Sports Trivia and Twitter = Natural Combination

Walk into a sports bar in America and you may see a sign advertising “TRIVIA NIGHT”. One night a week is set aside for teams to compete against each other to be crowned the Ultimate Sports Trivia Champ. Or is it “Smartest Sports Fans”? Whatever the title is, trivia and sports go hand-in-hand. The very nature of statistics and historical events in sports lends itself naturally to a question and answer time. Add into the mix, hanging out with friends, eating, drinking and watching sports too, the sports bar is a natural place to bring all of that together. But, in these social media times, trivia has been making inroads there too.

As the NFL and NHL began their seasons last month, I began to notice more trivia being incorporated into the Twitter streams of teams. Perhaps it’s the hashtags (#TwitterTrivia #TriviaTuesday #PensTrivia) that I began to notice more over the last few months. Whatever the case may be, teams from all levels are adopting this into their social media strategies. It’s definitely not a new phenomenon as evidenced by my Topsy search of first uses of trivia-related hashtags (click images to enlarge):

#TriviaTuesday

#TriviaTuesday

#TwitterTrivia

Twittertrivia

The hashtags may not be new but sports teams adopting this into their strategies appears new to me. New as in more teams (and even athletes, coaches) are engaging with fans in this way. Just from today:

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have taken it a step further by creating their own hashtag, #PensTrivia

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A quick Twitter search for sports-related Twitter Trivia tweets yielded some interesting results:

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FINAL THOUGHTS: There is one common characteristic among all sports fans. They love competition. Whether it’s living vicariously through their favorite team or athlete while they compete or they used to compete themselves, it all centers around competition. at its core, trivia is a competition.

Engaging with trivia is one thing. But, tying it in with a prize for the winner ups the ante. It brings out that competitive spirit in sports fans. Tickets, memorabilia, you name it and fans will compete for it. It’s simple and effective.

If they haven’t done so already, there’s also potential to add a sponsor. We hear sponsored trivia questions during tv or radio broadcasts of games like on ABC’s college football broadcasts (AFLAC Trivia Question). Why not bring that into social media trivia questions? Provide a prize, tweet out the sponsor’s name, fans are engaged…it just makes sense.

It’s a natural combination.

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CadChica Sports

Listening On Twitter Is (Apparently) Optional

PREFACE: On weekends, I have been trying to cut back on the time I spend on Twitter. As a Twitter sports reporter/sports-social media writer, that’s not an easy task, especially on fall weekends. But, it has helped me to step back a bit to evaluate where social media is in the sports world. Even during the week, I’ve found myself reading tweets more than ever.

There are more people in sports on Twitter than ever before. What used to be easy is no longer on Twitter. I could follow multiple conversations with ease. While I can still do that, it’s not without its challenges.

This post is by no means my final thoughts on the subject of Twitter. Social media, Twitter, technology is constantly evolving. What we thought about it two, three, four years ago shouldn’t be what we think of it now. My thoughts on Twitter, in particular, are…evolving.

I don’t believe it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Not even close. It will continue to grow. It will continue to itself evolve on its way to its IPO.

Sports and Twitter is also evolving. While this post may seem critical or negative about it, it’s more of a “putting my thoughts on paper” exercise. There are times when I need to do that. Get my thoughts written down to sort it out. You can probably tell in some of the writing below, but it was necessary. By no means am I a Twitter-sports expert. But, I do have a solid amount of experience in this area.

Am I wrong in what I wrote? Maybe, maybe not. Time will tell.

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In 2009, Twitter was exploding. In 2010, Twitter was exploding. 2011, 2012, 2013 – Twitter exploding into the mainstream has been a constant topic of news organizations, blogs, tech sites, etc.

Even before 2009, there are stories of Twitter’s explosion in social media circles. Today, in 2013, Twitter is commonplace. It’s part of the conversation when it comes to politics, religion, entertainment and sports.

I joined in 2009. I’ve seen the growth and evolution of Twitter. Whereas people used to give you funny looks when you mentioned Twitter, nowadays, it’s a routine talking point. Water-cooler chatter taken online, if you will.

I call Twitter the world’s largest sports bar. Hang out with millions of others (friends and acquaintances), talking about the game you’re watching. Cheering together or arguing with each other over that big play or blown call. Kind of like hanging with friends at a sports bar.

I’ve also called it message boards meets sports bar. The anonymity of message boards becomes public, so to speak, on Twitter. Create an account without using your real name and, instead of a message board, spout one’s opinions in a public forum without much repercussion.

