Grasping for straws that stir the drink.

Category: Media


Detroit — Super Bowl XLVII is upon us. And so are the commercials. In honor of the 47-or-so minutes of ad time during the 47th Super Bowl, here are 47 fun non-football facts about the big game:

Kate Upton Verlander

We all know Kate Upton will make an appearance in a Mercedes-Benz Super Bowl commercial. Here are 47 Super Bowl ad fun facts you may not know.

1. One-fourth of TV homes that watched last year’s Super Bowl had a household income of $100,000 or more. (Nielsen)

2. About the same number had household incomes of $30,000 or less. (Nielsen)

3. The average cost of a 30-second ad in this year’s Super Bowl is $3.4 million. The average cost of a 30-second commercial during primetime television can cost about $100,000. (Nielsen)

4. More than 130 marketers have spent $1.85 billion advertising during the Super Bowl since 2003. (Kantar Media)

5. Anheuser-Busch InBev has spent nearly $250 million on Super Bowl ads during that time. (Kantar Media)

6. General Motors Co. has spent the most money of any automaker advertising during the Super Bowl since 2003. GM has spent nearly $100 million during that time. The automaker will not advertise during Super Bowl XLVII. (Kantar Media)

GM made a splash during last year’s Super Bowl with its spot “Apocalypse,” but will remain silent during this year’s big game.

7. General Motors won’t spend $4 million on a Super Bowl ad, but did spend $165 million advertising during the NFL regular season (Kantar Media)

8. Automakers collectively spent three times more  on Super Bowl ads last year than any other industry. (Nielsen)

9. Twelve auto brands spent nearly $95 million on 16 ad spots during last year’s Super Bowl. (Kantar Media)

10. Despite all that spending, no automaker made Nielsen’s Top 10 “most remembered ads” list. (Nielsen)

11. Despite being forgettable, automakers held down the final four spots on Nielsen’s “most liked ads” list. Audi, Chrysler, Chevrolet and Honda took spots No. 7 through 10, respectively. (Nielsen)

12. General manufacturers did not have any Super Bowl ads from 2008 through 2011. (Nielsen)

13. In 2003, 83 ads comprised 40 minutes, 35 seconds of commercial time. (Kantar Media)

14. In 2012, 78 ads took up 47 minutes, 25 seconds of commercial time. (Kantar Media)

15. Half of this year’s Super Bowl ads will feature hashtags. (CNBC)

Hashtags will invade this year’s Super Bowl commercials.

16. Fifty-six percent of U.S. adults will watch this year’s Super Bowl with as much interest (or more) in the commercials as the actual game itself. (Harris Interactive)

17. Sixty percent of viewers ages 18 to 34 say having a computer nearby is at least somewhat important in order to have the best Super Bowl experience. (Hanon McKendry)

18. Nearly 50 percent of viewers in that same age bracket say the same thing about a smartphone. (Hanon McKendry)

19. Commercial teasers work … A sneak peak of Volkswagen’s 2012 ad attracted nearly three times as many social media shares (1.1 million) than the game-day ad itself (396,000). (Unruly Media)

20. Commercials last … Fifty-five percent of all social media shares happened after March 1 — nearly a month after the Super Bowl. (Unruly media)

21. … But only if they’re good. More than 90 percent of all Super Bowl commercial social media shares came from the top 20 ads. (Unruly Media)

22. Volkswagen has been the most shared brand on social media during the Super Bowl the past two years. Chrysler was No. 2 in 2011; Chevrolet was No. 2 last year. (Unruly Media)

23. CBS nixed a SodaStream Super Bowl ad this year because of its negative edge toward longtime sponsors Coca-Cola and Pepsi. SodaStream will replace the spot with a similar commercial — minus Coca-Cola and Pepsi branding.

24. USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter program will this year, for the first time, include commercials that air during halftime. (USA Today)

25. A food or beverage has won the Ad Meter every year since 1992, when Michael Jordan called himself “Hare Jordan” in a Nike commercial. (USA Today)

26. The audience tuneaway rate — the frequency in which viewers ignore commercials — during the average commercial last year was 0.7 percent, or seven out of every 1,000 viewers. A normal rate for TV programming is about 3 to 4 percent. (Kantar Media)

27. Super Bowl ads are getting longer. Nearly 20 percent of the commercials in 2012 were 60 seconds or longer, twice as many compared to 2011. Only six percent of commercials on broadcast television are 60 seconds or longer. (Kantar Media)

28. For all the money spent on ads, more people watched last year’s Super Bowl halftime show (114 million) than the actual game (111.3 million). And Madonna, like all other Super Bowl halftime performers, received no compensation. (AOL)

29. The shortest Super Bowl commercial was half-a-second, set by a Seattle seafood joint called Ivar’s in 2009.

30. The longest Super Bowl commercial was Chrysler’s 2011 spot featuring Eminem.

31. Research In Motion (Blackberry) will for the first time this year air a Super Bowl ad. (AdAge)

32. In 2012, the average 30-second Super Bowl ad cost $3.5 million, up 60 percent from the $2.15 million price tag in 2003. (Kantar Media)

33. Instead of paying $4 million for a 30-second spot that will be seen by approximately 111 million, an advertiser could buy 130 million impressions on Hulu. (Digiday)

34. Mercedes-Benz will get the most exposure during this year’s Super Bowl, thanks to a 60-second commercial and 379 seconds of on-screen shots and mentions, which will garner at least $12.2 million in media exposure. (ImageTrack)

35. Milk has never been advertised nationally during the Super Bowl. Until this year.

36. Humor and animals are the most popular creative elements during the past three Super Bowls. This is explains why Doritos (“Pug Attack“) has been the most effective Super Bowl advertiser during that stretch. Coca-Cola’s polar bears and Budweiser’s Clydesdales also stand out. (Ace Metrix)

37. This is one of the somewhat creepy ways advertisers can determine how and when they will screw with your brain. (Sands Research)

38. Kids play better with viewers than celebrities. (University of Wisconsin Eau Claire)

39. Nearly 30 percent of an ad’s impact is lost if the sound is off. (AdWeek)

40.,, PETA (“Veggie Love”) and have all been rejected as Super Bowl ad sponsors. (

41. If all players on both teams pooled the money they will earn during the Super Bowl, they still would not have enough money to buy a full 60-second ad during the game. Winners earn $88,000; losers earn $44,000. (Math)

42. Winners, however, could each buy two 30-second spots if ad rates did not change from Super Bowl 1, when the going rate was $40,000 per half-minute. That also means losers could each buy one 30-second ad, too. (More math)

43. There will be more action during commercials (47-plus) than during the actual game. An NFL game has an average of 11 minutes of action. (WSJ)

44. Pepsi has outspent Coca-Cola by approximately $100 million during the past 10 Super Bowls. (Kantar Media)

45. A seven-game World Series will generate more ad revenue than one Super Bowl. (Kantar Media)

46. In 1984, a 30-second spot cost $370,000 and reached 78 million viewers. In today’s dollars, that’s less than $1 million. (WaPo)

47. In the last three minutes of last year’s Super Bowl, social media users sent an average of 10,000 tweets per second. (AllThingsD)

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After latest Clear Channel bloodshed, where is radio headed?

Detroit — The annual Clear Channel Communications Inc. winter bloodshed came to Detroit early this year, as the media giant cut at least eight staffers in the market, ranging from longtime talker Frankie Darcell of Mix 92.3 to the quickly popular JAG of Channel 955.

This isn’t the first time Clear Channel has cut deep and it certainly won’t be the last.

Clear Channel

Clear Channel

Clear Channel can claim that “like every successful business,” their “strategy continues to evolve as we move forward as a company.”

And by forward, they mean backward. But they’re not alone.

