Hashtags are a fantastic curation tool. They’re also useful in reinforcing your ideas. Take the above tweet, for instance.
For the first time, South-by-Southwest (#SXSW) has devoted a specific portion to sports.
Hashtag searching within Twitter is a great resource for conferences like SXSW. Many people, like myself, cannot attend, but we still want to know what’s going on. The FOMO (fear of missing out) is somewhat alleviated.
Why? Because people like to tweet their experiences. No matter if it’s a live sporting event they’re attending or something they saw on television, people like sharing what they see, hear, taste, touch, smell on social media. They want you to be part of their experience.
Since I wasn’t able to be there, I wanted to check the SXSW sports hashtag, #SXsports, to find out what’s going on today. The tweet above piqued my interest for one word: “niche”.
Niche has many defintions depending on how used. The one that resonates with me (via Merriam-Webster) is:
a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted her niche>
I’ve been hearing this word frequently on various Google+ Hangouts I listen to or watch. Finding your niche. At times, it’s aggravated me. Yet, it’s also made me think. Why do I keep hearing this word? When the same thought, idea or word (in this case) comes up repeatedly, I know that I have to take notice. But, what does niche have to do with me?
For awhile now, I’ve been re-thinking my entire social media strategy. My core goal has always been to have a voice in the noisy world we call sports. Before social media, I had no voice. Well, I did. Just not one that could actually be heard. Blogging is fine, but without an outlet to get your voice heard, you’re just talking quietly in a forest. Who is listening besides the trees?
Social media, Twitter in particular, has given rise to my voice – a rational, knowledegable voice of a fan. Not fanatic. Fan. It also became a vehicle for a new career – writing about the social media side of sports. Other platforms like Facebook and Instagram have risen in the sports conversation, but they can’t compare to Twitter’s live-experience.
I’ve said this for years – Twitter is the world’s largest sports bar. When you go to a sports bar, you hangout with your friends to watch the game, talk with fellow fans (trash-talking included), drink, eat and just have a good time around sports. Twitter is the same way, except you do it from your couch and the fans are from around the world. Add in the most neglected and underrated asset of Twitter, sports journalists, and you have the world’s largest sports bar.
It used to be easy to follow everything going on in sports with Twitter. Sports journalists were early adopters before most teams, schools and marketers got on board. Thus, the exchange of content, updates, news were much easier to digest. And, write about.
The phrase “add value” is often tossed around on social media. Add value with your tweets. Is there something of meaning in what you say on Twitter? Value is debatable (just think of “most valuable player” awards). Value is in the eye of the tweeter.
That said, I want that to translate that to my blog. I want what I do on my blog to “add value” to someone. Because there are so many blogs out there covering Twitter (social media) and sports, it’s become noise to me. So, I’ve stepped back on posting content here. My focus is changing.
When people say “social media” in sports, they mean Twitter. I don’t want to be confined to one platform. That’s why it’s important to me to branch out on Google+. The Google+ Hangouts feature is providing another dimension to my voice. I can speak and ask questions of others in real-time through video. Video calls (non-recorded Hangouts) also enable me to interview people face-to-face without having to travel somewhere to talk with them.
The biggest thing Google+ is doing is taking me outside of my comfort zone. As a woman in this business, it’s not easy to put yourself out there on video. I’m not young. I’m not blonde. I’m not white. Three strikes when you look at most women on sports television. But, I’m not one to take the three strikes lying down. I’m putting myself out there with live shows on Google+. That’s waaaaay outside of my comfort zone.
That’s where my focus is now. I’m focusing most of my efforts on Google+. I pride myself on being ahead of the curve. The potential of the plus is too intriguing to pass up. I’ll still keep writing here. But, I don’t want it to add to the noise. I want what I say here on this blog to be of value to someone reading it.
Like this tweet below says, I’ll keep trying things and become all that I dreamed I could be.
FINAL THOUGHT: Have you found your niche in the noise? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter, @CadChica
*** Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link. ***
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