Since the Dallas Cowboys are “America’s Team,” you can understand why they have been the subject of so many books. I have read a lot of them.
The most recent, and likely, best-selling edition is called The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America by Joe Nick Patoski (New York: Little Brown, 2012). At 805 pages, it does the job.
But, I don’t think it’s the best. If you really want the history, go back to a book that concentrates on the first nine years of the team’s existence (1960-1969). And, that book is entitled Dallas Cowboys Pro or Con: A Complete History by Sam Blair (New York: Doubleday, 1970). The book is long out of print, but it is available through third-party sellers.
Before his retirement, Blair was a columnist for the Dallas Morning News. I met him through the late Merle Harmon, who broadcast games for area sports teams for many years. Blair was the paper’s first Dallas Cowboys writer, and he worked for the Dallas Morning News for 41 years (1954-1995).
Blair was a writer in a different era. In his career, there was not muckraking, blowing up heresay into facts, instant messaging, social media availability, or anything like today’s journalistic activity. Writers went to press conferences, chatted informally with players and coaches, kept off-the-record tidbits exactly that way, and did not blow up rumors into stories. It is true that they were laid-back, let the stories come to them, and were definitely not Watergate-style investigative reporters.
Perhaps even more so than Blair was Red Smith, who was an editorialist for the New York Times and New York Herald Tribune from the 1930’s through the 1980’s. I read a great collection of his columns in a book by Daniel Okrent entitled American Pastimes: The Very Best of Red Smith (New York: Library of America, 2013). Writers like Blair and Smith were just so different than you see today.
But, back to the Cowboys book by Blair. I guess that I select it for history because it is concentrated on the early years. It does not have to spread itself thin over 50 years. The context of Dallas, Texas, and especially the rivalry for ticket sales with Lamar Hunt’s Dallas Texans is so vivid in the book. Because it only covers the first nine years, you find all aspects of the team covered in a well-developed manner.
There were other books published about the team at that time that were also good. I remember reading the late Steve Perkins’ Next Year’s Champions (New York: World Publishing, 1969) . But, that book focused on a single season when the Cowboys did not advance as far as they had previously into the NFL Championship game. I remember it had a drawing of Don Meredith on the cover, wrapped around by Green Bay Packer linebacker Dave Robinson, as he through an interception into the end zone in the fourth quarter of the 1966 NFL Championship game. And, I remember how much I was stricken by the racism and bigotry in our area, even for star Cowboys players in the 1960’s, as told in Cotton Bowl Days by John Eisenberg, which was later retitled, and is now unavailable even through third party sellers.
I just think if you want to study the team’s history, why not read it historically? And, Blair’s book is the one that allows you to do that. You have to search for it, but you can find it.
A recent study conducted by Pew Research published on Friday, February 24 in the Washington Post, and distributed nationally by the Associated Press, indicated that Social Media users are “managing their privacy settings and their online reputation more often than they did two years earlier.” You can read the entire article by clicking here.
Nearly half of respondents said that they deleted comments from their profile, where two years ago, only 36 percent indicated the same thing.
Here are some other findings, published here directly from the article, that may interest you. The paragraph labels in red are my own.
Women. Women are much more likely than men to restrict their profiles. Pew found that 67 percent of women set their profiles so that only their “friends” can see it. Only 48 percent of men did the same.
Education. Think all that time in school taught you something? People with the highest levels of education reported having the most difficulty figuring out their privacy settings. That said, only 2 percent of social media users described privacy controls as “very difficult to manage.”
Privacy. The report found no significant differences in people’s basic privacy controls by age. In other words, younger people were just as likely to use privacy controls as older people. Sixty-two percent of teens and 58 percent of adults restricted access to their profiles to friends only.
Young Adults. Young adults were more likely than older people to delete unwanted comments. Fifty-six percent of social media users aged 18 to 29 said they have deleted comments that others have made on their profile, compared with 40 percent of those aged 30 to 49 and 34 percent of people aged 50 to 64.
