Twitter may soon push tweets from sporting events to teams' fans

Integrating location-based discovery is the most under-utilized tool in social technology. Listening in on social conversations taking place across the globe, sorted by location and events feels revolutionary—a "Thomas Edison-like opportunity," one investor said about its potential with Instagram. It does come with some concerns, as the ability to do so does feel a little like the thing Batman created and then made Morgan Freeman destroy at the end of The Dark Knight, as I wrote back then in the Instagram piece.

Well, we will likely soon see how the public feels about it as Twitter is testing out a new local discovery feature. Here are the details, from All Things Digital

According to multiple sources, Twitter is in the process of testing a new feature that lets you discover tweets from people within a certain distance of your location. The idea is to surface relevant activity based on where you are in the world, serving up tweets from others around you — whether you follow them or not.

The feature, as I understand it, came out of the company’s recent hack week at the beginning of this month, where a few engineers worked on projects related to local discovery. A number of employees have been testing the feature in the Twitter app ever since.

The type of tweets you’d see, ideally, are the most relevant ones nearby, especially when they follow a trend or a flurry of closely connected activity. So a football game or a concert, for instance, may be a great use case here.

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Listen, engage influencers, build relationships: Mariners' invitation to Russell Wilson hits three biggest social media best practices

I talk about the Mariners too much. I know this, my friends know this and everyone who follows me on Twitter definitely know this. So when I do it again right now in speaking to something smart their digital team did, I want to note that I do so as a lesson to other teams, to anyone working in or with social media—not to, again, find every reason I can to talk about the Mariners.

So what did they do, exactly? Well, they treated Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to a ballgame when he went on Twitter to ask his followers what he should do with his Sunday. MLB's Cut 4 blog has the full story of what went down, with the actual tweets and even an accompanying Vine.

I'm sure these types of ideas come naturally, and this was likely spur-of-the-moment brilliance from Mariners Digital Marketing Manager Nathan Rauschenberg, but to break down the anatomy of actions like this, here are a few reasons why it's effective:

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NCAA figures out what everyone else knows: Twitter improves television viewership

I don't know why it took them this long.

Yes, Twitter can drive higher television ratings and increased fan engagement. For this reason, the NCAA has rescinded its previously-instated limits on how many times members of the press can tweet during a live sporting event.

Though there are other reasons for the change—including enforceability—the biggest one is its impact on broadcast viewership. See, the restrictions were put in place so those tweeting updates wouldn't be infringing on broadcasters' exclusive rights to reproduce depictions of the game. Well, the broadcasters wised up and realized they didn't at all. Taylor Soper of GeekWire has the story

 "The NCAA (agreed) that broadcast rights holders would actually love to have people Tweeting about the game,” [Associated Press Sports Editors President Bruce Ahern] said. “That’s not going to get people to turn the TV off. That’s going to get people to watch the game and actually turn the TV on. [Tweeting] is a good thing for the broadcast partner."

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Vine gets video sharing right--and it's perfect for sports

For nearly as long as users have been able to share photos on Twitter, there have been companies and products trying to push them to share video as well. In the early days there was Twitvid (which became Telly) and Yfrog, then the Shaq-backed Tout and even YouTube has recently attempted to get in the social sharing game with Capture. But none have replicated the early success of Vine.

With Vine, it's all in the nuances. As much as I want to credit Twitter (which acquired Vine before it even launched) for creating new user behaviors, the service is essentially an Instagram clone operating with a different medium. Instead of filtered or over-saturated photos, it's looping six-second video clips—somewhere between an animated GIF and the portraits in Harry Potter.

Vine's success lies in that format. Six seconds isn't enough time to say anything of substance and, if it were, do you really want it looping back over and over again? Plus, on the web, audio is disabled by default. Another nuance: Vine users can create compilations, but they must do so in one take. You create a post in Vine by holding the screen to record. You can use just a part of the allotted six seconds and add to it later, but you cannot go back and edit.

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Kobe's @nikebasketball Twitter takeover: A great model for teams to follow

I have long held the belief that companies are best-served in their social media use by having as many individuals in the organization effectively using Twitter and other outlets as possible—as opposed to focusing only on building a strong following through company-branded accounts.

