The Secret to Twitter

When it comes to Twitter, there is a phrase I hear in social media circles that I don’t understand.

I don’t get Twitter .

To me, that’s equivalent to saying Google+ is a ghost town. As someone who is immersed in both, neither description is accurate, but both could also be true…

for some people.

Within moments of a story breaking

 *

SECRET TO TWITTER

Twitter.

140-characters of contradiction. On the one hand, it can be a confusing mess of @ mentions, RTs (retweets) and hashtags. Yet, it can also be an inspiring, networking and connecting tool.

Teams, leagues, athletes, brands have all flocked to Twitter. They search for that oft-elusive hashtag or campaign that will connect them with fans or customers in ways never quite imagined before. But, it’s not just fans and customers they are connecting with on Twitter. They’re also connecting with the segment of the Twitter population that helps make it what it is. The one segment that is the secret to its success:

Sports Journalists.

One could argue all journalists, but my area of expertise is in sports. I’ve had a front row seat watching Twitter and the sports connection since 2009. It only continues to grow.

When someone wanted to get a story out, they connected with a newspaper/magazine writer or reporter, right? They would tell the journalist their story and the journalist would get that story out. Although times are changing, that is still the predominant method of telling one’s story.

Now take that same story and add in a journalist’s Twitter reach. Some have followers in the tens of thousands. Their reach isn’t just with their readers, viewers or listeners either. It’s also with other journalists. A simple retweet can have a reach in the hundreds of thousands within minutes. It can reach radio and television moments after that (millions can be reached).

Within moments of a story breaking (tweets and retweets), dialogue happens. Digging a little deeper into those tweets/retweets, you will often find a conversation taking place between journalists or journalists and non-journalists on that topic. Journalists bring a unique perspective to the news story. It’s no longer here’s the story as we know it and that’s the end. No. Twitter allows for continuing conversation after the initial report. 

Let’s bring sports into this scenario.Sports journalists add knowledge, sources and opinion to the Twitter conversation that was previously unattainable to fans. No other platform allows for such dialogue between media and fans.

Fans crave that type of knowledge, especially during a live event. I have called Twitter the world’s largest sports bar for years, specifically because of what takes place during a live event. Watching the same sporting event, talking trash, commiserating, discussing strategies with other fans or media – only Twitter offers that experience. 

Advertisers know this. Brands know this. And, television networks know it too. That’s why so much money is spent on advertising dollars each year for major sporting events. That’s where the fans are at. And, that’s where sports journalists are at too.

When you’re a sports fan, you crave that kind of access and sports-interaction. Facebook doesn’t offer it. Instagram, Snapchat and Vine are only broadcast mechanisms. Even my new favorite, Google+, doesn’t offer that access. 

Bf5P60VCMAAMtSr (1)

via Media Bistro

I know the numbers say there aren’t many active users versus number of accounts, but Twitter is also a news feed. You don’t have to be active to use it for sports news. Why? Because the sports journalists aren’t on the other platforms en masse like they are on Twitter. And, as long as they’re on Twitter, and fans crave sports news, its success will continue despite what the numbers say.

Until something better comes along, it’s here to stay. 

But, we’ll just let that be our little secret, okay?

 ***

FINAL THOUGHTS: Each person’s experience on social media is directly attributable to how they use it. That includes who and how many people they connect with and the amount of time they spend on a platform. The last point is very important. To understand how to use a platform (best practices), one has to invest time on it. Many people think of Google+ as a ghost town or Twitter is confusing because they’re not willing (or can’t afford) to invest the time to develop relationships with people. Worthwhile connection and relationship don’t happen overnight in real life, nor do they on social media.

Social media is what you make of it. If you make the time, it will become what it is you seek.

Side note: That last statement was very Yoda-ish, yes?

***

CadChica Sports

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.

Shoppable Hangouts Potential in Sports

Google+ is fast becoming a great place to do business. Particularly for the entrepreneur or small business. Whether it’s business-to-business or business-to-consumer, Google+ can provide an almost one-stop shop for the small or large business. Hangouts and Communities features on Google+ combined with Google’s Search and Local capabilities, it’s becoming a go-to place for businesses. But, there’s one other benefit to using Google+ in sports.

Shoppable Hangouts.

