Seth Godin is known as a leader in trends, particularly surrounding marketing and the new wave of media. That’s why Godin deciding his 13th book, Linchpin, will be his last traditionally published book is a big deal. I think it seals the deal – not just that publishers aren’t quite as needed as they used to (I have had a great relationship with the publishers of my 3 books – don’t worry, no plans on switching yet!), but that either the publishing industry is going to need to change in order for other authors not to follow suite, or they will die. The big guy isn’t needed any more. The modern publishing world is all about the individual, and there are so many ways to “go it alone” yet still cooperate with all the needed vendors that make moves like Godin’s make sense.
That’s why Brigham Young University (BYU) Football, a top 10 BCS team from last year, may actually be able to pull off leaving the MountainWest Conference and going solo, as they announced they were going to do today.
I’m actually somewhat (yet not) surprised that more “Social Media Analysts” aren’t evaluating this move by BYU right now. This is the essence of Social Media. Social Media is about the individual. It’s about empowering people, or in this case “the little guy” to be able to make it against the bigger powers and gain the exposure they need without the need for any type of big entity to control their efforts in doing so.
Conference politics aside, this move by BYU makes sense. Now they have no contractual obligations on who can display their games. Now they can play their games online, on their own site. Now they have no worries, whatsoever, about their school policy of not playing on Sundays. Now they get to choose who they play year-to-year, and based on their history (numerous Bowl games, wins, and a National Championship), they’re good enough to find people that will play them! Now they can put their brand online and not have to worry about the Conference approving.
Here’s the kicker though – I think if BYU plays their cards right, uses Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and especially their own website to truly promote their games and their content, they could just be able to completely have the flexibility they need to innovate in this space. What happens if BYU is able to prove as a result of this that going it alone brings way more money and much more viewers than any lone Conference can give? That may have sounded crazy years ago, but this year it might actually be possible.
I think we’re about to see the start of a trend here. That trend’s not only in Football, but in almost any industry. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, for instance, also did this recently by becoming their own music label. You see the same with artists like Nine Inch Nails, RadioHead, and many others that are now able to go without “the big guy” and survive completely solo without a problem. It takes guts, but I admit I don’t think it takes nearly as much guts to do such a thing as it used to. We’re in a social world now, interconnected, where everyone has a voice. I expect many others to follow.
What BYU is doing is the essence of Social Media.
Disclosure: In my day job, I am currently working as the Social Media Architect for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While they are currently my employer, this article by no means represents any official announcement, declaration, proclamation, or doctrine on behalf of the Church. All claims or topics written are solely my own opinion and not the opinions or official word of the LDS Church. To be clear, regardless of my day job, I am still a member of the Church and I still believe its teachings and will always have beliefs to share surrounding the Church and its teachings. What I write here should be considered as such.
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