About Me

My name is Matt Repchak, and in April of 2012 I attempted to become the Chicago Bears' next Director of New Media. It, uh, didn't work.

Some Things You May Be Wondering About

 
 
Video Projects

Eyewitness To History: The Florida Citrus Bowl
I was essentially the executive producer for this local television special. From coordinating interviews and shooting schedules to writing the script to final editorial control, I had my hands in this from day one.

 
Blog
25
There are rarely positive reasons for canceling a Google Alert.

I was informed this afternoon that the Bears have opted to fill the Director of New Media position internally, which renders this page moot, if not embarrassingly foolish.

Thank you to anyone who liked this page on Facebook, tweeted #BearDownRepchak or just visited this page and skimmed an article. I can't thank you enough for your support on this shameless self-promotion.

This was a bold experiment, and sometimes bold experiments end with an explosion and soot on your face.

Extra thanks to Greg Creese, Michael Strickland, Carol Monroe, Keith Tribble, Brian Hardin and Chris Kearney for their great help during the entire process.
24

With the draft looming, GM Phil Emery spoke with media yesterday, so that means lots of news about him today.

Emery presented his evaluation of the draft's strengths and weaknesses (Chicago Tribune) and said they were keying on seven main targets for pick #19 (ESPN Chicago).

The Chicago Sun-Times looks at the circumstances that led to Jerry Angelo's departure and Emery's arrival.

A lot of those circumstances came from injuries, which is why finding players who don't present that risk is a priority for the front office. (Chicago Tribune)

The Rockford Register-Star keys in on Emery's multiple references to offensive linemen in this draft.

Outside of the draft, Emery spoke about the possibility of the team appearing on HBO's "Hard Knocks" (hint: it's not a no) (ESPN Chicago)

Stephen Paea and Nick Roach were named winners of the Brian Piccolo Award for 2011. Each man got a little profile on the side as well -- Paea on preparing for a heavier workload and Roach on the upcoming competition with former Buccaneer Geno Hayes. (ESPN Chicago)

The Chicago Tribune previews outside linebackers. ESPN Chicago looks at defensive ends and linebackers in general. The Trib also takes a specific look at Boise State's Shea McClellin, a possible late-round prospect at end.

Dan Pompeii offers another mailbag as draft questions pile up (Chicago Tribune)

23

Hey, do you have weekend plans? Heck yes you do. It's a staycation date: you, Mel Kiper Jr.'s impenetrable hair and Todd McShay's flop sweat. That's right, DRAFTAPALOOZA 2012 continues!

ESPN Chicago previews defensive tackle, a position of some need now that Amobi Okoye and Anthony Adams will be suiting up elsewhere this season. Memphis' Dontari Poe could be the best available to the Bears (assuming Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox goes earlier).

The Chicago Tribune covers middle linebacker, another potential option for the #19 pick. The MLBs don't run as deep as defensive tackles, but Boston College star Luke Kuechly has people drooling and searching for a pronunciation guide. 

The Chicago Sun-Times assures that character is still a priority in how the front office evaluates personnel, which is a nice way of saying they don't expect Brandon Marshall's off-field issues to continue.

22

Let's kick off the latest round of draft articles with a bird's-eye national view. Sporting News breaks down the team's big needs for next weekend, and single out needs along both sides of the line.

In positional breakdowns, ESPN Chicago previews corners and the Chicago Tribune looks at defensive ends

The Tribune's David Haugh offers more praise for Phil Emery, recapping the big offseason moves while imploring the team to draft Stanford tackle Jonathan Martin.

On the other side of the ball, the Chicago Sun-Times takes a longer look at Whitney Mercilus and the associated risk of drafting an end based on potential.

Most of all, the Tribune's Dan Pompei says the team should look for the next Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs to find the new generation of leaders.

Meanwhile, the current Urlacher visited Penn State's spring game as a guest of the Bears' former head trainer.

21

My digital-media-in-sports crush over the past year and change has been the UFC, which has been aggressive in the space throughout its exponential growth. With UFC 145 -- and one of the most hyped fights in recent memory in Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans -- taking place tonight, Mashable looked at their unique approach

The UFC and president Dana White have been really proactive in self-marketing through digital channels. White was an early believer in Twitter, and used ticket giveaways to demonstrate his belief. That faith extended to the contracted fighters with the institution of special bonuses for fighters who excelled on the application (both in quantity and quality). 

That's on top of White's fight-week video blogs for each major event and the impressive platform they've built to stream content from their Ultimate Fighter reality show. 

The great thing they've got going is getting their fighters to buy in. One of the most compelling aspects of the growing MMA world (in my opinion) is how each fighter is more or less required to market themselves. Social media has been a place where they've made a lot of growth, and the UFC is cultivating that growth. It's a tricky proposition in some respects because the fighters are independent contractors, and the organization could spend a lot of time promoting somebody who might not always be in their fold. It's not that risky for the UFC, though, as the current climate of MMA means that a fighter doesn't leave the UFC unless the UFC asks them to go. 

