September 28, 2022

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Traditional & Social Media = Football vs Basketball

Traditional & Social Media = Football vs Basketball

It struck me in the past couple months working with large companies that the difference between social media and traditional media is like football and basketball. It’s the difference between the scripted and the improvisation. It’s the difference between believing you can plan your life and living it.

Ready Sports Fans!


  • has set plays with a beginning middle and an end.
  • on most plays only 2 of 11 offensive players on the field touch the ball
  • is measured down to the inches, it’s often called a game of inches you know
  • has a rule about certain players being ineligible to catch a pass

Sounds a lot like classic marketing, top down, methodically planned.


  • has offensive sets where each individual has a chance to score
  • all team members on the court in many cases touch the ball
  • allows for any individual to capitalize on opportunities
  • everyone plays defense and offense with interchangeable positions (those Boston Celtic fans who have seen 7 footer Kevin Garnett bring the ball up like a point guard, you know what I’m talking about)

Sounds a lot like social media.

At any point in the day, you can have a customer service issue, a new product design idea, or an employee issue change your plans for that day. I’ve coached basketball for 10 years now, so I’m a bit biased. It has a greater opportunity and tolerance for improvisation. I heard another comparison of football and basketball as being similar to a symphony versus jazz. The point is the perspective of one form of business communication and discovery is more open to the randomness of life.

It struck me during a recent presentation i gave, that this concept of the randomness of social media causes anxiety among many in a football-like corporate environment. I could see the room divide. The basketballers, those that want to move the ball down court by throwing it to any one on their team offered ideas on how they could use different social media tools like Twitter, and those footballers who saw these tools as rule breakers thought the randomness was unproductive and raised objections.

This is a nagging question for those further up the Everett Rogers Diffusion of Innovation curve.
Rogers Diffusion of Innovation.bmp

Gartner says by 2010, sixty percent of the Fortune 1000 with a website will connect to or host a form of online community–that’s those folks in the Later Majority phase. Gartner also predicts by 2011, micro blogging will be in 80 percent of enterprise social communities.

If Gartner’s correct, the American football-dominated corporate culture will have figured out how to incorporate the random opportunities and uncertainties presented by the social web into a process that makes the players who enjoy it comfortable. Take heart, football fans, even the game with such meticulous planning can have its share of random acts:

Hat Tip

George Carlin’s football vs. baseball was a bit of inspiration here – RIP

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    This is interesting. I forgot how much money the remaining schools could make from the penatly fees. The remaining 5 schools could try to broker a football alliance with the Big East but remain the Big 12 in name.
    Officials from five Big 12 schools — Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor — held a conference call on Saturday, The Kansas City Star reported. The schools agreed they would like to continue as members of the Big 12.
    The five potential teams that could be left in the Big 12 if the exodus of five others continues to the Pac-10 would be wise to remain together, a conference commissioner with experience dealing with expansion told’s Andy Katz.
    The reason is simple: The five remaining schools would be due a huge payday and ultimately could salvage automatic berths to the NCAA tournament and possibly the BCS through expansion themselves.
    The commissioner, who didn’t want to be identified because he’s involved in the ongoing realignment of college athletics, told Katz it would be critical for Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Baylor and Iowa State to maintain the Big 12 as an entity or corporation.
    “The assets, the amount of money that they would be due by exit fees back to the corporation would be huge,” said the commissioner. “Rather than dissolve the Big 12, they are better off as a Big 12 entity then moving to the Mountain West.”
    Taken from:

    Daron Bellusci

    Did anyone see the riots anfter the finals last Thursday? What kind of fans celebrate by destroying their own city? Los Angeles Laker are a bunch of animals. According to AP, thirty eight people were arrested for “public intoxication, vandalism or inciting a riot.” Probably doesn’t help to have thugs on the team. Kobe seems to have escaped that rape charge in Colorado just fine. In any case, the NBA is starting to seem pre arranged. Lakers always seem to get more than their share. Remember Derrick Fisher and the Spurs? Wonder if it’s because of .

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