Sports teams can be as engaging as they want, putting together as many contests they wish and even giving fans a great behind-the-scenes look at athletes when they're around, but it won't resonate nearly as much as multiple members of the team independently messing around on their smartphones, giving fans a window into their day-to-day lives and illuminating narratives that are eventually underscored during their on-field or on-court performances.

So it makes sense then that, because Kobe is an integral part of Nike Basketball, the team there wanted to ensure—and be a part of—Kobe Bryant's success in connecting with hoops fans on Twitter. But if we're looking to glean a bit of guidance from this, it's worth noting that the motives and the relationship here is similar to what we see between teams and athletes.

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Arizona AD Greg Byrne's Twitter announcement another sign of new reality in sports information

My favorite part of using social media as a means to track sports news is easily the ability to connect with and follow sportswriters. While the early scoops and insider commentary are excellent, I almost enjoy tracking the the life of a sportswriter just as much. Now, I'm not talking about their personal lives, just how they react to certain pieces of news.

As I segue into what the title of this post is actually referring to, I couldn't help but smirk when I caught the reacton a Seattle-area sportswriter had to news that University of Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian had named his starting quarterback for the Oregon State game via Twitter.

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Execs and athletes should use Twitter to display unique expertise during broadcasts

Everyone who uses Twitter on a regular basis knows there are times when the service is at its peak, and times when it's not-so-great. In the middle of the afternoon, when you're just trying to bust out that proposal, it can be excess noise—entertaining and insightful noise—but still noise. However, during events, Twitter shows everyone why it's so amazing. I'm, of course, not speaking only to the natural disasters, Osama getting caught and whatnot, but just live sports broadcasts. It is then, when everyone is tuning into one single thing, that it turns into a true conversation and you can really determine an individual's insightfulness.

The other night, because of a tweet by SPORTSbyBROOKS, I came across arguably the best Twitter account to follow during the World Series. That'd be the man pictured above, Texas Rangers Senior Executive Vice President and former MLB catcher Jim Sundberg.

Sundberg usually keeps his tweets pretty concise, but during the Game 5 he demonstrated his unique expertise—as a former big league catcher Rangers exec—as much as anyone possibly could.

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Twitter at the ballpark--curation and geolocation could be key for teams

For me, getting scorched in the dome with a foul ball borders on being inevitable. See, when I go to Mariners games I usually sit about 20 rows up from third base and spend an inordinate amount of time on my phone because, in-between batters and innings, I am constantly checking my Twitter list of Mariners writers and bloggers.

Now, I'll be the first to acknowledge that if Ray Kinsella were sitting to my left, and Terrence Mann to my right, they would not approve. But in today's age, how different is this than keeping score? I'll admit it isn't as traditional or romanticized, but it keeps me engaged in the game and gives appropriate context to eveything that's going on. Whenever I tell someone about this practice, someone who also utilizes Twitter a bit, they give it a shot and usually enjoy it. It's such a great addition to the game, like those people who listen to the AM radio, but it's better. It makes the games more enjoyable and it makes me a better fan. The obvious question then is, how can marketers spur this kind of behavior?

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How to know if the "social media expert" who started following you on Twitter is full of it

Imagine for a moment you've just arrived at one of those goofy social media networking functions. It's probably around 6:00pm and you're a bit confused as you enter the lobby of a suave downtown hotel but you'd prefer not to ask the younger girl working at reception to point you in the direction of the auxiliary conference room holding all the nerds. So instead you follow a guy in thick frames, sports coat and t-shirt to the right spot, where you write your name and Twitter handle on a sticker before dropping your business card in a fishbowl for the off-chance to win an iPad. Onward.

The free food and open bar are what pulled you in but, while there, you figure you might as well see if there's any other people interested in sports marketing. So what do you do?

You start yelling as loud as you can, of course.
HEY. DOES ANYONE HERE LIKE SPORTS STUFF? WHO WOULD LIKE TO LISTEN TO THINGS I HAVE TO SAY? WOULD EVERYONE WHO LIKES THE THINGS I LIKE PLEASE LISTEN TO THE THINGS I AM SAYING? IN SPEAKING TO ALL OF YOU I WILL MAKE LOOSE AND SCATTERED EYE CONTACT SO YOU BELIEVE I AM LISTENING TO WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. You randomly start pointing at individuals. YOU, I WANT YOU TO LISTEN. HEY. LISTEN. I LIKE THE SPORTS AND YOU LIKE THE SPORTS. I CAN TALK ABOUT IT.