***

488Hangout with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson   Google

Back in February, I wrote a post entitled Sports Coming to the Plus (image above). In there, I made the point, “If there’s money to be made, sports will follow.

I still believe that. That’s why it was especially important to listen to the Digital Marketing Excellence Show today, put on by Stone Temple Consulting. Host Eric Enge, along with special guest co-host Ronnie Bincer, welcomed in Ria Tobaccowala from the Google+ Partnership Team.

Ria described what Shoppable Hangouts are in the early part of the discussion (video below). Highlighting the sports discussion plus other tidbits:

  • 10:17 mark – Ria mentions the heightened interest from various industries in Shoppable Hangouts, including the recently conducted one with Hendrick Motor Sports featuring Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • 13:18 mark – I asked what the response was and if others were taking interest to the NASCAR Hangout
  • 16:53 mark – Successes that their partners have seen
  • 23:24 mark – Basics to utilizing the Shoppable Hangout feature.

Other topics of note: private Hangouts, viewership not limited to Google+ accounts, recent Nike Hangout and much more. Watch and read the conversation on the Google+ Events page, here.


FINAL THOUGHTS: Is this a viable option for those involved in sports? Absolutely!

As Ria indicated in the video, their partners have seen success in terms of sales, traffic and more. Sports merchandise is a big business. Shoppable Hangouts seem to be a natural fit.

Fans are fiercely loyal to their favorite team(s) or athlete. In some cases, they live, eat and breathe all things pertaining to their team. How often do we hear about top jersey sold in the NFL, NBA or NHL? Google search “top jersey sales” and you’re bound to see an abundance of articles on this topic alone. That doesn’t take into account other available sports merchandise such as jackets, posters, hats, just to name a few. Shoppable Hangouts are another potential revenue stream for sports entities.

The possibilities? Let’s mention a few:

  1. Social media has helped remove some barriers between fans and athletes. They connect with them on Twitter or Facebook. If they’re lucky, they’ll get an RT. What about if they’re doing a Hangout with them? Talk about connecting!!! Is a fan more likely to purchase an item if he/she is actually talking with their favorite athlete in a Hangout? I think so. As Ria said, viewers don’t have to have a Google account to watch…or shop.
  2. A Shoppable Hangout during a live event. What if someone at U.S. Soccer were to host a Hangout with a former national team player either during or after a Team USA win at the World Cup this summer? Do you think fans would be more likely to buy after a win? Yes. Why not host one AT the event? Tap into fan’s enthusiasm while it’s hot.
  3. Private Shoppable HangoutsRia mentioned this as a possibility. Select season ticket holders come to mind in terms of sports. Run social media contests and select fans to partake in the private Hangout with option to buy discounted merchandise. 
  4. Athletes: Many athletes like to diversify themselves beyond their normal sponsors. They create their own clothing line or some other product. Hosting a quick 15-20 minute Shoppable Hangout with fans seems doable. As mentioned in the video, bring in the, if this gets x-number of likes, we’ll discount it 30% aspect can also add to the potential.

Those are just a few that I can come up with off the top of my head. I’ll be anxious to see what the future of Shoppable Hangouts turns out to be. You’ve watched the video (thanks again to Stone Temple Consulting), read my previous post and now this post. Now, it’s your turn.

  • What are your thoughts on these types of Hangouts?
  • Are they a potential revenue stream (one of many others) in sports?
  • What other ways could they be used?

Tweet me @CadChica or leave a comment with your thoughts.

***

CadChica Sports

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.

Teachable Moment for Smart, Orr

***

“Piece of crap” or something more? 

For those unaware of this story, Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart shoved a Texas Tech fan after the game Saturday night. Something was said. That we do know. What was it exactly? I don’t know. Listen to that video above released by Texas Tech and I’m not sure. Sounds like piece of crap maybe. I can’t be sure. Only the fan, Jeff Orr, knows what he said for sure. Marcus Smart knows what he heard. I’m sure fans, officials around the area think they know what they heard. 

But, what does it all mean? A lot of something and nothing. 

Let’s be honest. On any given day, do you remember what happened two weeks ago at media day? Without prompting? Do you remember the media person that had a field day over Colin Kaepernick’s hat not that long ago? Chances are most people won’t remember without some prompting. That’s where the “nothing” part comes in. Based on what we know right now, Smart is suspended for three games and Orr has apologized and promised to not attend Tech games this year, what else is there to say? 