Eventually all of the layoffs will catch up with Clear Channel and other media giants. So how does radio save itself? To look to the future, you must first look at the recent past. Radio has stripped itself of personalities, limited their playlists and failed to do anything special with the Internet.

Revolving door

The Detroit radio market — like many across the nation — has been decimated during the past handful of years. Popular personalities — Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle, Scott Vertical, and on a temporary basis, Mike Stone, Bob Wojnowski and Beau Daniels — have been canned, and that’s just scratching the surface.

Those who felt Clear Channel’s wrath on Thursday will likely be replaced by someone in-house, or worse: a radio personality from another market who just shouts the name of random suburbs into the mic for four hours in an effort to sound like he or she lives in Detroit. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Billy The Kid, heard weeknights on Channel 955.)

But Clear Channel and others have also stripped most of its talent of any personality, giving them limited time to talk. And when personalities are allowed to crack the mic, it’s usually to dish out the station phone number and to inform listeners of the next song, which coincidentally are things we already know from our 21st century radios and cell phones.

There’s no better way to concisely sum up why fewer and fewer people listen to the radio than to read the words spoken by Don Tanner, marketing executive with Tanner Friedman and a former radio personality, in an interview with The Detroit News.

“Why should the next generation — those raised on iPods and downloading — listen to terrestrial radio?” Tanner said. “What is the value proposition? The music alone is not enough. Live, local personalities are more vital than ever to radio’s future.”

Internet radio: if personality-driven, it can be the future of the radio.

Taking the conclusion drawn by someone outside the forest who can see the mostly deforested radio trees: Radio personalities cost money, but if they are good, they will make the radio station money. The same goes with any medium: You get what you pay for.

The problem is media giants, strapped for cash from acquiring massive amounts of radio stations, don’t want to spend the money.

The future

So where is radio headed?

The toilet. That is, radio could end up in the toilet, because the future of radio is in the palm of your hands: your cell phone, or more specifically, anywhere with Internet access, which yes, includes the bathroom.

Internet-based radio is the future, just as the newspaper of tomorrow will be entirely online and you’ll watch most — if not all — of your television programming on the Internet.

How quickly radio can catch up will determine who will be spared from more massacre and survive long enough to tell the tale. To go back to the metaphor from two paragraphs ago, it’s time to poop or get off the potty.

(And no, you cannot simply slap the same mediocre programming on a stream, just as a newspaper can’t slap the mostly mediocre content on the web and call it a day.)

It will be a revolution. And one based on past successes: live, local and different.

And there’s a small bit of anecdotal evidence that suggests it will work.

Pat DeLuca's stream-only radio station now attracts tens of thousands of listeners.

Pat DeLuca’s stream-only radio station now attracts tens of thousands of listeners.

Pat DeLuca, who for six years hosted the No. 1-ranked morning show in the Canton, Ohio market on WDJQ-FM, decided to take his show online earlier this year, creating The DeLuca Show Network. The network, which started with a three-day-a-week live morning show and continuous music throughout the rest of the day and night, now has a full radio lineup with live programming from 7 a.m. until midnight. (LIVE.)

The station, with little to no money and no substantial marketing, now attracts tens of thousands of listeners, sells ads and does remotes in the Northeast Ohio area. (LOCAL.)

It also has one of the most comprehensive (and legally obtained) music playlists and in hours of listening I have been unable to locate a two-hour block where the station has played the same artist twice. (DIFFERENT.)

Nobody knows for sure if DeLuca’s station will last in the long run, but he sure as hell is going to go down swinging.

Consider the following:

The Internet

Like other forms of media — most notably newspapers and television — the Internet is not killing radio.

Radio, newspapers and television stations never properly adapted when the Internet started to take off. Twenty-first century management thinking — check that, 21st century management decisions — is now the saving grace to preserve a prosperous future for all three media industries.

Need proof? Ask anyone under 30 if they’d rather read a newspaper, or get news from online; listen to terrestrial radio, or pull up their favorite station on their iPhone; or stay up late to watch their favorite TV show, or watch it with their friends whenever they want.

