|Inside look at the new DBP|
For years Blue Devil fans have followed the team through a number of media outlets with the program's own "Duke Blue Planet" site being among the most popular. With "DBP" preparing to relaunch a new version this week, the man behind the program's popular feature sat down to discuss it all with TDD.
TDD: With the new site launching this week, what are some of the new features you're most excited about?
David Bradley, DBP: Basically everything is new except for some favorite videos and photos that we brought along. We wanted to modernize the site and make it much more visual, building from the ground up. The old site went up about five years ago and it's crazy how much technology has changed. The new site should provide a nice foundation to share our videos, photos and social media.
What about some of the new features?
There are several, but some of my favorites are:
New players section... Each player has his own page with all of his latest photos and videos, his own Twitter background and Twitter feed, and his own cartoon. We did photo shoots for each guy and use some of those images as well.
DBP Social Media Network... We have a new social media section to make it easy to stay up with the program. When we started, we only had the website. Now we are active on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. Also, fans can contribute their own images in this section, and we post our latest Crazies pictures. Wallpaper downloads are available for mobile, tablets, Facebook and more. Additionally, we have a new Twitter directory where you can find an active list of Duke Basketball past and present on Twitter.
*I always enjoy promoting the Duke Basketball family. We have a detailed "Where are they now" section, our NBA section is much improved and we will continue to interview our former players on our blog and in videos.
*This won't be the first thing you notice but we have some animated GIFs in the Crazies section. I'll list this as a favorite because I enjoyed hunting these down and browsing various options.
*We have a new section for our Blue Print feature, which you may have seen already. I am excited about this as we look to share some of the program's values, traits and motivations behind the scenes.
*The home page will provide a nice framework for us as we look to update the site even more regularly. I think one of the big things that makes our site different from other program sites is that we update and share on a more regular basis. The new home page will allow us to do that on a greater level with our videos, blogs, photos, latest news, tweets and more all presented in organized fashion.
Can you give us the backstory on DBP? Can you walk us through the development from the little magazine to what it's become today?
Quinn Snyder started Blue Planet back in the late 1990s and the office produced a black-and-white newsletter sharing inside info on the program. Coach Wojo was on the cover as a player. I came on as a student and took that over around 2002. It was mainly a recruiting update on Duke Basketball. Over time, I developed my publishing skills and it became more of a full-color magazine.
Around that time, I was also building websites on the side to make some money. I created a sample site for Duke Basketball to show where I thought we could go next. Then, after the 2007 season, Coach K called a meeting. There was so much negative media coverage that season and he suggested we find a way to help share our story with the public and our recruits even more. We obviously can't control what is said and haters will hate, but we could have a louder voice. He thought it would be great if we could take what was in Blue Planet magazine and reach more people and bring it to life. This was of course thrilling for me to hear. Thanks to Coach, I basically had the green light to share the Duke Basketball story.
I've tried to develop my skills so I could do this at the highest level as technology has changed. When I started, I had no idea how to use Photoshop or make videos. Also, social media has helped tremendously and provides ideal platforms to reach fans in a personal, engaging way... which is what we wanted to do before Twitter was real.
What do you see as the major benefit to the players and program?
I think there are two main benefits. The first is that we now have an expansive multimedia hub that allows us to connect with an influential and important audience. We can entertain, promote, and tell stories in a variety of ways, showing a different side of Duke Basketball. The second is that BP provides an avenue for our players to have fun, interact with each other and our fans, and become more media savvy. They enjoy being in videos, having photo shoots, having cool graphics, etc.
In general, Duke invests in our players at a higher level than any other program so they can succeed in a dynamic and extremely challenging environment. I think DBP is a small example of that among many.
Of all the features and videos and the like, what are your favorite moments from your time developing DBP? Is there a top five list?
1. The 2007 meeting where Coach K gave DukeBluePlanet.com the thumbs-up.
2. Kyle Gets Buckets 2/The Chapel Shot
3. Taking Nolan Smith's photo on the court after we won it all in 2010. He asked me to come back out to the court and take it next to a court logo to honor his late father.
4. My dad's photo of Austin's buzzer-beater at UNC. My dad is the official DBP photographer and he got the best shot of Austin's absolute dagger that I've seen.
5. Kyrie challenging Kobe during USA Basketball training.
Honorable mention: Locker room scenes after we win championships of any kind.
What are some things you want to tackle with the new site? Are there things the new features will allow you to explore?
You may have already seen some of our "Blue Print" emails or videos. That's a feature I'd like to continue to expand. We have some fun toys to work with (sunglasses camera, Hero Cam, Glidecam, Photoshop, Final Cut X, etc), and great access to a group of guys who are a delight to support. Our coaches have been more involved with The Blue Print series and I look forward to keeping that rolling, too.
Besides you, Dave Bradley, who has been or is part of the DBP team, and what do they bring?
Well, I work under our coaches and our associate AD Mike Cragg, and they give me a lot of freedom to come up with new ideas for videos, tweets, recruit projects, etc. I mentioned my dad -- he's the photographer along with me.
We've been very fortunate this year to find Raashid Yassin. He's a recent Duke grad with a dangerous mid-range game and outstanding creativity. He has edited a number of the videos you've seen this year. Prior to Raa, we relied on student help and found a gem in Mark Baden. Before Mark graduated last May, he would help edit videos and do various recruiting-related tasks. He still weighs in remotely from Florida while serving in the Navy.
Our video coordinator Kevin Cullen helps us a great deal by coding every game at a very detailed level. For example, I could pull up all of the best Crazies clips aired this year in about two minutes.
A Duke freshman, Rainier Rubin, has done several videos too this year and he's rather talented. It's a labor of love for all of us and we enjoy sharing the program with our supporters.
Finally, how can Duke fans interact with DBP?
The best way is through is Twitter. I try to read every @reply on there. I also browse the message boards of several Duke fan sites on a regular basis. Although I can't post, I do want to wrap up by giving a shout-out to TheDevilsDen.com. There has to be over 100 threads on there by now that have brought a smile to my face. We definitely appreciate the feedback, interactions, @replies, likes, retweets, and shares.