Men. Men are more likely to post something they later regret. Fifteen percent of male respondents said they posted something regrettable, compared with 8 percent of female respondents.
Regrets. Possibly proving that with age comes wisdom, young adults were more likely to post something regrettable than their older counterparts. Fifteen percent of social network users aged 18 to 29 said they have posted something regrettable. Only 5 percent of people over 50 said the same thing.
Here is how the study was done. Pew Research conducted a phone survey of 2,277 adults in April and May 2011. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. The data about teens came from a separate phone survey Pew conducted with teenagers and their parents.
Are you surprised by this? Is your own use in line with these findings? What would you have said if you were surveyed with the same questions?
Let’s talk about it really soon!
As with many of you, we have a presence on Facebook for the First Friday Book Synopsis. Many of you are members of the group that we established. It is fun to interact with you through that group every day.
It is important to remember that Social Media has limits as to what it can produce. It is what it is – it is “social,” and its intent is to share information, reactions, opinions, and presence. Many have tried to use Social Media for other purposes, and in fact, seminars are plentiful that purport to show you how to build business by maximizing and tweaking your presence with the various tools.
Click here for access to a full article published on February 21 in the Dallas Morning News about business results from Facebook. They are not impressive, and the trends below may surprise you, as they run counter to common-sense publicity about social media. Here is an excerpt from the article:
“Last April, Gamestop Corp. opened a store on Facebookto generate sales among the 3.5 million-plus customers who’d declared themselves “fans” of the video game retailer. Six months later, the store was quietly shuttered. Grapevine-based Gamestop has company. Over the past year, Gap Inc. , Plano-based J.C. Penney Co. and Nordstrom Inc. have all opened and closed storefronts on Facebook Inc.’s social networking site. Facebook, which this month filed for an initial public offering, has sought to be a top shopping destination for its 845 million members. The stores’ quick failure shows that the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social network doesn’t drive commerce and casts doubt on its value for retailers, said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. “There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop,” Mulpuru said. “But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”
These results do not surprise me. If you count on Social Media to build sales, that is neither its intent, nor a probable outcome.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Social Media. I access Facebook and Twitter several times a day. In fact, my MBA class on research methods at the University of Dallas is studying it during this term.
But, I am aware of what it is supposed to do, and what it can do. It is what it is. It raises awareness, but it doesn’t make the cash register ring. Don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t do something it is not.
What do you think? Let’s talk about this really soon.
I am not surprised at all to see the statistics published on February 20, 2012 by the Pew Research Center that reveal very few Americans receive political news from social networks.
Where do we get our information about politicians, campaigns, platforms, etc? It’s not from social media. Here is the breakdown, when Americans were asked to identify the sources they used regularly to follow political news. Note this is not a “fixed pie” of 100%. Rather, these numbers reflect how many Americans sampled identified a source:
Cable news (36%)
Local TV news (32%)
National network news (26%)
Local daily newspaper (20%)
Talk radio (16%)
Late-night comedy shows (9%)
Why would this surprise anyone? Social Media is just what it is – it is social. It generates conversation, spreads opinions, and highlights reactions. Social Media is not a source that generates or distributes information. It is post-news. It is filled with what people think about what they already know.
It is not that Social Media is unimportant. In fact, it is the focus in my MBA research methods class this term at the University of Dallas. My students are learning research methods by focusing their research on Social Media.
Americans don’t get their news from Social Media outlets. Americans talk about the news through Social Media.
Are you surprised by this? If so, let’s talk about it really soon!
Don’t let the real water cooler dry up…
Standing up and leaning over a cubicle wall to actually talk to co-workers can earn you a lot of social capital.
Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman: The M-factor — How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace (7 Trends You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive)
There are big adjustments going on out there in the workplace. Generations are clashing. People have difficulty relating to each other when that generating gap is a true gap.
