Clue-by-Four: Ramblings of a Jock Dork

Social Media Era 1.0: The New Age of Wrestling

Posted in Now with Wrestling... by Wingnut on July 23, 2011

WWE Begins Metamorphosis Toward The Future and Strikes Death Blow to Impact Wrestling

(Yeah, regular readers, I mark out for wrestling. You should too!)

 

CM Punk Takes the WWE Championship....everywhere

For the first time in months, possibly years, the Internet Wrestling Community is abuzz with talk of mystery and intrigue. No longer is our anticipation for the next episode of Raw or the next PPV constrained by resigned expectations (Granted, they were expectations that were not unfounded until about a month ago). We can now look eagerly toward next week, next month, and beyond. We are witnessing a transformation of wrestling as we have known it. The reason: WWE finally found the formula to make fans relevant and truly a “part of the show.”

This is not an extension of the PG-era, nor a reboot of the attitude era (as some have speculated). Instead, we are seeing the genesis of the Social Media Era, a fresh direction that will give the fans input and access, blur the lines between heel/face and shoot/kayfabe, and define the landscape of next-generation superstars for years to come.

Input and Access: Future Superstars Will Create Their Own Fan Base

Has anyone else noticed what superstar is getting the biggest push on WWE television lately? His name is…Twitter.

In the past few months, I can’t keep track of the number of times WWE announcers pimp twitter. Announcers are reading tweets on television, superstars are mentioning their own accounts, and, at least twice per show, Michael Cole tells us what WWE hashtags are in the top 10 trending on Twitter. At this rate, Twitter will upend Zack Ryder for the internet championship by Thanksgiving.  That’s because the WWE has finally realized the potential of social media.

The "Must See" Champion is the prototype of the modern/future champion...superstars with a large social presence.

The rising stars in the WWE are those who have the biggest social presence. The Miz is the prototype of the future superstar. From the moment he appeared on MTV’s The Real World, he has been experimenting with how to connect with diverse audiences.  After he won the WWE Title last year, he didn’t rest on his laurels. He began campaigning as the WWE champion through all forms of media, in particular social media. His appearances as the “must see” champion not only created more Miz marks (I am proudly a Mizfit), but also made him possibly the most hated heel in the company (anyone who can put Alex Riley over that quickly has created serious emotional investment).

Following that example, more and more of the up-and-coming superstars are using Social Media to create new fans and communicate with their base. CM Punk has begun his own campaign as the WWE “unchampion.” Zack Ryder is using  Z! True Long Island Story to create a truly organic fan base. Dolph Ziggler is another who tweets frequently and is developing a following.  (Truthfully, I didn’t like or know much about Ziggler until, thanks to Zack Ryder, I startedfollowing him on Twitter. Now, I’m a total mark).

Future stars will be the ones who are most connected with their fans. Wrestlers who cannot connect or are simply awkward on the keyboard will fall by the wayside and be relegated to the mid card because they won’t generate the love/hate from fans in quite the same way.

Recent events show that current superstars finally get it. John Cena is evolving; CM Punk is evolving; The whole roster is evolving.

Legends are evolving as well, lending nearly complete credibility to the next generation of superstars. Tweets of Stone Cold, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Chris Jericho, HBK, and a host of others provide a valuable historical foundation to the to the ability and talent of the next generation. (The Rock is an exception. Someone needs to teach him how to use Twitter. His Tweets are all forced and, frankly, boring).

Social Media has become the place where past, present, and future connect and shape the direction of the WWE.

New Directions: The Presentation and Development of Future Feuds

This morning (I am writing on July 21), CM Punk “invaded” the WWE’s QandA at San Diego’s ComiCon. He cut a promo that may, or may not air on television during this Monday’s raw.  But, for many, it will be a moot point because they will have already watched it on YouTube, shared it with friends on Facebook and Google+, and retweeted any reference to it. It will have gone viral across WWE universe and may even seep into the mainstream media.

And what of Monday’s Raw? Of course they will share the footage as a way to say, “See what you miss when you are not following the WWE 7 days-a-week, 24 hours a day?” They want each and every one of us engaged, watching, talking about, and sharing wrestling. The more we are invested, the more we will spend money on merchandise and Pay Per Views (Heck, I’m ready to buy Colt Cabana merchandise and I didn’t even really know who he was until about two months ago. Hint hint WWE).

We will be talking wrestling because we will never quite be sure when the latest tweet will be shoot or kayfabe. We will have to pay attention.

Being a fan will not be limited to once- or twice-a-week (I am talking about the average WWE fan, not fellow Smarks). Being a fan will become a daily ritual for the vast majority of the WWE Universe. The Social Media Era fans will be more involved than any fans who has come before.