Oh, hold up? You wouldn't act like that? You say no one would set out to network and connect with individuals by randomly shouting at various people loosely interested in the things you are without any personal knowledge of who they are or what they do? You think spitting information at people you don't know while not paying any attention to what they're saying is a bad idea?

Then why do so many idiots take that approach on Twitter? Because that's exactly what using "follower management" software is like.

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Cutler criticism, Packer photo incident show social media's hand in generating stories

I clearly remember the day Jay Cutler was traded from the Broncos to the Bears. I was actually in Chicago at the time and, as a Packer fan, the whole scene made me quite nervous. The next day, a friend and fellow fan of an NFC North team told me we'd despise having him in the division for the next decade and a good chunk of our adult lives. He was right.

On the day after my Packers advanced to their first Super Bowl since I was rocking a Starter jacket, Cutler dominated the national conversation—not for his play, but for his pension for criticism and disapproval. As everyone is well aware, Cutler took a good deal of heat from his peers on Twitter for not finishing the NFC Championship.

Then, later in the week, Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley and inside linebacker Nick Barnett generated a national story when they voiced their frustration with not being allowed in the team's Super Bowl photo, due to the fact that they were placed on injured reserve earlier in the season. The issue was eventually resolved, but not before causing a stir.

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Why denying a controversial tweet can damage an athlete's online brand and marketability

What's sometimes lost in the Q&A's, broadcasts, Facebook contests and blog posts of modern online sports marketing is the most fundamental part of social media: relationships.

The practice of blogging, one of the main ingredients in the modern hype around social media, started with those awful online diaries and LiveJournals—created so individuals could share their experiences online and connect with others. Social networks rose in popularity so people could tangibly define their web of interpersonal relationships.

Where am I going with this? If athletes really want to use social media in the best way possible, they should use it as it was originally intended: to foster relationships. They need to be open, honest and real in showing who they are. When athletes go back on the supposedly controversial things they say, it damages the relationship they have with fans, moreso than whatever they originally said.

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Fake Twitter account Ken Rosenthai gets scoop on Cliff Lee to Phillies

As we've seen with many incidents in the past, it doesn't take a lot to in today's age to get a rumor rolling. A little more than a year ago, social media fueled a completely false Bret Bielema to Notre Dame story, only after Twitter exploded at every mention of Bob Stoops. This year, it's baseball's turn to completely lose its mind because of Twitter.

Now, one would think we'd all become a bit more sophisticated, capable of detecting what's real or what's fake. We, at the very least, should know better—we shouldn't get carried away because a single sourceless entity says something is so. Well, that's not the case. Now we're getting thrown off by single letters. 

Most in-tune baseball fans know that Ken Rosenthal is a legitmate reporter. He writes for FoxSports.com and, usually, is somewone we can trust. As a result, when we see something like that image above, or the same text come across on Tweetdeck or some other program, we'll trust it.

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Cubs vs Red Sox -- The greatest World Series there never was, broadcast on Twitter

I've been fortunate enough in my life that I haven't experienced a great deal of tragedy. For that, I'm both lucky and thankful. With that acknowledgement made—I want everyone to understand I'm fully aware how ridiculous this is—the day the Chicago Cubs were defeated by the Florida Marlins in Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS remains one of the saddest of my life. I was in disbelief. After game 5, and a 3-1 series lead, an NL pennant seemed inevitable. Honestly, I just about completely broke down. I couldn't deal.

With that said, my history made what I stumbled across late last night all that much better. This may have been the single greatest thing I've ever seen on Twitter.

Grey, of blog Tiger Transactions (or Twitter user spacemnkymafia) has decided to recreate and call the 2003 World Series as if the Cubs and Red Sox and pulled out their respective Game 7s. To recreate the games, he uses Baseball Mogul 2010, with statistics properly adjusted to reflect how everyone was playing at the time.

