Seismic Shift in the Sports-Social Media World

WRITER’S NOTE: This article originally appeared on the now-defunct Yahoo! Voices network on May 23, 2012. The article is no longer available on Yahoo’s network. Reprinted here as the author of original work.

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Seismic Shift in the Sports-Social Media World

A tremor in the sports-social media world took place this week.

Did you feel it?

Most didn’t realize it when it happened. But, the early rumblings of a seismic shift in the Twitter/Sports relationship occurred, unsurprisingly, in the world of NASCAR.

On Friday, Twitter and NASCAR representatives announced a “business” partnership that is the first of its kind between Twitter and a sports league. The early details of this partnership, scheduled to begin next month at the Pocono race on June 10, entails a promoted NASCAR hashtag (#NASCAR) as well as a NASCAR specific page to take the fan-sport interaction to another level.

Currently, Twitter has promoted tweets that occur on users timelines. According to Twitter: “Promoted Tweets are ordinary Tweets purchased by advertisers who want to reach a wider group of users or to spark engagement from their existing followers. To what extent the “promoted tweets” have been successful or not depends on who you ask. But according to this May 2011 article, Twitter expected ad spending to triple from 2010 to 2011.

So how does this affect Twitter’s new relationship with NASCAR? Can you say: #WINNING?

NASCAR has long been known for being a “fan’s” sport. History shows large attendance numbers at races as well as the driver interaction with fans proved to be beneficial to NASCAR’s growth. Despite the economy cutting into those numbers, NASCAR has been able to evolve and adapt, using social media to do it.

Because their drivers were already accessible to the public, the use of Twitter by NASCAR and their drivers was a natural extension. Highlighting this was Brad Keselowski, earlier this year. During the Daytona 500, there was a fiery crash that Keselowski had opportunity to snap a picture of as it happened in front of him. Using his phone, he tweeted the picture to the world.

Not knowing how this simple act would take off (he gained over 100,000 followers in just a matter of hours), it proved the connection of Twitter and sports beyond just the sport of NASCAR. It was a trending topic online but work offices around the country. The power of NASCAR. The power of Twitter.

Twitter social media shift

Fast forward to Friday. Twitter and NASCAR joining forces. Hashtag promotion. A NASCAR-specific page on Twitter. A page where tweets will be curated (gathered), from media, the fans, drivers, their families and crew centrally located in one place. What are other fans saying about the race? The media? Anything happen before the race fans should know about? Fans will no longer have to search for the hottest topics during the event. Twitter will do it for you.

That is a good thing. Less work for the fan to do, the more likely they’ll be to stay on that page. A captive audience if you will. And in the world of advertising, that’s the best type of audience to have.

If it succeeds, that tremor, that seismic shift…is only the beginning for Twitter and sports. 

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CadChica Sports

Learning Sports Lessons Through Life

WRITER’S NOTE: This article originally appeared on the now-defunct Yahoo! Voices network on June 5, 2012. The article is no longer available on Yahoo’s network. Reprinted here as the author of original work.

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Life Lessons

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The decision, for me, was never hard.

Was it surprising to me? As a life-long sports participant or fan, it seemed inevitable that my children would be involved in sports. So it was surprising.

That was, until I met, Gage.

Gage is the youngest of my three children. An inquisitive, sensitive, strong-minded ten year old. His older sister and brother were big-time into sports. His sister was a premier-level soccer player until knee injuries did in her career. His brother was a club-level goalie and non-stop “full 90 minutes” player on his high school soccer team. Both kids enjoy watching sports too but my older son is by far, the bigger sports fan of the two.

From a young age, I knew there was something different about Gage. He just had a way about him that you knew instantly that he was created a bit different from the other two. We tried sports; soccer, track, cross-country. Playing sports just wasn’t his thing. Other than just trying to keep him active, I made the decision ‘not’ to push sports on him.

Gage liked to play. But Gage also liked Legos. He liked music. He liked video games. He liked reading. He liked his scooter. He liked cartoons. He liked just about everything else…but “playing or watching” sports.

Now before anyone gets the wrong impression, Gage is a normal, healthy young boy that I am completelyIMG_0052 2in love with. For him, sports is something Mommy likes. It’s part of Mom’s job. That’s the extent of his sports-affection. His mom. Me. 

And that’s okay. 

I was reminded of that this week with stories from two dads “in sports”. One, a new father, and the other, facing a life-challenge through the body of his son.

Both stories in their own way reminded me of how thankful I am for my youngest. He is teaching me lessons beyond the field, court, pitch or diamond. There is a life beyond sports. That “life” can be hard to see sometimes when your work revolves around the 24/7 world of sports & social media.

Life is building a Death Star out of Legos. Life is zooming down the street on a scooter. Life is having a sword fight with the enemy in the backyard…because you can. And yes, life can be sports too.

But it does not need to have a place in my life as the ‘be-all, end-all’.

Gage has taught me that. Sports isn’t everything. Life is. Sports certainly is a part of that. Gage understands it. He may not always get it when I say the Rangers, in June, I’m probably talking about the Texas Rangers and not the New York Rangers (sorry Rangers fans). If I say Seattle is playing, I have to make sure I explain it’s the Sounders, not the Mariners or Seahawks.

And when he says ship, he has to make sure to explain to me “it’s a Naboo Fighter, Mom” and not a boat for the water. These can fly in the air and “get the bad guys, Mom”.

Getting the bad guys. Living life.

Ain’t that the truth.

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CadChica Sports

Disposable Athletes

WRITER’S NOTE: This article originally appeared on the now-defunct Yahoo! Voices network on April 27, 2012. The article is no longer available on Yahoo’s network. Reprinted here as the author of original work.

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Disposable Athletes


Discarded tires.

Tires that have been worn, stripped, shredded, ripped, torn in half and dumped in an empty field.

There usefulness has expired. No longer wanted. Sitting in emptiness.

Discarded tire

What becomes of athletes whose usefulness is no longer needed?

When they are battered and bruised. Broken and stripped of talents and gifts that they were created with. Worn out beyond their life span.

Are they discarded like these worn tires? Or are they given the tools needed to succeed beyond their “sports-life span”?

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I often wonder if high school and college athletes are getting the education they need. Education as in life skills. Life skills for “after” sports.

Invariably, there will always be a post-sports life. What happens then? True, there are those athletes who have the skills to succeed but many don’t. Would we see athletes leave school early for the NBA or NFL, only to find they are no longer wanted or needed like before? Who fills their head with dreams of fame and fortune, yet reality screams ‘THERE IS MORE TO LEARN’?

We call them student-athletes. Athletes on the field or court. Students in traditional classrooms. What do they learn in high school and college? Reading, writing and arithmetic? If one has a learning disability, is he simply passed along so he graduates (high school) to get that scholarship or maintains his eligibility (college), all in the name of bringing glory to the school? The greater the glory….the greater the money that comes in right?

What if the “student-athlete” does not know how to track his money? Open a bank account? Use a debit card? Recognize the psychology (motives) of those around him? Does he know how to use social media effectively? Can he recognize a potentially “bad” situation? Has he surrounded himself with people who will give him truth not just a “yes”? Will he believe the agent that promises him first round draft status, despite his undraftable skills? What about making decisions for the future?

When the lights and cameras fade away, all the athlete has left is his life. Does he know how to make it without the sports, the fame, the fortune, the “yes” people, the lights, the adulation from fans? What then?

Discarded athletes. Discarded tires. 

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