What is the greatest tool ever invented for the sports fan?
Seriously! Where else can you dialogue with media, athletes, agents and fans all in one place? That’s right, Twitter.
If I have a question, I have been able to ask it (and get it answered) by nationally known sports media only on Twitter. Interested in an athlete’s mindset going into a game? Check Twitter. Curious to know the latest in college conference realignment, coaching rumors or recruiting ‘gossip’? You got it….Twitter. It has become my main source for sports news today.
That is not to say that it is perfect because it is not. One person’s tweet can stir up a plethora of theories which turn into “fact” which are shot down as “lies” which are refuted with “sources” and the beat goes on and on and on. It can be dizzying to catch up later to see what you missed. You almost feel like George Jetson saying: JANE STOP THIS CRAZY THING.
Indeed. The wealth of sports information and misinformation on Twitter can be dizzying. But if you do it right, it can make it be an abundance of sports knowledge. And that’s the purpose of this post. Making Twitter work for you, the sports fan.
Twitter is what you make it so whatever way works for you, do it. But within reason! I have to qualify it here because there are some fans that make it hard for the rest of us by tweeting like a jerk. I briefly covered this last week in a post. As with anything we do in life, it’s always good to use some common sense. So with that, here are my “5 Ways to Tweet Like A Champ”.
Tweet unto others as you would have them tweet unto you. A little corny sure but, it’s #1 on my list for a reason. Twitter can be similar to that ‘website comment board’ that I mentioned earlier in that you can be anonymous. If you choose to be anonymous, that does not give you the right to be rude, vindictive, mean-spirited, crude, obnoxious…….get it?Some fans do that which is a shame. If it’s a golden rule in life, then we can adapt it to be a golden rule for Twitter.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Dialogue is so important to the success of Twitter in sports. At first, it can be intimidating, because you don’t want to sound like a complete idiot. I must say that is very easy to do when you only have 140 characters. I’ve done it! When I first started asking media questions, I tried to preface my tweet by saying “Legit ?”. I did that so my tweet didn’t come across as argumentative or combative. It prevented them from getting defensive right away about a “fan” tweet. Every time I did that, I got an answer. And I continue to get answers today.
Be polite. Yes, there’s only 140 characters but there’s nothing wrong with saying “thx” (short for thank you) in a tweet. I try to put that at the end of tweets where I’m asking someone a question. Sometimes, when media are working on a story or an athlete has come off of a loss a day earlier, I’ve seen politeness go a long way toward getting a reply.
Consider the source. Just because a blogger or local media live in a town where breaking news happens, doesn’t mean their tweet is true. I’ve learned this the hard way. I’ve believed things on first tweet or read, if you will, and it wound up being wrong. It’s even happened with national media getting stories wrong so nobody is perfect. What I’ve learned, however, is the more truth to a story, the more media report on it; depending on what they say in their tweet. It’s kind of like “where there’s smoke there’s fire”. It may take time, but you’ll be able to figure out who can be trusted and who can’t.
Athletes, media, agents, etc are people too. Yes, I’m all about the corny statements. But really, they are people just like you and me (i.e. flesh and blood). Saying “just like you and me” does not mean their lives have to be exactly like ours as fans. That’s not my point. Suffice to say, I have come across plenty of athletes, media, agents that are out there “hitting the pavement” if you will, trying to make ends meet while balancing family life. I’ve read their tweets. They are out there and they are just like you and me.
Twitter can be a great connection and resource for the sports fan. I have learned more about what goes on “outside” of sports in the last two years on Twitter than I have in a lifetime of being a fan. Use these 5 ways as a starting point and soon you’ll be connecting, dialoguing and tweeting “Like A Champ” in no time.