 

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For Tiger Woods, mediocre social media use works

As a fan of the 2010 Seattle Mariners, I became very familiar with the phrase "regression to the mean." In the realm of sports, regressing to the mean normally implies that an athlete performing far above their head will fall back to earth and start performing more on-par with their career averages. With the Mariners, it was the opposite. If the likes of Chone Figgins, Casey Kotchman and Milton Bradley started moving towards simply being average, that would be a good thing.

Now, with Tiger, coming back to the field would normally be bad. But in terms of public perception, Tiger Woods is as low as any athlete. Like the pitiful 2010 Mariners (I am the only person in the history of the world to make a Tiger Woods/2010 Mariners comparison), regressing to the mean would be a great.

What does Tiger need to do in order to regress to the mean of public perception? He simply needs to start acting a normal athlete would.That started yesterday as he used his Twitter account to interact with fans the same way every other athlete does: a simple Q&A.

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With Stevie Johnson, Twitter displays power to convey pure emotion

If you're like me, you have at least one Facebook friend who's about to break up with their significant other, is in the process of doing so, or reeling from a recent breakup. You know this because they post about it constantly—could be awful Snow Patrol lyrics or passive aggressive quips better sent to the person they're meant for than hundreds of friends acquaintances who could probably care less. In today's age, when some individuals need someone to talk to, but can't figure out who, they turn to everyone instead. Shouting into a crowd of people who will hear, but not listen, is better than not telling anyone at all.

Such is the case for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who turned to Twitter after dropping a would-be game-winning touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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What role will teams' level of social media acceptance play in recruiting college athletes?

Following a borderline embarassing defeat at the hands of The Ohio State University, Miami Hurricane football players were banned from using Twitter by head coach Randy Shannon. The coach said it was a team decision aimed at reducing distracions.

Twitter use obviously wasn't the reason for the loss. Generally, things don't become a distraction unless you let them. With Twitter, you can reduce use all the way down to just a few short texts per day. However, without restraint many things can become distractions: alcohol, girls, deep-pocketed boosters. You get the idea.

Let's abandon the question of whether or not it's truly a distraction for this post. Many college students enjoy using social media and, more importantly, it stands as one of only a few ways for amateur athletes to build their personal brand. So, it's worth asking, will teams with harsh social media restrictions risk appearing less-appealing to athletes looking to market themselves during their time in school?

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Why professional athletes should own their social media identity: it's about relationships

Last night, a colleague of mine successfully dragged me to a social media meet-up on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Generally, I hate these things. It's awkward; there's the people who already know each other, random loners being led around by their smart phones and, if you're lucky or buzzed enough, you may even get the opportunity to passive aggressively question the validity of someone's job. It's a hoot. And every single time I go to one of these I get into the same argument.

It, of course, starts with me describing my job. Aside from publishing this blog, I work for LexBlog. LexBlog designs, develops and builds blogs for lawyers and law firms while also educating them on how to use these blogs and other social media to build relationships geared towards client development. The next question from the galley is, inevitably, "so you guys, like, write their content and manage their Twitter account for them?" I respond with "no, because that wouldn't make any sense" and off we go.

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While low, LeBron sets social media standard for transcendent athletes

If this entire LeBron free agent extravaganza has shown us anything, it's that he owns us all. As annoyed as almost all sports fans, writers and casual observers have become, he still holds the collective attention spans of each group. He's bigger than any other American athlete and it isn't even close. Now he's on Twitter.

Of course, it isn't a big step for him. Chris Paul buddied up with LBJ, told him Twitter was neat and something fun to mess around on so his camp either acquired the KingJames name or put it to use after acquiring it some time ago. So here we are, three tweets and a few hundred thousand followers later.

A new precedent is set.

LeBron James is coming into the prime of his career and these few days will play a large role in deciding how that will go. LeBron has decided to make social media—if not a large part of it— at least a worthy venture.

So why is this a big deal?

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Oscars, live events, illustrate why sports broadcasts have most to gain from social media

Once again, the conversation on Twitter is dominated by a single item. Even if it isn't even completely true, social media and Twitter in particular can make one feel like everyone else is doing the same thing they are. But isn't that the point of social media, to find, network and converse with people who share similar interests? That is never more obvious than with an instance like The Oscars. Or, well, the Super Bowl.