This evolution of Twitter, at least in the sports realm, has been fascinating. Think of the millions and millions of opinions from not only those aforementioned message boards and sports bars, but add in sports media, passionate non-message board fans, boosters, alumni and casual fans. Anyone with a computer/mobile device and an internet connection can tweet about the game. The officials. The coaches. The players. The schools. The fans. The media. Or, in some cases, the family of coaches.

The question is, how long will it last? Obviously, Twitter is more than just sports. I believe, however, that it has been a major key to its growth since I joined in 2009. But, while it has obliterated the walls between fans/media and fans/athletes, it’s also slowly becoming a negative place when it comes to sports.

Think of the message board scenario I mentioned earlier. Places where like minded individuals can go to share ideas, celebrate victories, commiserate over losses or band together against others who oppose or criticize them.

It was this thought I had in mind when reading tweets this past weekend. Ohio State defeated a severely outmatched, Florida A&M team, 76-0. Apparently, with the game clearly in hand for OSU, the Buckeyes went for it on fourth down. After the game, the Buckeyes and their coach, Urban Meyer, were called out for that move or, in other terms, classless. I’m not here to debate the move. But, the mere idea that anyone would call fans’ beloved school or coach “classless” offended many a Buckeye.

It reminded me of Sports Illustrated’s recent series on Oklahoma State. There was great debate across Twitter, Facebook, radio, tv, podcasts, websites – you name it, the series, the alleged inaccuracies, T Boone Pickens’ response, it was discussed. Understandably, Oklahoma State fans, alumni, supporters were all outraged. But…

Message board mentality unites. Twitter draws the lines of demarcation.

You’re either with or against. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It only matters what “I” think. If “you” don’t think like “me”, “you’re” wrong.

It’s that current climate that has me concerned. I’m concerned about what Twitter is becoming in sports. For me, I prefer not to discuss politics and religion on Twitter for that very reason. I’ve seen too many people blasted for their opinion or  belief. People don’t want to listen and dialogue about opposing viewpoints. It’s all about being heard. And it’s part of sports now on Twitter.

Why?

Because people have tied their identity to their school or team. Attack someone’s school or team, and the masses may revolt against you. Any negative comment about one’s school/team is perceived as a criticism of the individual person. Call Ohio State “classless”, alumni/fans/boosters take it personally. Write a negative story or a critical tweet “my” school or team, it is automatically discounted.

Someone once told me that even if you disagree with someone, there’s at least 10% that is true that you might need to listen to. Agree or disagree, the idea behind it is being willing to listen. With everyone tweeting, is anyone listening, even if it means negative truth about one’s team/school?

I say this to me too. Am I listening?

If nobody is listening, why be on Twitter in the first place?

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CadChica Sports

Finalmente: Sports News For The Hispanic Fan

When researching for sports-social media news to share today, I came across one article that immediately made me smile.

No sarcasm. It truly made me smile.

Google search - Hispanic Athletes siteAccording to the article, The Sporting Nation website “will fill a gap in the sports Internet landscape by highlighting Hispanic athletes”.

¡FINALMENTE!

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I have long believed that there is a “gap” in sports coverage in this country for the Hispanic (Latino) fan. Even when I type the term “Hispanic fan”, I cringe. Not because of the phrase itself but because it puts fans in a box. It’s kind of like espnW trying to cater to the “female fans”. Yes, I’m a female but don’t call me a female fan. I’m just a fan. Don’t box me in! 

In a way, I feel the term “Hispanic fan” boxes people in. For purposes of this post, however, you’ll see why I’m using it. To define “Hispanic fan” would be impossible – someone will surely disagree with my definition. Suffice to say, the “Hispanic fan” is exactly that: a sports fan of Hispanic heritage. Some might argue that it should include specific sports like soccer (futbol) but that isn’t accurate. There are Hispanic fans who aren’t soccer fans. Not many, but there are a few.

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I wasn’t raised on soccer but I love the game. I’m interested in what’s going on in the soccer world. But, I’m also a college football, NFL, college basketball, baseball, tennis, Olympics…need I say more…fan. I love sports. Not just a select few. But all sports.

I want to read about Hispanic athletes who have overcome challenges or are making a difference. Sure, there have been articles on ESPN or Fox Sports but they feel few and far between. Or, they are focused solely on the “name” athletes. “Names” that will sell to the general American population. I want more.

And I believe that there are others like me. Whether they’re bilingual or not (like me), we want to hear about those athletes. We want to know more about the ones flying under the radar. We want to hear about sports from a Hispanic perspective.

From all appearances, The Sporting Nation just might be what I’m looking for. Two of the lead stories on the site today:

Sporting Nation cover

Sporting Nation

Two major sports. One a major story and one, to me, that is under the radar. Yet, both highlight athletes that the Hispanic community would be interested in.

