israeli Olympians murdered at Munich, described McKay as a Mensch. It can only be a testament to the quality and humanity of his coverage that he would be held in such high esteem by a father whose greatest fear had been confirmed through his newscast.

(1921 – 2008)

Social media and the music industry

On the heels of my recent blogpost about the use of social media by music festival organisers and promoters, I was happy to hear about David Usher’s CloudiD blog through Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation podcast. Usher is the former lead singer of Moist and a social media early adopter. From what I’ve seen, he’s got a Facebook profile and has played with YouTube. He’s even following me on Twitter for some strange reason. Talk about pressure to perform.

Usher’s blog includes some interesting tidbits such as :

My relationship to social media is love – hate
Love-the interaction, the learning, the reading, the ever changing exchange of ideas… the community we create

Hate-that its addictive and self perpetuating-that it becomes the end, that all the reading, all the feeds, all the comments become so consuming

Source : Tell me about your creativity

I’m with ya brother. I wonder if it’s a songwriter’s fate to rhyme what one writes …

And serious fodder like :

The money has not left the music business, its just moved around a bit. Its gone from the labels and retail that use to distribute content to the isp’s, mobile and social networks that now distribute content. Music drives traffic and artists hold the keys to musical content. If artists could organize they could redefine the metrics of social networking. Imagine a social network that routed most of the ad revenue back to artists. Even more important that cuts artists in on the equity and multiples of the social network, based on traffic. (and just for fun add non profit component). Metrics are not cut in stone.

Source : I have a dream : if artists could organize

I hope he’ll let me buy him a drink at PAB or at PodCamp Montreal in September (soon to be announced). Or, why not, a 3e mardi Third Tuesday Montreal event. I’d like to pick his brain about where he sees social media and the music industry in 5 years.

Until then, I’ll happily add his blog to my blogroll.