The model of building the organization's brand while simultaneously promoting your athletes has been great for the UFC. With proper tweaks, it's a great strategy for teams to adopt.

21

Co-owner Patrick McCaskey visited Great Falls, MT, to speak about his hobby of running Masters Track & Field, but he mostly talked about the Bears. (Great Falls Tribune)

Left tackle J'Marcus Webb, a frequent target of criticism among the Bears' offensive line, says all the right things: he can take the heat, and he's working hard to get better. (Chicago Tribune)

The Rockford Register-Star breaks down the entire schedule and predicts 10-6 with a wild card berth.

Draft madness pervades. Tribune Newspapers' Sam Farmer presents a mock draft with the Bears picking USC DE Nick Perry, throwing yet another new name into the mix for pick #19. (Chicago Tribune)

The Tribune also presents another positional preview, looking at safeties. On that note, Windy City Gridiron takes a look at backup Craig Steltz and where he fits in 2012.

ESPN Chicago talks to a pair of OL draft hopefuls from local schools: NIU's Scott Wedige and Illinois' Jeff Allen.

Windy City Gridiron notes that the Bears are becoming a trendy pick with all their offseason moves, so the underdog label might not stick in 2012.

20
Mashable created an infographic to explore the evolution of media surrounding the Olympics. The IOC announced the Olympic Athlete's Hub where fans can connect with competitors in the summer games. Though Facebook has technically been around since 2004 and Twitter since 2006, this is the first time that social media has becoming enough of A Thing to warrant integration into the world's biggest sports event.

It's a great opportunity for individual athletes to get recognized and make deeper connections than they would with limited TV coverage. The need for individual stars and compelling stories could lead unknown Olympians to "break out" the way NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski did during the Daytona 500 in February. A really dynamic athlete (like, say, fellow Northwestern Wildcat Jake Herbert, who is attempting to make the men's freestyle wrestling team this weekend at 84kg) could gain a whole new group of fans -- and consequently, new opportunities outside of competition -- just by being themselves. 

For the NFL, there's not as much pressure on individuals, but the same lessons can be culled. By cultivating the conversation, a team could identify lesser-known players with great personalities and bring them to the forefront. It's a modification of PR practices where the team pitches a player's story to the media for some positive coverage. If a player is adept at telling his own story via social media, all you need to do is give him the tools to make it happen.

20

Delay on the links due to a morning eye exam. Deepest apologies.

In yesterday's stories about Rocky McIntosh's free agent visit, Geno Hayes was one of the last names listed for veteran FA options (if he made the cut at all). Nevermind all that, because Hayes signed with the Bears yesterday. He was a three-year starter for my hometown Buccaneers with the tough job of replacing Derrick Brooks. 

With their second FA signing in as many days, and the Lance Briggs extension still cooling on the windowsill, fan attention turns back to the Matt Forte situation. Chicago Tribune columnist Matt Bowen assures that it's not a crisis situation.

Back in draft mode, the Tribune previewed defensive tackles. ESPN Chicago covered wide receivers and safeties.

The Chicago Sun-Times profiled GM Phil Emery's strategy and its roots in the New England system.

In Midwest prospect news, Michigan C David Molk won the Remington Trophy and draws favorably comparisons to former Bear Olin Kreutz, but his size is being counted against him. (Chicago Tribune)

ESPN.com's NFC North blogger Kevin Seifer muses on the new era of pass-happy football in the division. With Brandon Marshall, Earl Bennett, Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, Dane Sanzenbacher, Devin Thomas and Eric Weems on the roster, and first-round WR options taking meetings at Halas Hall, it sounds like the Bears are keeping up with the Joneses. 

19
Earlier this week a colleague e-mailed around a CNN article about Sheryl Sandberg's claim to a true 9-to-5 work schedule. The piece, from Mashable founder/CEO Pete Cashmore, addresses whether it's right to leave a tech job at regular hours

Digital media for a sports organization is defined by its irregular hours. You can keep regular business hours, but I don't think you can have the same success. Pinned to the wall to my left as I type is The Science of Social Timing, which analyzed Facebook and Twitter usage to determine peak times. It says 5:00 p.m. is the best time to tweet, and weekends are prime times for both social networks.

Beyond the numbers, you have the best social media success when your fans, followers and customers are active on social networks, and they are most active when they are (duh) not at work. Working at irregular hours is practically a necessity to make the connection with your users.

On the other hand, that doesn't necessarily mean you are tied to the office at all hours. I did a lot of my social media work straight from my phone during the busiest parts of last bowl season. I think the trick is leaving but not unplugging - by planning a few regular checks during your off hours (and being prepared to devote a little extra time if social conversation reaches a tipping point) - you can succeed without turning into one of those people who has to throw their phone away at the end of the movie so they can walk off in the sunset with their loved ones. 
 

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