For example, it’s no secret that fans can turn a face-into-heel or heel-into-face in opposition to the best intentions of bookers. As the Social Media Era evolves, lines that define heel-face will be constantly in flux, drawn and redrawn by how well a superstar can connect with his fans off of television.  There will be some that will seemingly always be a face or heel. But, like with CM Punk, a loyal fan base will push bookers to consider non-traditional options and experiment with radically new angles.  And these fans will be fiercely loyal because they feel connected.

WWWYKI: He's gotta be on Raw this week, right?

The WWE has even begun to experiment with more and more direct fan involvement. Last Monday, John Cena’s apologetic tweet sent fans to their computers in droves to tweet their support for Cena in his “hour of need”. A couple of months ago, The Miz tweeted “Pray for Miz” after a bogus internet report. I was one of many who fell victim to his prank and tweeted well wishes.  I am even making an entry for “Broski of the Week” with my daughters, who adore Zack Ryder simply because his YouTube channel is hilarious. They feel connected and will mark out for him when we go to Summerslam (Are you listening WWE bookers?)

Fans are following daily conversations between superstars and it won’t be long before passive involvement in developing feuds becomes active. How long before loyal fans begin hashtag wars where they talk trash about their favorite superstar’s future opponents? It’s already happening, but on a smaller scale. Give it time. Pretty soon, passionate fan flame wars will amplify anticipation for future matches exponentially. By the time the PPV comes around, they will be so vested, they will have to watch and experience the match, then tweet their elation or disgust at the outcome.

The best part, from the WWE’s standpoint, is it has to do very little to help nudge fan involvement in that direction. As long as they periodically let the fans know that they are paying attention, we will do the rest of the work.  The WWE didn’t make Money In the Bank the best PPV in recent memory…we did. All the WWE or CM Punk did was recognize that we had a good idea and wanted to be heard.

WWE + Social Media Era = Death to Impact Wrestling

Like many, I had high hopes that Impact Wrestling would eventually become viable competition and that the WWE would have to evolve to stay on top. The latter occurred without Impact ever becoming much of a threat. Now that the WWE and its biggest stars have fully engaged the fan base, Impact’s opportunity is gone. Nothing they can come up with will ever match the kind of angle WWE is running now.

Is this an example of irony?

Impact’s executives and bookers did not understand what the modern fan wants. They began their “Wrestling Matters” campaign to try to lure disgruntled WWE fans. But the reality in this business is that “Fans Matter,” not wrestling (I imagine hundreds of Smarks just threw shoes at their monitors). Connect with your fans and they will overlook your shortcomings as a wrestler. Fail to connect with fans and no one but a select few will care that you have the most physical talent in the company (In fact you will probably be unemployed before long, and not in a CM Punk way).

If Impact had hired smart, creative people, they might have been able to use Social Media to hook fans and make a real run at the WWE. They could have captured and, possibly, dominated the generation that is addicted to their computers and smartphones. Instead, Impact executives banked their future on the same aging superstars and same tired angles that ran WCW into the ground. They focused on the wrestling, not the fans.

Professional wrestling has not been about actual “wrestling” in a long time and Impact bookers will ride their campaign right into the ground. Since the days of Hulk Hogan, wrestling has, and will always be, about characters.

The Social Media Era is the future of character development and fan interaction in wrestling. Now that the WWE is fully on the playing field it’s only a matter of time before we see “RT @WWEUniverse TNA folds. Don’t let the door hit you….”

ClueXMIA: The Job Hunt and Emotional Exhaustion

Posted in Jock Dork: It's Who I Am by Wingnut on August 3, 2010
[Disclaimer: This post is helping me release some frustration. It will not be edited and probably contains tons of errors because, when it comes to freewriting, I often don’t pay attention to exactly what I’m typing]

I don’t understand how some people have been at this whole unemployed thing for prolonged periods of time without losing their mind [Actually, as I understand it, many people have].

When I went through this last year, I had a reasonable belief that I was going to still have a job at my current school in September. This year, I know that there is no job available. The emotions are very different and it has clouded many of my decisions over the past couple months on issues such as dating.

I know the current economy has created this situation for a lot of people, but there is something about the whole thing that just feels emasculating. I know there is less of a stigma today, but it sure doesn’t feel like it when you are actually saying, “I’m unemployed right now.”

Funny thing, a number of years ago, I wouldn’t have cared much about uttering that phrase. I was perfectly insulated in my self-impossed joblessness [largely due to depression]. This is different. I have worked very hard to become a dedicated/talented educator. I have done much to become the man I want to be. [This process contributed to the downfall of Ex-Fiance #1]

Last year, I was on the verge of buying a house [completing the sense of manhood…I understand that it doesn’t necessarily define being a man…it’s how it feels to me people!]. Now, I’m sliding backwards.