Plenty. Many have had their say on Smart. Today’s post from Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde brings the racial perspective from black coaches’ viewpoint. I recommend reading it. According to this ESPN story, Orr has been known to display this type of verbal speech before (allegedly). Is there a pattern here? One could deduce there is if others like John Lucas, III says he knows of Orr in that ESPN story: 

Here is where it’s at for me. Why does any fan feel the need to yell at another team’s player? Yes, I’ve booed other teams and players before at a game. But, what good does it do to yell at the players? Does it make a fan feel better about themselves afterward? Is it a chance for a fan to show their (team’s) superiority through words or actions (think: flipping the player off)? How much value does it bring fans to do this?

Before fans could ever tweet or reply to their athletes/teams on social media, their only outlet was the sporting event itself. Cheering, exalting in good times or jeers and throwing of objects during bad. Most don’t. The few that do get the notoriety and the term fanatic gets thrown around loosely. Not all fans are fanatics. But, the few skewer the view of the rest. 

There is a thought by some that we shouldn’t call out bad fan behavior. An impossible task to change it, they say. You’ll never change people’s behavior, they declare. In all likelihood, they’re probably right. You can’t change that mentality. But, I’m not one to sit idly by while this goes on.

Both Orr and Smart were wrong. Smart has accountability in his teammates, coaches and university. Three game suspension – long enough or not, it’s an accountability system which should be accompanied by teaching Smart the tools he needs to handle future situations like this.

What’s Orr’s accountability? His word saying he won’t attend any more games this year. Is there any teaching to go along with it? For yelling at a 19-year-old player on the opposing team? If not, there should. 

Otherwise, what’s to prevent him from doing it again next year?

***

RELATED: Challenge the Twitter Rants

***

Some Twitter reaction:

***

FINAL THOUGHT: I will leave it to ESPN’s Rece Davis to sum it up perfectly –

***

CadChica Sports

Tuesday Ten with Jimmy Sanderson

Sports encompasses a variety of dynamics. There is the actual athletic endeavor on the playing surface. There are the athletes, coaches, leagues and teams. Add in media, business and marketing, sponsors, social media and you’re talking about a wide-range of elements all under the “sports” umbrella. 

One that I didn’t mention is the world of academics. With the growth of Twitter and other platforms, social media has become very much a part of sports, leaving plenty of material for researchers to study. One of those leading the way in academics, utilizing social media, was my guest on tonight’s #TuesdayTen Google+ Hangout, Dr. Jimmy Sanderson, from Clemson University.

Dr. Sanderson and I discussed how he incorporates social media in his classroom and the discussions they have, including today’s topic, the Seattle Seahawks’, Richard Sherman. Watch:

***

CadChica Sports

2013 SSM Digest

Kobe Bryant and Maria Sharapova.

No, they’re not a new sports power-couple. Bryant and Sharapova were the subjects in my very first SSM Digest back in January. I started the SSM Digest to track the hottest topics in the social media-sports (#SMsports) world. Nobody that I knew of was doing anything of the sort. I set out to catalogue the latest happenings in #SMsports each month.

It all started with Kobe and Maria.

Note: Each month listed below is a hyperlink to that month’s SSM Digest

***

January 2013

I said back then:

Time will tell if this proves to be a winning strategy for either Sharapova or Bryant.  I am, by no means, not one who focuses solely on Twitter followers. The fact that you can “buy followers” proves that those numbers can be skewed. Add in the fact that there are people who follow others just to “gain followers” (think people with relatively equal numbers of followers and following), numbers can be deceiving. But the way Bryant has used Twitter to engage, proves that he’s well on his way to “getting it”.

That first tweet from Bryant has been retweeted over 50 thousand times. Sharapova’s, 2600+ times. Again, I’m not one to focus just on one’s Twitter follower numbers, but Kobe has 3.9 million followers compared to Maria’s over 700 thousand. Both have only tweeted in the 600 range for number of tweets sent. Sharapova follows 40 people while Kobe at least follows 852.

Safe to say that the Black Mamba gets the edge over Sugarpova.

***

February 2013

February was a very interesting month for me. I decided to do something that to my knowledge had not been done before. I “watched” the Super Bowl through Twitter. No television. No radio. Just Twitter.

