Monday, August 5, 2013

Quick Social Media Primer for 2013-14

Face it: Most SIDs are jacks of all trades, but master of too few.

There's always someone who knows more on a given subject. Recently I met with Berry College's Director of Social Media Cameron Jordan. 

Listed below are some of tips he suggested for Berry College athletics.

Most of our Facebook posting is done with a simple click of the Facebook box through our Presto Sports website.

However, if you add a photo manually (action shot from a game, for example), and then paste the headline and URL, you will see more activity.

The reason? Facebook users are more likely to click your story link, like or share when there's a photo--rather than just a shortened URL.I'm going to test this out and expect to see positive results.

It's also a great idea to share and like other campus Facebook posts. Additionally, tag the user (Berry Football, for example) for another "best practice." 

Yet I got a better review on my use of Twitter. I still automate the posts through Presto, but I also like to add images at games, and for other occasions. 

General rule of thumb: Users want unique content and photos, people!

I'm looking to expand our Instagram use, too. I may forgo Twitpic and Imagetwit.

Which brings up a good point: Instagram now has video. Once again, the popular Instagram could replace Tout and Vine accounts for many.

Lastly, don't forget to interact with users on all social media platforms. That is the kind of goodwill that will get you a very large "thumbs up" from your community.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Add Value and Enhance Career

The first CoSIDA convention under the NACDA umbrella is still fresh on our minds. What are your takeaways?

My big one: add value.

According to a report, college division athletic directors (most) are our biggest fans. They now see the the quality and quantity of what the SID does. That is HUGE progress, my friends.

On the negative side, many higher ups--VPs and Presidents--are unaware of the tremendous value we add to our institutions.

They need to know that a strategic communicator greatly assists in attracting and retaining students to a college or university.

What can we do to convince the higher ups of this fact?

Continue the good we are doing and broadcast the successes.

Be Yourself, but Make a Splash 

What is your AD, coach or president saying about you?

The valued SIDs are using their unique talents to fortify their jobs.

For example, one SID is big on game shows and can take over a room. But he also gets in his game files promptly each night. His bosses know the job he does but also that extra effort to make the student-athlete experience unique and special.

Define your unique skills and build on them. What are you adding to your repertoire in 2014? If you don't at least try something new or to get better, you are not helping your situation or the profession.

Know Your Limitations

Just about every job interviewee is asked of his/her biggest weakness? Have you defined yours in relation to your job? If the answer is yes, ask for help.

If graphic design is not your thing, can the PR office assist on layout and cover design of a media guide?

Does your office have a plan in place for editing and accuracy? Don Ranly once said a doctor can't operate on himself and an author needs an editor as well.

Do you have too many responsibilities on game day? Perhaps a local statistician or PA announcer can help. Identify the hole and ask for help. They can only say "no."

Nice Guys Finish First 

If I were to guess what the biggest asset of an embedded/successful/respected SID was, it would be that he/she is well-liked.

"Every time I say yes to a coach, it's a deposit in the bank," was a takeaway from a CoSIDA panel about dealing with coaches. The veteran from the commonwealth of Virginia made a wise point.

For those of us handling multiple sports, do you have a genuine interest in every athletic team you cover? Say "yes" to their unique needs and you can reap dividends.

More importantly, do you strive to achieve positive personal relationships with coaches? A friend is likely to be your biggest advocate.

Get Involved

It may be a broken record, but get involved. The CoSIDA Board, committees, divisional leadership, and activity on the conference level are all good examples.

SIDs can make a difference elsewhere. We now can sit on sport championship committees, which is another indication of the increasing respect of our profession within intercollegiate athletics.

However, there are other ways to be involved. Be an asset by blogging about the profession, get active on LinkedIn discussion boards, the or SIDChat. If you are helping or educating others, you are an asset.

Or, perhaps simply pick up of the phone and see how a colleague and or newcomer is doing once a week. I can do that.

Live Video Streaming

There are many live streaming options for college athletic departments. At the 2013 CoSIDA convention, I coordinated three different approaches to successful live streaming.

This document outlines what we do at Berry College: Presto Sports and UStream. (Note: Brent Harris from Wabash College and Brandon Tripp from Fresno Pacific presented other options.)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Video on a Budget for SIDs

Adding video recaps and content adds great value to college athletic departments. This presentation at the 2013 CoSIDA Convention was moderated by Berry College's Bob Lowe. All the three panelists had similar ways of creating videos. Caley McCool of the PSAC and Aaron Seagraves did much of the Power Point work.

Please enjoy the presentation below:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mount Berry, Ga.  – Bob Lowe has been named the director of sports information and promotions at Berry College, announced Viking Athletics Director Todd Brooks.