I am normally a positive person, but the repeated rejection has been difficult to swallow. After going on about a dozen  interviews and filling a total of 40+ applications, I am feeling drained.

Even when I nail the interview, I’ve been edged out by a slightly more viable candidate.  I sent a “Thank You” note to one principal who wrote back. She explained that I couldn’t have done any better in the interview, but got beat out by a slightly better candidate. She even recommended me to another principal in the district [with which I interviewed Friday] and asked that I consider applying in the future because she would be happy to have me as a staff member.

I don’t know whether I should feel uplifted by that e-mail, or depressed that even best hasn’t been good enough. What I do know, it is a swirl of emotions that I have not experienced in many years and would appreciate going away very soon. It is hard for me to completely articulate everything I feel.

Dating:

  • For the moment, I have called a complete moratorium on dating. I suppose I can still have “fun”, but I have nothing to offer anyone emotionally right now.  I am focused on being the best dad I can be and a good friend, when I can be.
  • I have also had to pull away from viable opportunities because of geographic concerns. My geography is undetermined right now and I have been applying for almost every available position in a 150-mile radius. In my opinion, if I did not take this into account when dating someone, it would be dishonest [I don’t believe in the “worry about it later” approach because then people get hurt]. I’ve had to cut off opportunities before anyone got emotionally attached because it was the right thing to do and the fair thing. I cannot encourage someone to fall in love with me, only for me to move to a distance of 100 miles, especially when they are tethered to geography because of other responsibilities.

Blogging and Twitter:

  • With the exception of the current blog, I haven’t had a whole lot of emotional energy or focus for writing anything. I have a lot of ideas, things I want to talk about, series to finish. I just can’t get up the mental energy to sit down and write.
  • I am finding ways to keep my mind of my current situation, which includes playing a lot of golf, going to the gym, hanging out with my daughters, and playing some video games.
  • Mental time is dedicated to tweaking things about my job hunting process to further gain an edge. For example, I just dropped $50 on two e-books on education that were written about one of the districts I’ll be interviewing at this week. I’m going to read as much of the important parts as I can after my interview tomorrow. If I can figure out what my interviewers are looking for specifically, I can tailor my answers to meet their needs. Basically, I’m cramming [This is what it’s come to]

I am working on shaking this funk. For the moment readers, I ask for your patience with my blog and tweets. I will be periodically MIA for a bit longer while I try to shake this funk and get back to being me.

With any luck, I’ll be employed and back to writing on a regular basis.

But don’t worry, I’ll still be reading and will comment from time to time over the next couple weeks. I may post some poetry or may even go back and post some blogs from when I was a blogger-in-training. 😉

[To those I’ve discussed the collaborative project with, I’m still piecing together my angle. I’ll be in touch tomorrow]

“I’m a Good Person and People Like Me”: No Stuart, You are King Deusche! (Shouting Part Two)

Posted in Clue x Fours and Other Tools of Sanity by Wingnut on June 3, 2010
 
 

No matter how often you say it, doesn't make it true!

Issues of Self: I’m OK [Though I’m really a hot-fucking mess]

It amazes me sometimes the things we will shout about ourselves in an effort to maintain the thin veil of our own sanity. Much like the bloated statements about how “fantisterastic” a relationship is, these statements are fraught with all sorts of fault lines, the smallest which can fracture at the slightest glimpse of its reflection. [Reflected image = Epic Sanity Fail]

That “glimpse” is what people fear most. To look in the mirror means having to admit that their fool-hearty attempt to pass the “I’m OK” test has been futile. [Fuck I need to fix my fixation with the “f”]. Acquaintances and new friends are often unaware of these cracks. They believe what the people say about themselves without too much questioning. Little do they know [I once taught a whole class on “Little did he know”1], each firm declaration of self is really a subconscious confession of the opposite.

Those a little closer to the precipice or within the inner circle are more astute observers and can adequately evaluate each “self-statement” for its “complete bullshit” levels. Every so often, they might even call the person on it [This is often followed by “friendship Armageddon”] (more…)

Counterpoint: Unfollow Friday Questions Remain

Posted in Clue x Fours and Other Tools of Sanity by Wingnut on May 20, 2010

(Disclaimer: All comments need to be civil. They may be edited at ClueXfour’s discresion if there are any that are about people, not ideas)

I had to laugh as I saw the trending hashtag Tuesday, considering the blog drama that occurred on May 14. Now, it is probably pure coincidence, especially since the tag is horribly misspelled. Probably…and, since tomorrow is another #FF, this issue will likely continue to fester.

First, let it be said that I’m all for a positive blogging community, though, initially, I had to learn how to walk the line when I wanted to challenge someone’s opinions. It is a very fine line, let me tell you, and I crossed it more than once. I sincerely hope the community never disintegrates into the nonsense you can see in the comments section of almost any CNN.com story.