Then remember this write-up in, let’s say, 2020.

If I’m wrong?

Then let there be bloodshed.

Follow Karl Henkel on Twitter, friend him on Facebook.

Justin Bieber, Vanilla Ice and email

Detroit — During a recent lunch with few communications professionals, I came away thinking about two questions that stood out hours after I finished my mint-chocolate chip gooey brownie dessert: “Do you like Justin Bieber?” and “Can I email you story pitches?”

After thinking about those questions for the remainder of that day, I can now say with a great deal of certitude that I like Justin Bieber a lot more than I like getting email story pitches.

This is nothing against public relations professionals, communications specialists, or even my Detroit News editors, all of which email me on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis.

Blame the system.

Email is still the most popular form of digital communication, but — to stick with musical comparisons — it’s more Vanilla Ice than Justin Bieber. Email, like Vanilla Ice, hasn’t gotten much better since the 1990s, has miraculously found a way to remain relevant and probably won’t die anytime soon.

If email had a face, it’d probably look something like Vanilla Ice.

Not to take this debate To The Extreme, but I — like most in media and communications — receive thousands of emails every week. Most of them have nothing to do the automotive industry, casinos, and surprisingly, free food in the break room — things relevant to me. There are hundreds of misguided pitches and new spam, so much so that I’ve occasionally missed important emails.

We send emails about everything. We send emails without body text. We forward emails like we’re passing out Halloween candy. We all contribute to the unintentional spamification of email accounts everywhere.

Even my junk inbox has a junk inbox. There’s so much crap in my garbage bin, that if all that crap actually existed, every city in America would refuse to pick it up Thursday mornings because that bin would exceed the maximum weight limit.

And the problem is only going to get worse as the number of sent and received emails will continue to rise.

So what’s the alternative? (Remember, think Bieber, not Vanilla Ice.)

There are plenty of effective ways to use email but those ideas have not been widely accepted. So let’s use some mediums that have.

  • Twitter: While this may be a byproduct of being a Millennial, a tweet — or even better — a direct message, will have a significantly better chance of getting read. Probably a 10-times-better chance of getting read. A quick note: send me a direct message on Twitter (which at 140 characters will keep even the most inattentive engaged) and I will receive a notification on my phone. Send me an email and my phone will vibrate in my pocket, just as it does when I don’t get an email.
  • Phone: Unbelievably, a majority of Americans now own smartphones. And fewer use those smartphones to place phone calls. But unlike most email clients, which provide a near-endless amount of space for emails, the number of voicemail messages the average person can ignore is somewhat limited. And the phone, unlike email, will keep the constant alert of a missed call or voicemail in plain sight until you acknowledge it.
  • Text message: As phone call volume declines, text messaging continues to accelerate. The length of text messages can vary, but rarely will challenge the length of emails. Plus, unlike terribly timed story pitches and other email junk, you wouldn’t dare send me a text message at 3:30 in the morning.

My answer to the communication professionals was a combination of all three — but specifically not email.

Don’t get me wrong, email is not irrelevant. But it should no longer be the main or primary method of digital communication.

For Pete’s sake, it’s 2012.

We have smartphones. We have Twitter. And yes, we have Justin Bieber.

So catch up, and get used to it.

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ODNR wins PR battle, but won’t avoid local media’s critical eye

Detroit — The thing most don’t understand about journalism is that the media’s job is not just to weave facts and anecdotes together to create stories chocked full of information.

That’s what we’d like to do, but more often than not, it’s a lot tougher than that.

We’re faced with politicking.

And in the instance of the much-anticipated Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ report on injection-well induced earthquakes in Youngstown, ODNR out-politicked this writer and managed to feed its public relations feast to a much higher power.

The Associated Press.

And the AP had itself a sloppy, slow-cooked slab of the finest public relations meat that ODNR could serve up.

You see those in the local media, especially when dealing with a hot-button local story, tend to be critical of announcements or reports, and vet them as much as possible.

