About Yoni

Yoni Ginsberg left the sunshine of Los Angeles for the seasons of Washington -- a decision he regrets daily. He enjoys watching football (the British kind) listening to music (the British kind) and trying new fare (anything but the British kind).

#INeedMyDodgers Failing Hard

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Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers are up in arms. The team signed a massive $7 billion, 25 year deal partnering with Time Warner Cable to provide an exclusive, all Dodgers all the time channel that shows all regular season and spring training games, as well as special Dodgers programming.

However, because Time Warner Cable hasn’t signed deals with any other local cable or satellite providers to feature the channel, many fans are without access to Southern California’s most popular baseball team. And the fans have hijacked a social campaign initially launched to put pressure on the local providers to give in to Time Warner Cable’s demands, and turned it around against the cable provider.

#INeedMyDodgers is the social campaign that has been featured by Time Warner Cable on-screen during games, and online on their Twitter account and Facebook page. The channel, Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA, continues to publish posts with the hashtag although fans are outraged at their parent company’s inability to reach a compromise with local affiliates.

Most posts are game related, but the backlash has been quite severe. Fans with any other cable or satellite provider, by some estimates about 70% of the region, have turned to social media to express their frustration. For example, an Easter post meant to amp up tune-in to a Dodger day-game, features a top comment from an angry fan:

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Another post shows fans clearly blaming Time Warner Cable for their frustration:

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The team, projected to be one of the strongest squads in all of Major League Baseball, is facing serious backlash from its fans due to its TV deal. And their chosen network is seemingly struggling to control its own social media campaign. SportsNet LA is hoping that with enough fan pressure, other providers will keel over and accept their terms. They have even started a website with a fill-in form meant for fans to send to their providers in order to pressure them into a deal.

But as the comments show, even that doesn’t seem to be working.

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Game of Thrones Season 4 Premiere: Breaks Records, Breaks Platforms

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The much anticipated premier of the fourth season of Game of Thrones aired Sunday night to a roaring social media bravado, and although parent network HBO experienced some technical difficulties with their streaming service, HBO Go, the show continues to be one of the most watched programs on air.

The episode, titled “Two Swords”, gets it’s name from the opening sequence in which Tywin Lannister crafts two Valarian Steel swords from the massive sword which used to belong to Ned Stark. The episode introduced us to a new character, Oberyn Martell (the Red Viper), showed us the increasingly uncontrollable (and massive) dragons, let us sympathize with Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow, who still knows nothing, and finished on an immensely strong note with Arya Stark avenging a friends death in high fashion:

The premier was the most watched program on the network since the 2007 finale of The Sopranos. With a full night tally of 8.2 million viewers (including two encores), the show easily beat out the season 3 premier, which reigned in 4.4 million viewers. Showing no signs of slowing down, reports indicate that the show also broke records in piracy attempts with 1.17 million unique IP’s trying to access torrents of the show within only 15 hours of the premier. However, many fans trying to access the show legally via their HBO Go accounts found technical difficulties. Due to the overwhelming demand, HBO Go wasn’t loading and some fans took to Twitter to express their resentment and disappointment using the hashtag #HBOFail:

The Twitterverse exploded with nearly 500,000 tweets related to the show, peaking during the show’s airing. The hashtag #GameofThrones was used nearly 200,000 times, and the Game of Thrones official handle, @GameofThrones, was mentioned 17,000 times.

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Overall, HBO should be happy with the reaction from the realm. Fans took to social media in full force and the #GameofThrones hashtag trended worldwide well into the night. And although the premier could have gone without the minor hiccup, one thing is certain: Winter is coming, but Spring television is here.

 

Out of Context, Out of Line

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What happens when the public takes a tweet out of context and begins a crowdsourced effort to unseat a late-night television host from his throne? The answer: #CancelColbert.

The official twitter account for The Colbert Report, which is not run by Mr. Colbert himself, tweeted the following yesterday:

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Although the tweet was quickly deleted, much of the internet was abuzz calling the Comedy Central host racist. In a swift attempt to diffuse the situation, Mr. Colbert reassured his fans that this in fact was not him:

The @ColbertReport account, run by Comedy Central, corroborated Colbert’s account:

https://twitter.com/ColbertReport/status/449395265251078144

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Although the comment itself was in fact making fun of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder some reacted in a rage, calling for the cancellation of the popular late-night program. The most vocal advocate was Suey Park who formerly organized and popularized the #NotYourAsianSidekick social campaign.