However, I question the moral high ground that the boycotting bloggers are standing on. Now, I’m not saying that people don’t have a right to choose who they associate with. By all means, you are allowed to pick who your friends are and aren’t. But, to make the statement that we will not promote any blogger who engages in negative statements or personal attacks opens our own ethics up to a slippery slope.

Opening question: How can we take a moral stand against this sort of blogging when, in our own blogs, we attack, ridicule, and make fun of people ourselves?

 Yes, we keep them anonymous by giving them silly initials or nicknames. But, our behavior is not far removed from that which we claimed to abhor in others. Do we not use their words and actions in ways that are, at their best, impolite?

I’ll go a step further. Our blogging behaviors are, at times, suspect because we rarely invite the subjects of our blogs to come defend themselves or explain their side of the story. We don’t invite them to expound upon our crazy or idiosyncrasies to others in our circle of influence. Nor do we inform them that private conversations [text, phone, or e-mails] will become exposed to analysis, criticism, public debate, and ridicule. We don’t tell them that making fun of them is our entertainment.

Make no mistake, I am OK with what we all write about. Not only is it entertaining, it’s therapeutic for the author and the reader in the shared experience. I believe that through inquiry into someone else’s flaws, we come closer to identifying our own. The shared experience is the most important thing about what we write about. That is what creates our sense of community.

Thus, I cannot, in good conscience, stand on higher ground knowing what I write, and will continue to write, about. To me, this seems hypocritical.

How This Situation Equates to RL:

 I can stop being friends with the perpetrator [not that I was before].  I do not feel, however, that it is right for me to tell someone else to terminate a friendship with another person. I wouldn’t do that in real life, why would I do it online? Someone else is allowed to make their own judgment as to who they want to be friends with.

I’ve heard it said by some that they don’t want to even “see” this person’s name in their Twitter stream. Again, how realistic would that be for a real life? I’m a regular at a country bar near where I live in Orange County. There are real life people who are just as hurtful as the blogger in question, often worse. It is safe to say, I don’t like them.

Do I like seeing them? Not particularly. However, I know that by being a member of the OC country scene, I have to accept that they will be there and I have to be OK with it. What is the alternative…try to get them thrown out? At least I don’t have to talk to them or listen to what they are talking about. The same can be said about someone else’s blog. Sure, you see the link in a RT, but you don’t have to click on it.

Back to the bar and my friends who still associate with those people. I don’t stop being friends with them. Sure, I may avoid talking to them when they are around the object of my dislike, but that does not prevent me from ever talking to them at all. I just talk to them when that person is not around, or I wait to talk to them at other venues.

Options:

It’s a part of blogosphere, just as it is a part of real life. The only option you do have at the bar is to leave. The Twitter equivalent would be to stop tweeting and reading tweets for a while.

There is one other option, however. You can embrace the hypocrisy of our blogs loudly and proudly. I’m totally down with that.

Hi, my name is JD…and I am a sometimes hypocrite and oft times giant whale penis.

Thanks for stopping by.

Postscript: Extra concern

 It also alarms me because what limits have we established amongst ourselves behavior we will turn our backs on. This all started because of verbal assaults online. Does it stop there? What if one of the bloggers engages in behavior that hurts another blogger offsite? The victim has been traumatized and is devastated. It didn’t happen in the blogosphere, but is far more egregious than anything that has happened online. Then what? In some of our own blogs, some of us even admit to similar behaviors. So, by unfollowing, are we being consistent or is it just more hypocrisy.

Premajure Enjunkulation: A Social Experiment in Creating Language

Posted in Clue x Fours and Other Tools of Sanity, Jock Dork: It's Who I Am, WTF? by Wingnut on April 29, 2010

Does this really surprise anyone?

So, I’ve been wondering what it would take to get a word or phrase created and part of the daily lexicon of the modern world. I had no such word [there were a few that were possible] until my last couple blogs.

Thus I present to you premature ejunkulation.

Ejunkulate (verb): 1. to send a naked picture of yourself to another person; 2. To expose your crazy in a rapid, violent manner.

Premature ejunkulation (noun): The act of sending picures of your junk to a person you barely know. In other words, the Match.com freak who thinks you need to see pics of your junk moments after your first IM conversation.

THE CHALLENGE

After reading this and the linked blog, begin using the word whenever one of these situations occur. Furthermore, use Twitter, Facebook, Text, and other forms of social media to spread this word around and introduce more people to it. You can even link my blog, if you so choose.

Let’s make this word happen people! How many times have you been asked to help create language for general usage.

I will periodically update my quest as I get more information about appearances of this word on the internet.