But ODNR has taken a beating since October when The Vindicator first reported on an earthquake-injection well correlation.

So what better way to get out their positive but blind message of “tough regulations?”

The answer is the national media.

The Associated Press, which had the story well in advance of the release and certainly well before anyone locally laid eyes on it, did what it does best: turned a release into a story in near-record time.

The AP in turn distributed it for use among nearly 7,000 newspapers and television and radio stations.

Here’s the first sentence of the AP story:

A dozen earthquakes in northeastern Ohio were almost certainly induced by injection of gas-drilling wastewater into the earth, Ohio oil and gas regulators said Friday as they announced a series of tough new regulations for drillers.

Tough regulations, eh? We’ll get to that in a moment.

The fact the AP had a story before the 11 a.m. announcement means one of two things: 1) ODNR provided them with an advance copy, contradictory to its statements to the local media or 2) the AP did not fully read the report and therefore took the “tough regulations” aspect for granted.

(The ODNR preliminary report was 24 digital pages.)

For those curious about the difference between the local and national media, I’ll provide you this analogy.

The national media is like a sugar-buzzed, impressionable adolescent. It will generally believe whatever you tell it, asking few relevant questions and trying to draw as much attention to itself as humanly possible.

Most of the time, it works, especially when it comes to the other candied-out cool kids on the playground, the national television media. (For instance, Rachel Maddow linked back to a copy of the AP story.)

Now we see how ODNR won this public relations battle with the media.

By electing not to advance the report to the local media as anticipated, ODNR knew the Associated Press would run with whatever excerpt they put at the top of the ODNR report’s executive summary.

By electing to release the report on a Friday, they minimized publicity, because, quite frankly, by the time Monday rolls around, the story’s prominence will wear off.

As for the actual regulations, the ODNR report failed to touch on many important aspects, including its highly criticized definition of brine — in simple terms, ODNR does not distinguish between lightweight and heavy brine — which could have impacted the D&L Energy Inc. Youngstown well, which operated at a higher pressure than any other injection well in the state.

Those tough regulations, some could argue, were regulatory oversights.

(I could go on, but I will need something to write about Monday when I return from vacation.)

It’s facts like these that will get vetted by the local media but will generally be ignored by the national media.

ODNR spoonfed its message to the national media in one heaping mound.

But that dish now heads in the direction of the local media, which will narrow the focus on the real details of the report.

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Frack Attack: How Plunderbund failed to tell the whole story

Detroit — Detractors of fracking claim the controversial process will destroy land, contaminate drinking water and ruin life as we know it.

Fracking, of course, is the process in which water, chemicals and sand are blasted into rocks thousands of feet below the ground to unlock natural gas and oil.

They hark on the drilling industry’s secrecy — which, to an extent, is a problem — and demand full transparency.

Transparency is a trait that everyone can accept.

But at last check, transparency is not a one-way street.

When the blog Plunderbund published a story about violations at well sites in Ohio, I prematurely applauded the article.

Then I read the story.

“… we found that 693 gas and oil wells in Ohio failed inspections performed by ODNR inspectors last year, resulting in 1,625 distinct violations.

Violations for Failure to legibly identify well (347 violations) were most frequent, followed by Nonproduction wells that need to be plugged or placed in temporary inactive status (251 violations).

It’s all accurate information, and the investigation appears to be thorough, even breaking down the violations by type and county.

But the article fails to put those violations into context. In 2011, 693 gas and oil wells failed inspection.

Ohio has nearly 68,000 wells.

That means that 1 percent of all Ohio wells failed an inspection last year.

To compare the irresponsibility of the natural gas and oil industry, which in Ohio was 1 percent, to everyday life, read this.

That’s right, 14 percent of licensed Ohio drivers have an OVI conviction.

What’s the more deadly scenario here?

For those of you still reading who don’t know my background and think I’m an industry schill, I urge you to read this, this, this, this and this.

