The Kinnick Wave, Roku, and reviews

I dare you to keep a dry eye after watching College GameDay‘s feature on the Kinnick Wave. (Links to the video and to a segment created by Fox Sports can be found here.) When University of Iowa Children’s Hospital completed its new building, it included a “press box” on the top floor that overlooks Kinnick Stadium. During football games, patients and their families can go up there to watch the games.

A fan page called Hawkeye Heaven engaged in the participatory culture that Howard Rheingold (2012) discussed in Net Smart: How To Thrive Online. It posted this on Facebook because, like Rheingold described, “they believed they had some degree of power” to create a change (p. 115). After being “liked” over 5,000 times and “shared” more than 3,000 times, the word got out.

And resulted in this:

When Iowa played Iowa State the following week, ESPN delayed the commercial break after the first quarter to air “the wave” live.  And about a month later, ESPN featured this on College GameDay (same video from the link in intro paragraph):

This is my favorite response to the ESPN feature. Fran’s Red Face is a spoof account for Iowa’s occasionally emotional men’s basketball coach.

This is just one example of how social media can effect positive changes, which was one of the themes for this week’s readings. In addition to Iowa fans, football fans at College GameDay’s live broadcast at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., did the wave as well as fans in East Lansing, Mich., who were hosting Iowa against Michigan State.

But movements don’t always need large followings, they just need a platform, said “The Long Tail” author Chris Anderson. In his Wired featured, he explained major entertainment companies invest the majority of their money in big names and big productions, which is ill-advised because “‘misses’ usually make money, too. And because there are so many more of them, that money can add up quickly to a huge new market. Or in my case, a big jump in morale in the workplace.

When I first started working for Ingersoll Wine Merchants, we listened to an adult contemporary station on the radio. At first, it wasn’t bad, but it did not take long for the station to become repetitive. Then, shortly after Christmas and all of its song, my boss purchased a Roku box, and we started listening to Radio Paradise, which is a wonderful listener-supported station that plays a wide variety of music. It introduced me to a lot of new artists, including Jill Barber, a Candian jazz singer, who I saw live in New York in 2014.

While it is good to follow the road less traveled for music and entertainment, it is not always recommended for consumer goods. I learned Cluetrain’s No. 11 on its “95 Theses” the hard way shortly after I graduated college. (Author’s note: This story from 10 years ago is a little embarrassing, but I think it illustrates my point. … Don’t judge too harshly.)  I was looking to expand my exercise video library, and Carmen Electra’s Aerobic Striptease sounded like fun. When I looked into it, the video series had a lot of negative reviews for not being long enough or challenging enough. Despite the bad reviews, I purchased it anyway and saw for myself it wasn’t a good buy. When I moved from Des Moines, all those DVDs made the “donation” box. Now when products on Amazon have many negative reviews, especially regarding customer service, I find an alternative product.

Like Rheingold said, social media provides a lot of positives, as long as we use our BS filters and don’t let it take over our lives.

Posted on October 6, 2017, in Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I love how you integrated the reading, social media and it’s affect all in one!

  2. miriamannelevy


    I love how social media helped empower the Hawkeye’s tradition into a message. I also really love this post, it’s a perfect use of links and visuals to empower your own message. Excellent job.

    In terms of online reviews, I feel like deciphering them can be a talent. I often find myself being persuaded even if I’m trying to be critical. My husband and I will try to look at a spread of differently starred reviews to get an idea of the legitimacy, but it’s still unlikely that we’d buy something with one star. We’ve found certain sites have better quality reviews than others, too. Amazon reviews often seem to be pretty accurate, at least for us. Yelp, in our area, is often very mixed. With the low income level of our city we find that many bad reviews will only be about how much money the meals cost even though prices are posted online. The good reviews are often trended towards restaurants with big portions and low costs regardless of quality. Of course we’ve grown to adapt to this and try to find relevant reviews or just go by word of mouth. This is one reason they allow us to also rate “helpfulness” of reviews.

    • Hi Miriam,

      Thanks for your feedback. I actually hadn’t consider Yelp when I discussed reviews. Service industry reviews are tricky. You never know if the place was really terrible or if the server only made one small mistake. Guess that means I need to get out more!


  3. Awesome post! I usually write my own post before commenting but your content really caught my eye. My 5 year old daughter is a cancer survivor. At the age of 2 she was diagnosed with kidney cancer and we spent a lot of time in the Twin Cities children’s hospital. At the time US Bank stadium was being built. We would watch the construction weekly as we went in for treatment. Autumn is doing well now but I am thrilled to see that people are finally starting to pay attention to this cause. I can say from experience the last place you want to be is looking down from the Childrens oncology floor.

    • Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for your feedback. It’s wonderful to hear your daughter is a cancer survivor. Do the Vikings do anything with the nearby hospital. I was in Minneapolis in May and remember seeing the stadium on my way to Target Field.

      I’m glad to see you enjoyed my post. Last week, Iowa played Illinois on the Big Ten Network and the network still aired the wave after the first quarter. I hope television networks will continue do so as the season progresses.

      Jennifer R.

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