There’s more to The Sporting Nation: sections for video, images, trending and specific sports sections

The Sporting Nation tabs

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ONE LAST THOUGHT

We’re not just Hispanic fans. We’re sports fans. We love a variety of sports just like anyone else in the USA. We’re also very proud of our heritage. And we have been underserved for sports coverage.

Yes, there’s ESPN Deportes and FOX Deportes. Those are fine. Same with Telemundo and Univision. But there’s still a lack of what Hispanic fans desire in this country. We hear about new sports apps every week. What about the sports apps that cater to the American Hispanic fan?

Maybe with the launch of The Sporting Nation, that will be next. It’s certainly a promising start.

¡Estoy muy emocionada!

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CadChica Sports

Challenge The Twitter Rants

Never let it be said there’s a dull moment on Twitter. But perhaps the most innocuous of tweets seems to be speaking louder to me than all others:

It’s not so much the tweet but the story link that has captured my attention. Here’s the headline:

Brennan: Too much made of Twitter rants on athletes

In a USA Today article, columnist Christine Brennan discusses the recent epidemic of fans harassing athletes on Twitter. For clarification and the sake of this column, I will call it harassing. Because that’s what it is as evidenced by some of the tweets directed this week at highly sought after basketball recruit,Andrew Wiggins.

Rumors were that Wiggins was headed to Florida State. No, make that Kentucky. Rumors of where only heightened fans interest in his decision. When he decided yesterday to attend the University of Kansas, non-Kansas fans let loose with their venom according to this article from Sports Grid.

From Brennan,

18-year-old Canadian high school basketball sensation Andrew Wiggins, who on Tuesday picked Kansas over Florida State, Kentucky and North Carolina.

This decision of course did not please fanatics who follow those other three schools, so they did what any red-blooded, hot-headed sports fan does these days and jumped on Twitter to call a high school senior every awful name and slur imaginable. Internet stories then were written quoting some of the most egregious comments, thereby giving those who tweeted them a great victory: mainstream media validation.

One thing Brennan gets right in the paragraph above, they “jumped on Twitter to call a high school senior ever awful name and slur imaginable”. Fan behavior can sometimes be, shall we say, deplorable, especially on Twitter.

She continues:

It is at this point in the story where you would figure we all should throw up our hands and talk about how the civilized sports world as we know it is coming to an end and how any semblance of intelligent discourse about sports is over.

But let’s look a little deeper into several of the particularly awful tweets about Wiggins. I’m not going to name the accounts they came from, and no family newspaper would ever quote the words they used, but there is other information we can use to judge their impact, their reach and their so-called clout.

The focus in the remainder of Brennan’s article is on the effectiveness of these tweets (follower numbers, etc.). That, in itself, misses part of the beauty of Twitter: communication. As Kevin DeShazo of Fieldhouse Media points out in his rebuttal article:

How many Twitter followers these idiots (I won’t call them fans) have isn’t the issue. They aren’t trying to be “worldwide social commentators.” They are sending tweets with Wiggins’ Twitter handle, meaning they want Wiggins to see the tweets. Hateful, awful, violent, racist tweets. And he does. Whether or not the world does is irrelevant.

Fans are communicating their feelings at athletes, teams and media in ways we’ve never seen on this massive of a scale. I know this because I’ve written on it here, here and here to highlight just a few. Fans can be passionate without hatred. We can trash-talk without bitterness. We can love our teams without disparaging, threatening or telling others to go kill themselves, when our team loses. We don’t have to behave this way.

But fans have turned their love of teams/schools into part of their identity. Every loss, every recruit-rejection becomes an affront to the individual fan. Fans take it personally and lash out. And because of that aforementioned beauty of Twitter, fans lash out AT the affronting individual as if it was a “personal” rejection of the fan themselves.

And that, ultimately, is the point missed by Ms. Brennan. Twitter has enabled some fans to go far beyond what they would do in person or at a game. Flipping an athlete off is one thing (yeah, I’m looking at you Miami Heat lady). But tweets filled with hatred, racial epithets and wishes of harm are inexcusable. To let it go unchallenged, is to condone its acceptance. The only way fan behavior will change is to challenge it. For far too long, the rules have simply been to make fun of “fanatics” or ignore them. That was before we had the tools necessary to police ourselves as fans. We have Twitter. We have blogs. We have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, etc. Public forums where we fans can say enough already.

Challenging fan behavior isn’t providing “media validation”. It’s simply saying: 

Be Better!

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CadChica Sports

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