Does natural gas and oil drilling cause contamination?


I can’t recall a single industry individual who hasn’t acknowledged that contamination can, and does occur, when a driller makes a mistake.

But put it in context.

The evidence, from last year at least, indicates the problems were few and far between.

Whether the Ohio Department of Natural Resources can fulfill its obligations moving forward — it currently has about 30 well inspectors — is still up in the air.

Plunderbund will be watching. I will be watching.

But as we demand transparency from the industry and state regulators, we must adhere to the same principles.

There’s much more on this subject at

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Media mistakes injection wells for fracking

Detroit — Ohio’s decision to ban a handful of brine-injection wells — and Saturday’s 4.0 magnitude earthquake — has caused some confusion regarding the oil and natural gas drilling frenzy.

Many Mahoning Valley residents have taken to Twitter, Facebook and have even called local politicians calling for a statewide ban on fracking, mistakenly believing that the process has caused 11 Valley earthquakes this year.

Who is to blame for this misinformation? The national media.

NPR, CBC, and Bloomberg have recently implicated fracking as the cause of the Valley quakes.

Fracking is a process in which water, chemicals and sand are blasted into rocks thousands of feet — in the case of the Utica Shale, about 6,000 feet — below the ground to unlock natural gas and oil. Fracking is an extraction process.

Vertical fracking has been around for more than a half-century. Horizontal fracking is a relatively new technology that allows drillers access to untapped natural gas and oil reserves.

Injection wells are the opposite; the fluid used in the fracking process is injected deep into the ground, sometimes as deep as 9,300 feet in Ohio.

In the case of the 11 Valley earthquakes this year, fracking is not the cause.

The nearest horizontal fracking operation is in Milton Township, about 20 miles west of Youngstown.

There is no horizontal fracking going on in the immediate Youngstown area.

There was, however, one fully-functional injection well, on Ohio Works Drive in Youngstown.

That well was shut down by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Friday. There are between 176 operating injection wells and 194 permitted injection wells in Ohio. There are about 68,000 gas wells in Ohio.

There’s much more on this subject at

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The case for — and against — an Alabama-LSU rematch

Niles, Ohio — After No. 2 Alabama’s thumping of Auburn this weekend, the clear-cut choice to play undefeated LSU in the BCS title game is — Oklahoma State?

Mike Gundy and one-loss Oklahoma State need help from voters to vault to the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings.

But in a twist that’s as hypocritical as it is illogical, it appears Alabama will get an second crack at LSU

There are a few reasons why the Crimson Tide and Tigers will meet on Jan. 9 in New Orleans, and a few better reasons why Alabama shouldn’t get the chance.

Alabama won’t play for the title because it didn’t win its conference. Heck, it didn’t even win its division. I know, I know, the division (and eventual conference winner) will be LSU. That’s like saying Scottie Pippin was the second-best player on the Chicago Bulls, which is accurate, but only because he played along side Michael Jordan.

Conference winners play for BCS titles; conference runner-ups do not. Don’t believe me? Since 1998, when the BCS first started, all but two competitors in the championship game have won their conference. (The exceptions were in 2001, when No. 14 Colorado stunned No. 2 Nebraska during the last week of the regular season. Nebraska then lost to Miami in the title game; and in 2003, when No. 12 Kansas State shocked No. 1 Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. Oklahoma then lost to LSU in the title game.)

Nick Saban and Alabama will likely get a second crack at undefeated LSU.

Alabama will play for the title because ESPN has rights to televise the game. ESPN, better known as the worldwide leader in sports, is also the worldwide leader in manipulation. This is an organization that still allows Craig James on the air following the Mike Leach fiasco in 2009.

LSU wasn’t the only winner in the early Novemeber matchup with LSU. CBS also reigned victorious in the Game of the Century, drawing 20 million viewers. It was the most-watched regular season game on CBS in 22 years.

If the same number of viewers watch an Alabama-LSU rematch, it would be the second-highest rated BCS game ever, behind Texas-USC in 2006, which drew 21.7 million viewers.