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The hashtag trended for a few hours and sparked a debate between those seeing the tweet as racist, and Colbert loyalists who pointed out the tweet was taken well out of context. Regardless of which side your on the power of social media was full force last night. And once again, it showed us that when everyone talks nobody listens.

Bill Maher Wants to Flip Your District

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While Bill Maher does very little to hide his contempt towards conservative politicians on air, the comedian and host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher is taking his agenda a step further during this year’s midterm elections– Maher is asking his viewers to nominate their congressional district to be flipped.

“This year, we are going to be entering into the exciting world of outright meddling with the political process,” Maher said in a post on his blog. The plan has two steps — the first involves selecting the congressman through a poll of the top viewer created social media entries using the hashtag #flipadistric, which will be followed by weekly bashing of that politician on Maher’s show. The contest is not limited to only Republicans, although it is difficult to imagine Maher’s viewers selecting anyone but a conservative incumbent.

This is the first ever attempt by a celebrity activist to use social media platforms to rile up their base and try to instill real political change. Maher’s ambitious tactics could set precedent, however, a failed attempt could backlash just as easily. While Maher’s social media presence is nothing to be scoffed at (he has over 2 million Facebook fans), the forces at play in a single congressional district may be too large to overcome even for the outspoken personality that Maher is. If nothing else, this campaign shows that the power of social media, television, and celebrities is greater now than ever.

House of Cards: Season 2 Returns

The much anticipated second season of the Netflix original program “House of Cards” was released earlier today, with all 13 episodes hitting the streaming service simultaneously. With the show’s fans buzzing about the return of Francis Underwood, Netflix capitalized on their strong social media reach by teasing fans with quote-cards in the days prior to the show’s debut.

The show’s primary handle, @houseofcards, created special picture assets to push out via social media and followers responded. Netflix combined their branded messages with re-tweets of popular accounts and news organizations which helped promote the premiere. Beau Willimon, the show’s creator, was retweeted often, as well as Kate Mara, who plays Zoe, the ambitious journalist who’s trying to make a name for herself in the throes of political news-writing.

Popular celebrities and household names from Ricky Gervais to President Obama had much praise for the show. Here are some of our favorites.

The premier cleverly coincides with Valentines Day, spotlighting Netflix’s binge-viewing model, and ensuring that even those without a significant other can still indulge with the enthralling plot twists that are sure to come this season. Happy viewing!

The Not So Social Super Bowl

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This year’s Super Bowl paled in comparison to previous years’ games both in terms of athletic competition as well as in-game social media activations. As part of the NFL’s deal with FOX, NBC, and CBS, the big game rotates yearly and this year’s event was broadcast on FOX. The network, strangely, did not use an official hashtag to promote online conversation, perhaps in an attempt to let their advertisers dominate the social dialogue. Two popular hashtags used by Tweeters were #SuperBowl and #SB48.

The lack of an official hashtag, however, didn’t stop individuals from Tweeting about the game, and sharing commentary on Facebook. In contrast to last year’s famous Oreo tweet, which capitalized on the in-game blackout, brands this year didn’t have very much to talk about, mostly due to the fact that the game was quite boring. However, Twitter still experienced nearly 25 million tweets about the game, roughly 1 million more than last year’s event. The most tweeted about play was Percy Harvin’s 87-yard kickoff return, which opened the second half with a Seahawk touchdown and effectively sealed their victory.

Unsurprisingly, celebrities controlled the Twitter conversation, with Hillary Clinton and Anna Kendrick using the Bronco thrashing to fuel their punches. Clinton used the FOX broadcast to take a jab at their conservative leaning sister channel FOX News, while Kendrick’s aptly timed tweet played on the Harvin touchdown.

https://twitter.com/AnnaKendrick47/status/430152250493636610

Facebook saw a total of 185 million interactions from 50 million people during Super Bowl Sunday. The map below shows who was rooting for who as determined by Facebook mentions.

Overall, the Super Bowl was a lackluster event, mostly due to the one sided nature of the game. And while social media was predictably vocal, perhaps a better game coupled with a heavier in-game push, could have coerced a louder reaction