In a story I've been meaning to highlight for sometime, and couldn't agree with more, The New York Times points out that it appears as though social media has created a virtual live 'water cooler' for major televised events and have a major impact on television ratings.

The Nielsen Company, which measures television viewership and Web traffic, noticed this month that one in seven people who were watching the Super Bowl and the Olympics opening ceremony were surfing the Web at the same time.

“The Internet is our friend, not our enemy,” said Leslie Moonves, chief executive of the CBS Corporation, which broadcast both the Super Bowl and the Grammy Awards this year. “People want to be attached to each other.”

This is something I've been trying to harp on for some time, going back to the NBA's rise in ratings. Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that my timeline is dominated by snarky sports bloggers and sarcastic beat writers. A look-in:

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The 'Twitter Olympics'? Not with taped delay.

Last week brought some terrible, terrible news—news that the Olympics on NBC has received phenomenal ratings, even beating out American Idol. Prior to that, American Idol hadn't been beaten in six years. That's on you America. Back to the point, NBC will likely continue its policy of not airing major events live, instead broadcasting them at two different times to the American public. Maybe you haven't noticed, but fans—while watching—haven't reacted all that well. So, does NBC care as long as people are watching? Of course not. But let's look at one area where this could be hurting: social media.

Prior to the Games, Bob Condron, the Director of Media Services for the United States Olympic Committee, proclaimed that these would be the 'Twitter Olympics' due to loose restrictions on athletes' use of social media.

For those who you who use Twitter to follow and, more importantly, discuss sports, does it seem as though the use of Twitter has been all that prominent surrounding these Olympics? Certainly not.

In one of my first posts on this blog, I wrote about how the NBA's rise in popularity and it's potential link to the growing prominence of social media was less about its use by athletes and more about the high level of conversation taking place amongst fans. This is the same thing.

For a sporting event to reach its full potential in the world of social media, there has to be a great amount of discussion amongs fans. The Olympics simply don't have that. Olympic news currently comes in three different waves: when it actually happens, the East Coast broadcast, and finally the West Coast broadcast. It is absolutely impossible to have a good conversation when everyone has is at a different wave. Some people may have just heard the results, some people may have heard the results and seen it, then there are others who have no news. Breaking up an event like this greatly reduces the amount of conversation.

For someone who follows along on Twitter with every sporting event possible, I refuse to do so with the Olympics. During the day, I try to avoid the results and then once I have it on in the background at night, during the West Coast airing, no one is talking about it. So yes, I continue to watch, while being sorely disappointed. The other day NBC aired an extended piece on the 1980 Olympic hockey team instead of showing the live USA-Canada. I don't care if the ratings are somehow higher. This lunacy has to stop.

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Olympic social media & blogging policy is hard to understand

As is the case with these huge global events—Olympics, World Cup, etc—the media polices in place are extremely strict and breaking them usually results in dismemberment. So, watch out bloggers. The IOC released its Blogging Guidelines for the 2010 Games (PDF) and they are bit cumbersome, especially confusing to the athletes planning on sharing an inside take with their fans.

Unlike professional sports leagues where there are bans on when athletes can use social media sites, athletes are free to blog at their own discretion, as long as they don't break any rules. One of those: don't act like a journalist.

There are some restrictions on what athletes can do online during the Olympics. According to the IOC Blogging Guidelines for the 2010 Games, athletes and other accredited people must keep their posts confined to their personal experiences. “You can’t act as a journalist if you aren’t,” says [Director of Media Services for the United States Olympic Committee] Bob Condron. “You need to do things in a first person way.”

Rule 49 of the Olympic Charter says that “Only those persons accredited as media may act as journalists, reporters or in any other media capacity.”

Umm, what? In this day and age, what constitutes being a journalist? What if you inject any journalistic post with a first-person voice? Such as "I just spent some time kickin it with Bode Miller and he said he did not close the bar last night, only stayed out until 12:45 and feels relatively good to go today." Does that count as journalism or does it fall under the 'diary' format the IOC is looking for from non-accredited athletes and bloggers?

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College coaches using Twitter to announce signed recruits


It's an ingenious idea, updating fans as soon as the Letters of Intent are faxed in. In what I've seen, Washington's Steve Sarkisian has been one of the best at it, with reporters just relaying what he's been putting out on Twitter. On top of that, UW had a live chat/blog going throughout the day. Very impressive stuff. The University of Washington is doing a lot of things that other schools would benefit from taking note of.

