The NFL: Twitter’s Kingmaker? — Ben Shields

MIT Sloan Lecturer Ben Shields

MIT Sloan Lecturer Ben Shields

From TechCrunch

The NFL has a distinguished history of successful partnerships with upstart media companies. When it became the home of Sunday Night Football in 1987, ESPN’s unprecedented growth accelerated. Then, in 1993, the NFL sold its NFC Sunday afternoon package to Fox, firmly establishing it as the fourth major broadcast network in the U.S. In turn, both deals expanded the NFL’s reach and significantly increased its media rights revenue.

This fall the NFL is working with another new media partner: Twitter. In a $10 million deal, Twitter is live streaming for free 10 Thursday Night Football (TNF) games. It is part of Twitter’s overall strategy of making live events the centerpiece of its platform. For its part, the NFL reportedly passed on higher bidders for the digital TNF package to test new distribution models with a trusted partner.

Read More »

Social media and healthy behavior — Damon Centola

MIT Sloan Assistant Professor Damon Centola

It has long been known that social connections and health behaviors are related. We can see this at the individual level: If our friends are working out or dieting or quitting smoking, we are more likely to do so too. But at the population level, understanding precisely how interactions affect behavior has proven difficult. Many factors influence behavior, and while we can see correlations, cause and effect are hard to pin down.

The rise of online health communities and social media, however, has opened important new avenues for research in this area. There are now many intentionally created communities organized around particular health concerns, from dieting to exercise to smoking cessation to combating any number of conditions. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media also have given rise to commercial applications that offer radical approaches to improving health.

By studying what happens inside online communities, social scientists now can observe connections between interactions and outcomes. Investigators also can conduct what has long been the gold standard for scientific research—the randomized, controlled experiment. In much the same way that medical researchers do clinical trials on individuals, social scientists are beginning to do clinical trials on entire populations.

Read More »

Facebook IPO and beyond: Catherine Tucker sees rich new revenue source in social advertising

MIT Sloan Assoc. Prof. Catherine Tucker

Much of the attention on Facebook’s initial public offering this week has been on whether the social networking giant is valued too highly. But whatever its current worth, Facebook has a potentially huge new source of revenue coming its way from “social advertising.” According to a new research paper I’ve just published, Facebook itself is only just beginning to realize the untapped potential of social advertising, in which marketers use online social relationships to improve ad targeting using data on Facebook users’ friend networks.

Read More »

Facebook "Frenemies Like These": trustworthiness of advice on Social Media

MIT Sloan Assistant Prof. Renée Gosline

Log on to Facebook or Twitter any time of day, and you’ll find a familiar scene: people asking questions. “In a book rut – can anyone recommend a good novel?” “Boyfriend and I had a fight – should I dump him?” or “Am shopping for a new suit — which color would look best on me?”

Social media has made it easier than ever before to ask questions of our friends, acquaintances, and other contacts. In some ways this is a good thing because we have more information to weigh, analyze, and consider before we make a decision. But in other ways, all this information and all these opinions can result in cognitive overload. It’s like going into the cereal aisle at the grocery store for every single decision.

Read More »