Seriously. As much as Twitter had become embedded in the sports lexicon by early 2013, I figured it could be done. I wanted to see how well I could follow a game just through Twitter. Every play. Every questionable call. Blackout. GIFs. Replays. Varying perspectives. I got it through Twitter alone. My little Twitter experiment can be read here.

I said back then:

I am able to see conversations transpiring across a wide range of mediums. I try to be in tune to all sports on Twitter. It helps me to get a vibe for how people are viewing their sport, or, in the case of a sporting event like the Super Bowl, how they perceive it. Thus, it provided all the insight I needed to know as to how the game played out.

While the Super Bowl was the biggest story, we also had National Signing Day drama,

Danica Patrick leading a lap at Daytona, death of Dr. Jerry Buss, Richard Sherman-Darrelle Revis war of words plus a multitude of other sporting events including college basketball that I could not mention. Most memorable? This terrifying crash at a Nationwide race.

***

March 2013

Sports had a case of the madness. March Madness, that is.

I said back then:

Many think of madness as simply the NCAA tournament. But it is so much more than that. Teams vying for conference titles down the stretch of the regular season generated some great games like the Michigan-Indiana game on March 10th. Or perhaps it was the surprising #1 ranking for Gonzaga.

Before we get to the madness, a word from Phil

Ha! A Zen language we don’t know about? *Sigh, no.* It was funny at first but it was simply for “promotion”.

March also brought us a posterization (Brandon Knight), Tiger-Vonn coupling, #RandomActsOfOpeningDay, sports reacting to a new Pope and a potential hoops scandal too. But we all know what March was really about this year, right?

DUNK CITY!!!!!!!!!!

Aww, yeah! Dunk City babyyyyy! Florida Gulf Coast took the NCAA tournament by storm with upsets and dunks and just playground style basketball. Not everyone liked their show, but it sure made for a fun Cinderella run.

***

April 2013

Scandals, the Final Four, Kobe Bryant injury, Jason Collins coming out, NFL draft. All transpired during April. Only one stood out to me:

I said back then:

Social media, particularly Twitter, was the go-to resource for news. This is both a good and bad thing. The vast amount of information provided an exorbitant amount of factual news as well as rumors, instantly. Access to the Boston police scanners on the internet, to a certain extent, made matters worse for law enforcement.

Upon reflection, many tweets and posts showed how people felt about the tragedy and its aftermath. Contrast what transpired in the social media realm with the event itself. We wanted instant knowledge, instant justice. Instant, instant, instant.

But the event itself is not about instant. Pardon the cliché, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about endurance. It’s about venturing forward when everything within tells you not to.

Marathon. Endurance. Forward.

Viewed over 2.5 million times:

***

May 2013

Gotta get to the playoffs. That’s what the NBA and NHL did in May. On the ice, do you remember this hit (viewed over 2 million times)?

Off the court, the Oklahoma City Thunder and others came through when their fans needed them most

In David Stern’s court: Seattle-Sacramento. Sacramento-Seattle. Who would get to call the Kings their own?

I said then:

For as much flux as the Kings were in under the Maloof ownership for the last few years, it seemed inevitable that with David Stern as commissioner, the Seattle group led by Chris Hansen had no chance of completing the purchase of the Sacramento franchise.

On the court? Well, close to the court at least.

Sure the games were entertaining. The NBA and its teams stepped up their social media game, led by the Golden State Warriors. Horse racing and Brad Keselowski made news. Super Bowl L too.

Ahh, yes. The biggest worldwide news of all? The pitch:

Do you remember this sports moment from May?

***

June 2013

I said then:

Did anyone ever tell you that June is the best month of the year?

No? They should have. It truly is. Two world champions crowned. A golf major won. One tennis major completed while another begins. The final collegiate sports championship earned. The last of the triple crown in horse racing run. USA Soccer shining after rocky start to World Cup qualifying. Athlete arrests, auto racing tragedies, my show cancelled, controversial comment/tweets bring firings in college and media, I got another year older and…

Okay, I’m a little biased. June was a month for the ages in sports.

*

*

*

*

Odin Lloyd's sister's Facebook*

*

*

*

Triumph, tragedy, stupidity and my show cancellation. On second thought, maybe this past June wasn’t the best month after all.

***

July 2013

I said then:

Dog days of summer in the sports-world. Not much happens in July, right?

