Tonight I had the honor to sit on a panel with five other bloggers and have a conversation with Notre Dame athletic director, Jack Swarbrick. Here is the question I asked Jack, and his response to my question!
Q: Given the overwhelming presence of social media, in particular Twitter and blogging, does Notre Dame have a plan to continue to integrate bloggers and other social media sites into Notre Dame media coverage? I have heard you say before, in speaking about the media’s coverage of Notre Dame, that unless it comes directly from Notre Dame, don’t believe it. But there seems to be a lot of positive Notre Dame coverage out there that you could be tapping into. What are your thoughts on this?
A: “I hope I was encouraging skepticism and not disbelief. It (social media) is so important to us in so many ways. That is the way all things of importance will be consumed. You can see it generationally in five year spans. People of one age were Facebook reliant. Then a younger group is Twitter reliant. It just continues and we have to be part of that. It’s multidimensional for us though. One is the external view. How to we engage our fans through social media? How do we give them forums like this and others so that they can participate? It’s also about how we enrich and enhance the viewing experience of our core assets, the games. So that they are augmented by social media commentary, statistics that aren’t available through a main broadcast, and other information.”
“The other element, though, for us, which I think the Olympics of the past week have sort of highlighted, is the challenge of the student athletes themselves, and the role they play in using social media to communicate about their experience at Notre Dame. That is an area we are all challenged to figure out how to do well. In Notre Dame fashion, our approach is to help our student athletes do the best job they can with it, but to leave it to them to figure it out. Now on a team by team basis, the teams, and by the teams I mean the student athletes, sometimes adopt policies where they decide as a team that during the season they are not going to use social media, but we don’t have any rules against it. Our focus is just to help people use it responsibly. But having seen two disqualifications in the Olympics this week for the use of social media, it brings home the challenges of that.”
Thank you, again, to Jack Swarbrick, for spending some of his time with us this evening. Thank you, also, to my fellow panelists for their insightful questions on social media and Notre Dame athletics.
Oh, and if you want to check out the Google+ hangout, you can view it on YouTube!
And to check out some of the other Q&A, head on over to NDnation’s blog post!