I teach at the community college level. It is amazing what my students do not know. Forget the history, the current events, they don’t know. Just look at the differences in shared cultural content. My students have never heard (never heard!) the poem Casey at the Bat. How can an American not know Casey at the Bat? (They also have no clue what this phrase means: “we’ve got trouble, right here in River City.” Which makes me think we’ve got trouble right here in River City!)
But do they know their technology. They are experts, able to do so much so fast, it leaves me in the dust. And I work hard at learning and using this stuff. But it’s pretty clear, it’s all a second language to me. To them, it’s their native tongue.
So there is much I need to learn, but there is also a warning I would like to share. It is prompted by the quote above from the book The M-factor. My warning:
face-to-face needs to be protected and preserved, especially in the age of Facebook.
So, whether you’re just learning how to define, and use, all of this social media on the new technology, or if you live by it naturally day-by-day, don’t forget about human contact, the real live human conversations, actual face-to-face conversations. Face-to-face is still incredibly valuable, even essential, to business success and to life success.
This really is worth remembering.
(Wiki/Twitter activism) is simply a form of organizing which favors the weak-tie connections that give us access to information over the strong-tie connections that help us persevere in the face of danger. It shifts our energies from organizations that promote strategic and disciplined activity and toward those which promote resilience and adaptability. It makes it easier for activists to express themselves, and harder for that expression to have any impact. The instruments of social media are well suited to making the existing social order more efficient. They are not a natural enemy of the status quo. If you are of the opinion that all the world needs is a little buffing around the edges, this should not trouble you. But if you think that there are still lunch counters out there that need integrating it ought to give you pause.
(Malcolm Gladwell, from his latest…)
I am a big fan of the whole social media, Twitter revolution, Wikinomics era thing going on.
I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell. (I’ve presented his first three books at the First Friday Book Synopsis).
In Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (I can’t wait to read Tapscott’s new book!), we learn that there is a whole new world out there from the connections, put everything up there and out there on the web, approach to innovation.
So – Twitter, wiki, everybody gets access, everybody gets connected, is the answer to all of our problems. Right?
Not so fast.
Malcolm Gladwell’s latest is: Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted. He acknowledges that Twitter, and the whole new world, has its place. Its place is just limited. When you want a real revolution, it won’t provide what we need.
In the article, Gladwell contrasts the massive work behind the scenes in the Civil Rights era 50 years ago to the environment of today. Consider these excerpts:
These events in the early sixties became a civil-rights war that engulfed the South for the rest of the decade—and it happened without e-mail, texting, Facebook, or Twitter.
Fifty years after one of the most extraordinary episodes of social upheaval in American history, we seem to have forgotten what activism is.
The platforms of social media are built around weak ties. Twitter is a way of following (or being followed by) people you may never have met. Facebook is a tool for efficiently managing your acquaintances, for keeping up with the people you would not otherwise be able to stay in touch with. That’s why you can have a thousand “friends” on Facebook, as you never could in real life
But weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism.
Gladwell reminds us that the people who sat at lunch counters in the 60’s were literally tempting some goons to bash their heads in – and some of the heads were bashed in. It took a lot of preparation, a lot of serious organization, a lot of courage – not “weak ties,” but very, very strong ties. Twitter wasn’t needed, and would not have been enough to pull this off.
In the world of politics, there is a new observation developing, which Gladwell alludes to. People who read blogs and even write in blogs are under the impression that they are involved, they are activists, changing the world. But the evidence is not yet backing this up.
Here’s what I think. Gladwell is a master at raising the right question – a master of tapping into the Zeitgeist, saying just the right things at the right time. I’ve read this new article carefully – even as I have just thrown Tapscott’s new book, Macrowikinomcs, into my “I should present this book” mix. Let’s just say that I am trying to figure out just what Twitter and the new world can – and cannot – accomplish.
Read Gladwell’s article here. It’s worth the time.