Wimbledon, Aaron Hernandez, NBA & NHL & Twitter handle trades, Brad Stevens to the Celtics, Dwight Howard, Marshall Henderson, Manchester United, EA Sports, George Zimmerman verdict, UFC upset, MLB All-Star week, college football Media Days, Metta World Peace, Yasiel Puig, failed drug tests in track & field, British Open, Tiger & Phil, Olympic hockey returns, NFL & HGH testing closer to reality, athletes quit Twitter, PEDs & Biogenesis, Johnny Manziel…

If ever a month proved there is no off switch for sports, July was it. Constant. 24/7/365 – sports news in the social media world rolled on. In the social media realm itself, creative uses for Instagram and Vine were on display

One team even used Instagram for a meet-up (as opposed to “tweet-ups”).

A sign of things to come? MLB leading the way with a live-stream in a tweet during the Home Run Derby

There simply was a bounty of stories in July including Andy Murray ending the drought (my favorite take on it below)

***

August 2013

Dempsey and Johnny and Chipper..oh my!

In the early days of my Twitter life (I should hashtag that #MyTwitterLife), I wasn’t afraid to let my fandom show. That was before the sports masses jumped on board. In today’s Twitter (#TodaysTwitter), with the volume of people using it for sports, you have to be more careful about showing your fandom. Some may disagree with that, but I believe it is necessary for those in media.

My caveat to that, however, is when one of my teams do something good or positive. BIG caveat is the Seattle Sounders.

It really was an innocent hashtag, #DempseyWatch. Every so often in the Twitterverse, hashtags take on a life of their own. It helps when…

If not hashtags, well, stories too can take on a life of their own. And when your name is Johnny Manziel, the spotlight can amplify every little move you make. 

I said then:

The Manziel saga, because that is what it’s become now, dragged on through the month. In the end, Manziel would be suspended for a half in the Aggies’ home opener against Rice.

He’d go on to make even more news on August 31 with some of his on-field actions during the game.

Every brand has to needs a presence somewhere in the sports-social media world, right? Dempsey and Manziel have theirs. Chipper Jones (Atlanta Braves) has…no, had…wait…has (again) his. (Jones rejoined the Twitterverse on September 9th.)

Sometimes, brands have to go big or go home. In the U.S. Open’s case, they chose the former option.

***

September 2013

Welcome back, NFL and college football. You made my job curating these SSM Digest much harder with your return.

I said then:

This month, due to the sheer volume of items to track, I’m changing the structure to this month’s digest. Less input from me and more of the stories, images and videos that crossed our timelines in sports-social media. The biggest stories lead us off followed by a few of the images that grabbed my attention, followed by some daily sports-social media news.

I changed the structure of my digest due to “sheer volume”. Football, baseball, soccer, NASCAR, tennis proved quite challenging to track everything. It all begins though, with football.

Despite separate litigation issues hanging over their heads, the NFL and NCAA football came back with a vengeance. Most days/weeks, you could find trending topics on Google or Twitter included something related to those two sports. But, there was one other sport that captured the attention of another type of football fan around the world.

Football has an iconic place in American culture. Two other sports icons were part of September news too.

Okay, this isn’t iconic, but I couldn’t resist adding to my year end post

What’s a year-end post without an “own goal”?

Side note: Check out my “Fun with Topsy Search” post reviewing the first time popular hashtags were used according to Topsy.

***

October 2013

Get your game face on, October!

We welcomed back hockey and bid adieu to baseball. And, we also said “thanks”. Wait! No we didn’t. We said, “you’re welcome”. Well, U.S. Soccer did:

I said then:

Mexico survived to play another World Cup day thanks to a last-minute flurry by the USA in their 3-2 victory over Panama. The U.S. victory enabled Mexico to solidify that final World Cup qualifying spot. That Mexico needed a U.S. victory to qualify was not lost on fans of both teams, nor the official U.S. Soccer account. Expect to see that tweet on most end-of-the-year Top 10 lists.

With over 83 thousand retweets and 31 thousand favorites, I do expect it to at least be in the Top 10 of Top Tweets for 2013.

One of the top stories in baseball, aside from the Red Sox winning the World Series (and Facebook)

…had to be the Pittsburgh Pirates. Back in the postseason after 21 years (Roberto Clemente’s number), the Pirates, their city and their social media were a joy to watch.