Of course, the University of Spoiled Children took it to another level, with Lane Kiffin doing what Kiffykins does:

Well congrats to UT for hanging on to a couple of our recruits. But we got the important ones

Now, I was planning on posting an image of said tweet, but it appears as though Lane Kiffin got in a bit of trouble, the Twitter account in question no longer exists. Obviously, there's something to be learned here as well.

UPDATE: Sounds like the Kiffin account was fake. Still, it would not have been the least bit surpising.

NFL's Super Bowl site a perfect example of social media for the sake of social media

 

The NFL's new Super Bowl site features a page that allows users to see relevant and realtime content from Twitter and Flickr; there's Tweets from smalltime users as well as prominent media outlets. Sounds pretty neat. The problem is, it's one of those sites you look at once, say to yourself "well, that was interesting" and go right back to doing work or Facebook stalking with no plans to return. Such is the problem with social media, some companies and individuals get into it for the sake of appearing hip or technologically savvy without adding any real value.

The idea itself is certainly a good one, and this may even be a decent format for displaying images, but they could've done something much better with Twitter. Why not have separate streams and directories for select writers, bloggers, players and fans along with a chronological timeline for all posts with their #sb44 hashtag? At least that layout makes sense, as opposed to sliding over a virtual mural.

So, well done NFL, you look really cool and hip to those who don't use Twitter on a regular basis. To the influencers who do, the site isn't anything more than something shiny to look at for a minute or two.

Twitter: where taking cheap shots at athletes happens

Ever go to a live sporting event, yell at someone on the opposing team, have them turn back and look at you then have no idea what to do next? Yeah, this was a little bit like that. It's a weird world where 'criticizing' a well-known athlete and having them see it no longer takes a column in the local newspaper or a show on TV. Thomas was a good sport about it, I think. He's lashed out a bit on Twitter about writers in the past but took this in stride and with a sense of humor. Best of luck to him and the Huskies.

Twitter kills 'Suggested Users' list, now has A-list sports section

Twitter has finally ridded itself of the oft-critiziced 'Suggested Users' list, instead going a bit more user-friendly route and breaking A-list Twitter users up into categories. One of those categories: sports.

The new way of doing things is certainly significantly better than what it used to be, where some suggested users would be RSS feeds in Twitter form, but for it to be useful to everyone it still has a little ways to go.

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Seesmic Look has major potential for sports fans

I've always advocated the use of Twitter for commentary during a sporting event. I'm sure there are others who don't agree but I think beat writers and bloggers provide a deeper and more entertaining level of analysis than the jocks/talking heads who use volume, not reason, to make a stronger point. But Twitter is still foreign to most people and even those who are on it may not use it with a great amount of depth.

The more you put into Twitter by creating groups and running searches on teams, games and players, the more you get out of it. Well, some people don't want to put that much effort into it. Seesmic Look enters stage right.

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Citizen journalism on display after Kiffin firing. Class? Not so much

We've seen citizen journalism succeeding and providing unprecedented coverage in chaotic situations before, be it the Iranian hostage crisis or the 2008 earthquake in China. When looking at these incidents, and the most recent tragedy in Haiti, our problems seem a bit smaller in comparison. Yeah, some people tend to overreact.

The reaction coming out of the University of Tennessee after Lane Kiffin split for USC was just a bit ridiculous. It was chaos, and Tennessee basketball player Renaldo Woolridge was one of the citizen journalists covering it.

One excerpt:

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Gilbert Arenas takes PR into his own hands on Twitter

At first, Gilbert Arenas didn't get it. He didn't understand Twitter at all. He refused to use the service until he had 1,000,000 followers. Then, all hell broke lose as he was accused of pulling a gun on a teammate in the locker room over a gambling debt. Getting out in front of that from a public relations standpoint is a virtual impossibility. That hasn't stopped Gilbert Arenas from trying.

