Skoop: A Social Network That Will Only Live For 12 Days


Facebook has more than one billion users you can friend. Twitter has 800 million accounts you can follow. But if you want to find information relevant to a small community on those networks, you have to search for it.

Neil Patwardhan says that’s a problem. He founded a new social network called Skoop.

“The growth of macro social networks has gotten so vast that its created a perfect problem and the problem is relevancy,” Patwardhan says, “I mean theres only so many cat videos I can take in my news feed.”

Skoop is centered around specific colleges. For example, if you have a Texas Tech email account, you can login in and find events, free food, buy used books and chat with the people nearby.

Now Patwardhan is taking Skoop to SXSW – But it will only be good for Southby’s 12 days of conferences.

We’re out to prove that a micro network actually makes a ton of sense around a event so no ones ever done a social network around a event before,” Patwardhan says.

If history is any indicator, one conference is a good place to debut a new social media platform. Twitter first launched at South by Southwest Interactive in 2007. Foursquare did it in 2009.

 Josh Constine says there’s a lot buzz around social networks that are small by design. He writes for Tech Crunch.

“I think there’s a lot of value and people are excited about micro networks because it means that there’s a more an intimate back and forth conversation rather than a one-way broadcasting,” says Constine.

The problem now is money, as in “how do you make any”?

If you’re a brand trying to advertise on Facebook or Tumblr, the main draw is the sheer number of eyeballs. A small network just can’t compete. Which is why Patwardhan is banking on South By Southwest.

“What you will end up finding out is after South by, having proven our model, we can actually go to event organizers and say listen you need this for your attendees, says Patwardhan,” and we would build that for you we would write label that for you for a fee.”

Right now Skoop doesn’t make any money. It’s in good company, though – Twitter waited 4 years before it turned a profit.

But Twitter didn’t pay a team of people to populate the app with content. Skoop is paying to plug 900 events to plug into its South by Southwest model.

Patwardhan wants to sell users and potential sponsors on the idea that engagement is more valuable than a wide user base.

Tech Crunch’s Josh Constine says that’s consistent with the way people use social media in 2015.

“A lot of people would say that they would rather share to a small group of people but get real feedback, say friends who really read what they wrote, and wrote something back tot hem rather than just broadcasting it out to a ton of people who only shallowly consume it and there won’t be any feedback or conversation or discussion,” Constine says.

But whether that’s a point of view that will generate any revenue, well, that remains to be seen.

Our #LatinoViews Twitter Chat


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Latinos make up a trillion dollar market and American companies are eager to cash in

Some are learning how to target that economic powerhouse by understanding the complexity of Latinos — we aren’t just one monolithic group of Hispanics!

Example: Just think about how many different types of Goya beans you see in the supermarket!

We don’t all eat the same thing, and we don’t all think the same way.

This week we hosted a #LatinoViews Twitter chat with NPR’s Code Switch blog about their landmark poll measuring Latino attitudes.

The poll is unique because it solicited responses from nearly 1,500 Latino Americans. The sample size was big enough to divide answers by subgroups – it took ethnic ancestry into account and it separated immigrants from non-immigrants.

The problem with the poll it can only give you multiple choice answers. Do you identify as Hispanic or Latino? Do you feel optimistic? Have you been discriminated against?

But it doesn’t give respondents the opportunity to answer WHY they feel the way that they do.

That’s why we took to social media for a 1-hour long conversation about the poll’s findings.

Here are some of the best moments from the Twitter Chat we hosted with NPR’s Code Switch blog.

Tell Us Your #LatinoProblems


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Being bicultural, multicultural, ambicultural…it can get complicated. We want to help out. We’ve teamed up with Latina’s Magazine’s advice columnist Pauline Campos for a new recurring segment we like to call #LatinoProblems. Our social media diva Brenda Salinas attended a conference in New York for Latinos in social media in called Latism, and they found plenty of people with plenty of questions.

Your Thoughts On PBS’ Latino Americans


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Latino USA social media producer Brenda Salinas steps away from Twitter and into the recording booth to talk to host Maria Hinojosa. They discuss how social media has reacted to the PBS series “Latino Americans.”

Who Wore It Best: NBA Edition

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Basketball fans were surprised to see a commercial for the NBA’s new fashion blog during the play-offs. The commercial showed a man in a green suit checking up on NBA players’ outfits on his phone while getting measured by a tailor. The site was launched six weeks ago in response to the overwhelming social media attention generated by the league’s most fashionable players.

“If you just look on social media, when a player walks into the arena and they show them live on television within a minute or two there are photos all over, it is something people talk about, so on we have started paying attention to it as well,” said Lang Whitaker, one of the site’s editors.

Professional basketball has always had ties to popular fashion. Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers date all the way back to the ’20s. In the ’70s, Julius “Dr. J” Erving rocked a big Afro and wristbands. The ’80s introduced the Air Jordan and long basketball shorts. In the ’90s, the Michigan Fab 5 started the black-shoes-and-socks trend.