Another team’s social media that is a joy to watch has to be the Golden State Warriors. Their team is embracing the social media outlets they use with passionate innovation (#passionateinnovation). Innovation like this G+ Hangout called #WarriorsLive:

Also innovating this month were the New Orleans Saints becoming the first NFL team with a Snapchat account and the Tampa Bay Lightning freezing their Instagram account (a first).

Innovators in their own right, we lost two football legends in October.

***

2013 was a professional roller coaster. Starting the year with two jobs and by summer’s end I was jobless. Until November. My new job with Sportsmanias meant less time for writing up my monthly digest. Abandonment was not on my mind. As the year was drawing to a close, I had the idea to create this year-end digest instead. Although I have no links for November and December Digests, I did curate content that helped shape their storylines.

*

November 2013

Welcome, November. The month where hockey players grow their mustaches and beards to their heart’s content. Movember arrived. No shaving allowed.

Also not allowed? One of the more bizarre stories occurred between two Dolphins players, Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. 

The story itself was fluid all month-long Even to this day, the situation has still not been resolved. Just another in a long line of off the field stories the NFL didn’t need. Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter summed it up:

As the NFL world changed…constantly, one sports returned to “normalcy” (think six-pack), despite what flows from Donovan McNabb’s mouth.

Not normal? On second though, maybe this is normal…for Alex.

Apologies for not touching on amazing NFL games, college basketball, college football, soccer, #SFBatKid, Veterans Day celebrations, Thanksgiving, WWE, NBA, women in sports, Google Glass, YouTube videos, MLB awards, Twitter and the Phoenix Suns and so on and so forth. Suffice to say November did not disappoint. Especially when you have Minnesota Golden Gophers Head Coach, Jerry Kill, dancing upon his return from his health hiatus. Go Jerry!

***

December 2013

Coaching changes.

Coaches in trouble.

Free agent signings.

The final BCS Championship game.

World Cup test draw

And…a now-deleted penis tweet (saved via the beauty of Twitter).

Whew! That’s plenty, but December isn’t even done yet. We have the college bowl games, Liga MX final, NFL season wind-down, NBA digging in to their holiday season and am I missing anything?

***

There is much to reflect upon in social media-sports. 2013 was a huge year. Fans engaged on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, G+ more than ever in social media. Unfortunately, not always in a positive way.

We saw a rise in Infographics and GoPro/Google Glass videos, more specialized apps, creative team promotions, heightened social-television relationship and more.

Professionally, I have “met” some amazing people in the sports media/sports biz world through Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Social media in 2013 made the world a little smaller for me in sports. Knowledge is a precious commodity. I’ve learned more this year via my “friends” about journalism, marketing, business and yes, social media despite my lack of a college degree. Although I do like to say I have a degree in Common Sense from the School of Hard Knocks at the University of Life. But, I’m still learning. Social media is a great teacher, beyond just Twitter.

As for 2014, I don’t know that we’re fully prepared for what 2014 will bring in social media-sports. I expect there are things to come that we haven’t given a thought to yet in terms of creativity, platforms, or even tools. The actual sports stories, oh my, I can’t even imagine what we will see, especially withe the Olympics and World Cup in our future. Sounds exciting.

But, before I close, in reviewing this past year’s content, there is one photo that captured my heart and I wanted to make sure I shared it with you. I’m always looking for the good in sports and this is perfect:

***

CadChica Sports

To Like Or Not to Like

The tweet above comes from StateCollege.com’s, Ben Jones. This post isn’t about Ben. But, it is about what he said in his tweet. It’s something we fans all have said at one point or another. I’m sure many in media like Ben have said it too. Like, in this context, isn’t just a click of a Facebook button.

My initial reaction after reading the tweet:

How can we like someone we don’t really know?

***

Jameis Winston is the starting quarterback for the #2 ranked Florida State Seminoles football team. At 10-0, Winston has been the leader for the Seminoles return to the upper echelon of college football this season. Two more very winnable regular season games plus the ACC Championship game and the Seminoles could be playing for the BCS National Championship in January.

Recently, however, Winston has been the subject in a criminal investigation in Florida. The investigation centers around a sexual assault that occurred in December 2012.

Let me just leave it at that.

Why? Because I’m not sure anyone really knows what’s going on other than there’s an investigation involving Winston. SB Nation’s Adam Jacobi summed it up well on Friday with this post on the situation.

