Past The Press Box

Seattle Times: Twitter a 'big player' in Major League Baseball

Over the weekend, The Seattle Times ran a story on Twitter's rising prominence in Major League Baseball and how noticeable it was at the winter meetings. Now, I realize it's every couple days that a major media outlet runs a story on Twitter's rising popularity but every now and then they contain an interesting nugget of information like this:

GMs have long been known to exploit the rumor mill, attempting to make people believe there is plenty of trade interest in a certain player when there might not be any. It's the same with player agents who will whisper about interest in their clients by a specific team before they even contact that club's general manager.

The difference is that, in the past, it might have taken weeks for rumors to circulate by word-of-mouth about a certain player or team. Now, a whisper from one team executive or player agent can be distributed across the country in a matter of seconds via Twitter.

"If I came to these meetings and had a client nobody cared about, of course I'd use this stuff to get his name out there," said one agent, who wanted to be anonymous. "One minute, there's zero market for his services and then, five minutes later, the perception is that you've got five teams banging down your door."

Last week I wrote about Twitter's ability to spread rumors and create more smoke than actual fire, it makes sense that someone would use this effect to their advantage.

And as I wrote before, it's key that journalists adapt and identify what is simply rumor and what has the potential to be fact. Journalists can't run with a rumor based on a few Tweets, one has to consider the source of the information—not Twitter itself, but the individual accounts the information is coming from. Much the same as any other source, one has to consider whether the source chooses to remain anonymous, appears to be someone in the know and has provided credible information in the past.

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The American Sportswriter_