ESPN already has Gene Wojciechowski workforce lobbying for the rematch.

Alabama won’t play for the title because there is already a precedent. As any Michigan fan remembers, the Wolverines were denied a second chance to play undefeated Ohio State for the 2006 national title.

Michigan’s only loss? To undefeated Ohio State during the final week of the regular season.

One-loss Florida (lost to No. 11 Auburn earlier that season) jumped Michigan and skunked OSU in the title game.

But to be fair, Wojciechowski in 2006 also thought it was unfair that the Gators got the nod ahead of the Wolverines.

Think of it this way: if the debate is between undefeated LSU, one-loss Alabama and, say, one-loss Oklahoma State, what facts do we already know? Is Alabama better than LSU? No, because it lost LSU earlier this year. Is Oklahoma State better than LSU? We don’t know, because the two teams haven’t played.

Alabama will play for the title because it deserves a second chance. Nick Saban’s squad is 4-1 against ranked opponents this season. On eight occasions, the Crimson Tide have limited opponents to 10 points or fewer.

It limited LSU to three field goals in more than a game’s worth of action during its 9-6 overtime loss earlier this month.

Alabama won’t play for the title because Oklahoma State has earned the right to play LSU.

This, of course, is dependent on an OSU victory against Oklahoma Dec. 3, which would push the Cowboys record against ranked opponents to 3-0.

The computer rankings, as of the Week 13 BCS standings, had Oklahoma State ranked as the second-best team in the nation. The biggest detriment to OSU’s title hopes? The voters.

Alabama will play for the title because Nick Saban said so.

That’s a good enough reason for most.

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I’m on Twitter and I write for a newspaper. What’s cooler than that?

Niles, Ohio — Eight months ago I made two changes.

I joined Twitter and started working at a newspaper.

As someone in Generation Y, one of those seems obviously cooler than the other.

The newspaper, of course. Go ahead, laugh.

But according to Pew Research, about 1 in 4 people under age 30 read a newspaper. It’s a shocking number, to say the least. I’d be hard-pressed to name a handful of Gen Ys who’ve read a newspaper in the past year, and that doesn’t even guarantee they paid for one.

But as pathetic as 25-percent readership is for the fastest-growing generation since the Baby Boomers, newspapers still top Twitter among Gen Ys.

TwitterThat’s right, that Twitter. The same Twitter that media professionals have beaten into the brains of media up-and-comers (or future flameouts) like myself.

“Those in media must use Twitter or accept irrelevancy,” a media “hot shot” once told me.

I guess most people qualify as “irrelevant.”

Only 50 of 370 “friends” on my Michigan-maintained Facebook page use Twitter and close to half only use it regularly.

Fifty of 370? That’s 13 percent.

But hey, that’s just my experience, right?

Nope: Only 13 percent of the entire population uses Twitter. That number grows slightly to 18 percent for people ages 18 to 30.

Twitter recently topped 100 million active users worldwide. For comparison’s sake, Twitter has 87-percent fewer users than Facebook, the No. 1 social media website on the planet.

The numbers are so low that Gen Ys are more likely to use drugs or be obese than use Twitter.

The microblogging site is growing, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s nowhere near as popular as we’re led to believe. Especially considering those who use Twitter — the media, businesses and advertisers — are likely tweeting information among themselves, when odds are they would share that same information without Twitter.

Don’t believe me? As of April, only 10 percent of Twitter accounts followed more than 50 people. The average Facebook user has 130 friends. Simple math, folks. The average Facebook user can reach two-and-a-half times the audience of Twitter.

These stats aren’t going to deter me from tweeting. It’s still a necessary evil in today’s media world (despite what mentor and genius Jack Lessenberry says). Truth be told, tweeting produces a fair amount of pertinent information considering the minimal time investment.

You know what else produces a fair amount of pertinent information for a minimal time investment?

A newspaper.

But that’s not cool either, is it?

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