Guilty? Innocent? Nobody knows. Nobody knows the athletes we fans say we like.

I “like” Larry Fitzgerald. But, I don’t really know him. By all accounts, he seems like a stand-up, giving kind of guy. I appreciate how engaging he is with fans on social media. He seems like a devoted father to his young son. He’s been respectful to fans and media from what I can tell. And, he goes all out for his team. What really makes me like him is how he’s willing to give of his time and money to various causes. He seeks to better himself through education and world travel. All qualities that add up to a someone who you ask yourself, What’s not to like?

Maybe it’s a matter of defining “like”. “Like” as in a person/friend or “like” as in the qualities the people exhibit or “like” as in just like them as an athlete? Some questions to ask ourselves:

Have we spent time with them on a personal level? Have we talked about things other than sports with them? How many kids are in their family? What was their family upbringing like? Did we invite them to coffee or lunch recently? Do they ask how things are going with us when we see or call them? Do we actually see them? Have they ever called us just to talk? Are they coming over on Sunday to watch football? Did they make our last tailgate? When are we going over to their house for dinner? 

I wonder. How many people said they “liked” Aaron Hernandez a year ago? Two years ago? How about O.J. Simpson? Rae Carruth? Surely there were fans who “liked” them at one point in their lives. Maybe some still do. 

To like or not to like? That is a question for each individual fan to answer. Hopefully, we realize when we say we “like” so-and-so athlete, it’s not just a Facebook-button type of like. Clicking *Like* is easy to do without giving it a second thought.

Is that our mentality too when saying we “like” an athlete?

Food for thought.

***

CadChica Sports

#SportsDoingGood: NHL

This is the tenth installment in my ongoing #SportsDoingGood series highlighting the good being done in and through sports.

***

The beauty of Twitter lists is recognizing emerging sports conversations or trends. One such list that I’ve been watching lately is my NHL Teams list. With the NHL season well underway, I’ve tried to watch how teams are utilizing their Twitter accounts. Many us it to provide game details, both live-tweeting and pre-/post-game information. But, teams are going beyond just that type of standard Twitter-fare.

The above tweet was recently retweeted (RTd) by the Edmonton Oilers Twitter account, @EdmontonOilers. It’s an example of a trend that I’ve noticed: team accounts retweeting their team foundation accounts.

Team foundation Twitter accounts? That’s relatively new to me. I like it.

There is more to a team than what happens on the playing surface or in front office transactions. Community involvement is vital to any team’s relationship with their fans. Social media can provide teams with an opportunity to spread the word of how they are active in their community. Foundation-specific Twitter accounts are a great tool to do that.

According to NHL Communications, all NHL teams have charitable foundations. Not all have social media accounts, however. There are ‘approximately 18 with Facebook accounts, 14 Twitter and 8 Instagram’. These team foundations are using social media  to “promote upcoming events, auctions, fund-raising and to recap previous community events through stories, photos”. 

One foundation account that is often RTd by their team Twitter account is the one from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

***

The league itself sets the tone for charitable and community involvement. Not only does the league share what their teams and players are doing, but it leads the way in getting involved.

NHL Facebook Cover Photo_DayOf

NHL Spirit Day Facebook cover courtesy of NHL Communications

Last month, the league was part of the #SpiritDay campaign to help stop bullying. In addition, the league and its teams were very active in the #HockeyFightsCancer campaign on social media sites like Twitter and Pinterest (pictures below provided by NHL Communications).

HFC Tweet HFC_Awareness Calendar

It’s not just in-season they get involved. They are active year round. Various players/teams hold hockey clinics, make school appearances, host various charity golf outings, and more (via NHL Communications)

Off season Tweet Example 3 Off season_Tweet Example 2Since we are in November, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention #Movember. Every year, the NHL is a very active participant in the Movember movement. Players grow shave either on October 31 or November 1 and grow their mustaches throughout the month. People can donate money in support of their favorite player/team to support prostate cancer research.

The NHL takes it a step further by encouraging their fans to get involved too.

Great engagement. Great involvement. Well done, NHL. 

Learn more about NHL teams’ respective charitable foundations via NHL Communications: Team Foundations 2013-14

***

RELATED STORIES:

***

CadChica Sports

1 2 3