"We are glad to welcome Bob to Berry College," Brooks said. "He has exhibited leadership in his profession, administrative skill, and creativity in his career. This is an exciting time at Berry and we believe Bob will be a great asset to our institution."

Lowe has been involved in collegiate athletics for nearly 15 years, most recently as the director of communications for the Liberty League.  Prior to the Liberty League, Lowe was hired as Greensboro College's sports information director in the fall of 1999 and served through March 2011. He provided publicity for GC's 18 intercollegiate athletic teams, and was promoted to assistant athletic director for communications in 2008.

Lowe was the driving force behind PrideNet/PrideTV, a venue offering live and archived broadcasts of Greensboro College athletic events.  He served as chairman of the CoSIDA New Media/Technology committee from 2003 to '10, and now sits as a member.  Lowe also has won two Fred Stabley "Best in the District" awards for writing.

In 2010, Lowe was selected to serve on the CoSIDA Board of directors. A college division representative from the Southeast region, Lowe was one of 16 elected board members representing the more than 2400 sports information professionals in the USA and Canada. He continues to serve on D3SIDA, an advisory board for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

In the summer of 2002, Lowe helped form the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA). Since its inception, NCCSIA has honored more than 1200 "All State" student-athletes. Lowe served as both the organization's treasurer and past president.

A native of Whittier, Calif., Lowe received a bachelor's degree in journalism from San Diego State University. He was the sports information director at Santa Ana (Calif.) College for two years prior to arriving in Greensboro.
"I am very excited to join the Berry College team," said Lowe. "I relish the chance to return to an NCAA Division III campus. I was greatly impressed with the people, facilities, and atmosphere at Berry. It is a special and unique place, and I can't wait to get started!"

Lowe and his wife, Kim, have a teenage daughter, Brinley. A member of the SDSU Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Lowe is a certified college men's lacrosse official. He is also a dedicated fan of Bruce Springsteen.

About Berry College

Nationally recognized for both quality and value, Berry College ( ) is an independent, coeducational college of approximately 1,850 students offering exceptional undergraduate degrees. Students are encouraged to enrich their academic studies through participation in one of the nation's premiere on-campus work experience programs. More than 90 percent of Berry students take advantage of this unique opportunity to gain valuable real-world experience prior to graduation.

Berry athletics ( is a member of the Southern Athletic Association, which is a new league celebrating its first year. Other members of the NCAA Division III league are Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama; Centre College in Kentucky; Hendrix College in Arkansas; Millsaps College in Mississippi; Oglethorpe University in Georgia; and Rhodes College and Sewanee in Tennessee. Berry is in its fourth and final year as a probationary NCAA Division III member. The Vikings offer 20 sports, and will sponsor intercollegiate football in 2013.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Improve Your Website

There are THREE factors that can move your communications platform from good to GREAT.
They are:

-Strategic websites
-Social media

Or, just check out the "Pathway to Internet Excellence" slide show.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lowe Finds a Career Calling?

The computer network at the fledgling conglomerate of Robert B. Lowe Communications was hit by viruses. This was more of a black plague bug than an upset stomach.

Computer virus buster "Big Mike" of Archdale, N.C. noted: "There's one thing for sure your computer will do: it'll die."

Big Mike is right. If not a virus, a computer crash can cause similar heartache. Having been a PC owner for 20+ years, I knew better.

I lost about 20 hours of recently-completed work and countless personal information. Most notable was the 4 years of personal photo images. (Note: my next installment will be about setting up a virus-preventing system and data backup procedures.)

After the attack--and with our main desktop in the ICU for one week--there was plenty of time to contemplate worms, Trojans and the state of viruses on the digital world. Here are a few thoughts I heard on the subject.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say the loss of money, productivity and sanity is near infinity on this issue.

-Macintosh users don't have to worry about viruses (see update below).
-Virus authors create havoc-wreaking software just to see if they can.
-Hackers are now hitting Macs.
-Microsoft and Windows have not done nearly enough to prevent invasion to their software and our computers.
-Computer virus writers, under the guise of being malware-finders, extort millions from unsuspecting users.

This being said, my new career path should be that of a politician. It would have to be a high-level post because my reign would have to cover miscreants from Kernersville, NC to Kuala Lumpur who seek to ruin your life.

Seriously, what is our government and the rest of the World doing to combat these thugs who exist to hoodwink, extort and steal from good people?

Truth be told, I just read a story that American intelligence forces hacked into to Iraqi computer systems. Certainly computer virus warfare operates at a very high level. Ironically, hacking into your PC has been helped by our tax dollars.

As the self nominated "World Hacker Czar" I would be a hanging judge. Break out old punishments--stoning, tar and feathering, and firing squads--to deal with criminals who are invading business and households worldwide.

My name is Bob Lowe and I approve this message. I'd appreciate your vote!