As Will Leitch points out, Arenas is changing how athletes deal with crisis and how we view Twitter:

In the past, if a player were accused of pulling a gun on a teammate in the locker room, he would deny the story and then issue "no comments" the rest of the way. Today? They take to the Twitter. Newly minted twitterer Gilbert Arenas exploded this weekend, blasting Peter Vecsey and Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, telling bad racial jokes and, at one crazy moment, listing all the directors of failed 1995 cinema experiment Four Rooms.

Arenas is flying the face of traditional public relations. He isn't he eliminating any and all exposure (Tiger) or going with the usual denial/no comment (almost everyone implicated in a steroids scandal). He's going for more exposure, more controversy. Now, is this a horrible idea that should never be a attempted or a new school of thought that's worth considering?

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The NBA's policy on social media is pointless

It was announced today that Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings will be fined $7,500 by the NBA for violating the league's social media policy. Jennings updated his Twitter feed immediately following a win over the Portland Trailblazers. The NBA's policy states that players, their representatives, and team personnel are banned from social media activity during games as well as 45 minutes before and after.

Here's the tweet that got Brandon in trouble:

Really. That's it. Jennings was excited his young team was off to a great start and wanted to publicly congratulate them. From a fan's perspective, it's very cool to see. We get the vibe of the locker room and hear in his own words how thrilled he is. How does the NBA react to this positive PR? They fine him half a Honda Civic.

This is ridiculous. An NBA policy on social media, and Twitter especially, is unnecessary. As most know, updating Twitter isn't complicated. It's sending a text. I assume most coaches and teams have policies in place on when athletes are allowed to use their phone. Limiting players from using social media has zero impact on their play, attitude, anything. They're already texting. Unless the NBA is doing this purely for selfish reasons—which would be wrong in the first place—then there's no reason at all.

NBA: Let the players Tweet, you're only hurting yourself by not doing so.

Coverage of Chris Henry tragedy highlights need for responsibility in online journalism

I am not an old school journalist. I'm not one who believes blogs and Twitter should never be trusted. Blogs and Twitter aren't people, one cannot cast everyone using the medium under one light. It'd similar to saying "the phone should never be trusted" or "anyone who emails you isn't a credible source." That's absurd. Online sources pulled from Twitter and blogs should be treated the same as any other source, with a bit of skepticism.

While it's been debated for some time, this issue was framed in my mind by the coverage of the Notre Dame hiring process and further highlighted last night by the premature reports of Chris Henry's death.

Going back, Twitter and blogs should be treated the same as any other source. For some reason, people have skipped the process of evaluating potential sources. Things to consider:

  • Do I know this person?
  • Are they hiding behind anonymity?
  • Have they provided trustworthy information in the past?
  • Are they a firsthand source or is the information being relayed through someone else?

With many online media outlets, questions like these have been ignored and any accountability is passed from the journalist to the source.

For example, last night a fake Twitter account claiming to be someone from the Dallas Morning News prematurely announced the passing of Chris Henry, despite the fact that he was still on life support. Michael Rand of the Star Tribune has a great post on how this played out via Twitter and he does highlight the point I'm trying to make, this has less to do with the viral nature of Twitter and more to do with online news outlets taking some users' word as gospel.

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Twitter 'Contributors' could be valuable tool for newspapers, sportswriters, sports blogs

Twitter is really starting to press with the new features and services. Some seem cool (Lists) while others can be frustrating (the new re-tweet function), but it's interesting nonetheless to watch them attempt to expand their offering. Twitter is focusing especially hard on appealing to businesses and their new 'Contributors' feature is aimed directly at them. A bit of background on the service, which could be great tool for sportswriters and sports bloggers, from the Twitter Blog:

The feature we are beta testing is called 'Contributors' – it enables users to engage in more authentic conversations with businesses by allowing those organizations to manage multiple contributors to their account. The feature appends the contributor's username to the tweet byline, making the business to consumer communication more personal; e.g. if @Twitter invites @Biz to tweet on its behalf, then a tweet from @Twitter would include @Biz in the byline so that users know more about the real people behind organizations.

The service could answer a lot of questions for users, such as "Should my Twitter name be my blog/business?", "Should I have a personal account and blog account?" and "Who should I have readers follow, myself or my blog?"

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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."

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Is live blogging sporting events dying?

Almost every sports blog has, at some point or another, ran a live blog on a particular game or event. This process of rapidly updating one blog post with short insight and commentary on a game was extremely popular a few years ago and almost expected of any blog covering a particular team.