Personal Branding

“Style has always been a part of sports, it is just an extension of it now, we do not care what they wear on the court, we care what they wear off the court as well,” says Whitaker. Players like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade live at the intersection of high-fashion and locker-room style.

Dwyane Wade’s style is a frequent topic of conversation on social media. Last month he was mocked for wearing an all-orange outfit before a Miami Heat Game. In an interview with GQ, he said he expresses himself through fashion. “I feel like the way I dress says a lot about my personality, a lot of people will not get a chance to talk to me, but when they look at me, they can get an idea of who Dwyane Wade really is.”

Brandon Williams is a professional stylist whose clients include Mike Conley and Michael Redd. “It is 100 percent marketing. Some guys just do it for the love of fashion, but then there are the athletes that invest in a stylist and in fashion to cultivate their brand because they want to get involved in other things than the sport they play, whether it be charities or different endorsement opportunities,” said Williams.

Fashion Blooms in Response to Dress Code

Basketball style started to change in the aftermath of the notorious Indiana Pacers- Detroit Pistons brawl. “They didn’t want guys wearing sweat pants or sneakers or things like that”, says Whitaker. NBA commissioner David Stern implemented a dress code in 2005 that stated players must dress in business attire when conducting official NBA business.

Critics of the decision argued the NBA was trying to rid itself of the influences of hip-hop while profiting from it. David Leonard is the author of the book After Arrest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness. “You have a league that is making money off a skullcap with league insignias saying that very skullcap is unacceptable.”

Leonard says the current NBA fashion movement is what happens when a group of creative, spontaneous people respond to the restrictions of a dress code. “In spite of the efforts from the league to create a culture that matched the business suit culture of corporate America that they were trying to appeal to, players have found ways to creatively maintain their own sense of identity, of style, of agency, of power, while complying with the rules at hand,” he said.

Just Another Competition

Aside from the aesthetic challenge of dealing with the dress code, there is also the problem of finding clothes in an NBA player’s size. “They are tall, their body is actually different, their neck sizes are different, their arms are longer, their feet are bigger; so in order for them to fit a suit like a person who is 5’10 for example, you have to get it custom made,” said stylist Khalilah Williams-Webb to Tell Me More host Michel Martin.

Williams says his clients approach fashion with athletic precision. “This has become another type of competition for these guys. They have seen guys go from just basketball players to mogul-type status just from their brand association and different things that they are able to accomplish image-wise,” says Williams.

Fashion is starting to add to the spectacle of the NBA and more players are taking note. Whitaker expects we will see some bold sartorial choices during the finals, which started yesterday. “In the finals somebody will wear something just to get people talking, I do not know what it will be.”

Fashion bloggers will be keeping track of who wins the series, but they will be plenty busy talking about who wore what on the way to the locker room.

Does A Hospital Really Need A Facebbok Page?

Photo Illustration by Gerald Rich, KUHF
Photo Illustration by Gerald Rich, KUHF

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A hospital isn’t a place any of us want to be. So who would “like” one on Facebook? 70,000 Houstonians do . St.Lukes, Texas Woman’s, MD Anderson — they’re all active on the site.

For the people behind these pages, it’s a full time job. Like Jason Lauritzen, he’s a social media specialist with The Methodist Hospital System.

He says it’s a full time job, “We do have a calendar of maybe content we want to share with people. We curate some information about health news and someone says, ‘Hey can you provide more information on that,’ or ,’Can you put me in touch with a doctor?’ We go out, and we do those things for them.”

Lauritzen says social media is part of a hospital’s brand. He wasn’t surprised when he heard a new study linked Facebook likes to quality.

The study found that out of 40 New York Hospitals, the ones with more Facebook likes also outscored their peers in traditional measures of care, like 30 day mortality rates and patient recommendations.

Paloma Luisi is one of the Healthcare Institute and Technology Lab researchers who conducted the study. She says the Facebook like is a power metric, “We can look at and see does this have any valid findings in measuring patient satisfaction and hospital quality. And we think that it might, but it deserves future research.”

But hospitals scrambling to put up a Facebook page should be careful. Dan Hinmon works with hospitals on their social media presence, he says the worst thing a CEO could do after reading this study is to tell a marketing director to go throw up a Facebook page. “Facebook can be powerful in terms of building good relationships with patients. But if you don’t do it right, the very opposite can happen. Patients can decide that you don’t really care and aren’t interested in them. And that can reflect on the entire quality of your hospital”

Hinmon says people who like a hospital on Facebook personally connect with one of its services. Cancer and maternity centers tend to get more traffic.

It’s still not clear what Facebook means for quality of care across the country, but hospitals are connecting with patients in a new way, long after they’re discharged.