As Shel Israel of Global Neighborhoods notes in his blog bost, In loving memory of live blogging, the practice was very popular in the coverage of technology conferences but has since faded with the advent of Twitter.

Then along came Twitter. Obviously, I considered this also important and revolutionary. I still do. But it has occurred to me that this, faster, easier, shorter way of reporting through "live tweets" has replaced the longer, deeper, more thoughtful social media form,at of live blogging. It has done so in a very short period of time and my sense is something is being lost.

Tweets by their nature are terse. An audience members usually says who is speaking & maybe the topic. A rave review is the that she or he "rocks." But the coverage of what is actually being said is reduced. So are the questions and comments coming from outside the room.

This is happening in the world of sports as well. But with sports, Twitter isn't the only thing tool being used as an alternative to true live blogging. A service called CoverItLive is used on several popular blogs. ESPN has also jumped in the live blogging game with their Section 140 and Virtual Pressbox, which operates very similarly to to the CoverItLive. While both are better than traditional live blogging, and each have their advantages, they aren't what I would use to cover a game.

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Brian Kelly first acknowledges being ND coach on Twitter

Notre Dame sent out a press release, notified the alumni and made the announcement on their website but no word yet from Brian Kelly until the presser tomorrow. Well, except for on Twitter. No status updates, but the language and design have changed. New bio:

Thrilled to be the coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Committed to stirring People with PASSION and PURPOSE.

Imagine someone telling you five years ago that a head football coach would acknowledge being hired at Notre Dame via a social network. Ridiculous. But five days ago? You'd almost expect it. It'll be interesting to see how Brian Kelly utilizes social media at Notre Dame. With this past week as an indication, he'll certainly be seeing a significant bump in his followers.

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Notre Dame coaching search + social media = cyclical chaos

Since Charlie Weis was let go and made more money in getting fired than I will ever make doing work, I've been following Notre Dame's coaching search with a furor. With the tools available today, this isn't that difficult. A colossal time-suck? Definitely. But all that laborious? Certainly not.

I can say that I've seen almost every rumor. How? As simple—and regrettable—as creating a search column on Tweetdeck. This one line, "'Notre Dame' OR 'Brian Kelly' OR Stoops" has thrown me all over the web and given me a little bit of insight on how the general populous tracks a news story, how it moves from outlet to outlet and most importantly, who to trust.

Notre Dame blog The Blue-Gray Sky has a phenomenal look—nay, social experiment—on how rumors started on the web can get out of hand very, very quickly. Paraphrasing their great blog post, here's how things went down:

  • Anonymous person emails supposedly credible site Footballscoop.com claiming "I used to work in the athletic department at Notre Dame (a lie), and I have heard that Jack Swarbrick is interested in Bret Bielema, the head coach at the University of Wisconsin. This was at 6:56pm last evening."
  • The site doesn't ask any follow-up questions and runs the rumor almost verbatim the following day.
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Is the NBA's jump in ratings caused by Twitter?

The NBA opened its schedule on TNT to its highest rated opening night in the last 26 years; the question now is why? Is it because of the NBA’s presence on Twitter and in other social media—unmatched by any other professional sports league—has brought in completely new fans? Close, but not exactly right.

While its been swirling in the consciences of many, I first saw this question asked by Nate Jones of Goodwin Sports. The specific question asked to his Twitter followers: “ do you guys think that the increased interaction on social media by NBA is helping with ratings?” From there, the responses varied, but one that jumped out at me was Chriss Littmann’s: “Unlikely. People who took the time to find NBA players/teams on social media were probably already fans.” Littman does work on blogs and other social media for sportingnews.com.

It would’ve been fun to embrace the notion that more people are watching the NBA simply because Shaq, Dwight Howard and others are keeping everyone up-to-date with their daily actions and occasionally interacting with their fans. While Jones does point out that Howard has received several comments indicating that there are those who wouldn’t be fans of his or basketball if it weren’t for his presence on Twitter. However, it isn’t reasonable to assume these people are going to sit down and watch a full basketball game or even enjoy what the league has to offer for an extended period of time.

In a post on his blog, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban comes close to hitting it exactly.

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