One of the benefits to athletes using social media is the ability to control the message. Twitter seems to be the platform of choice to control that message. But, you can only do so much in 140-characters. Facebook provides a much better vehicle for sharing their message. Earlier this year, Derek Jeter used Facebook to announce his retirement from Major League Baseball. Today, although not a retirement (yet), Thierry Henry used the platform to state he would not be returning to the New York Red Bulls in 2015.
Where Henry ends up next is anyone’s guess. New York has provided him with anonymity of sorts that he could not find in Europe. His next stop, if there is one, is for soccer pundits to decide. What I find fascinating is using Facebook to do it.
As great as Twitter is for live-event viewing, it’s 140-character limit is, well, limiting. It’s great to share links, which Henry did:
Guys, please see my Facebook page at https://t.co/4VbdjGtMLC for a statement.
— Thierry Henry (@ThierryHenry) December 1, 2014
It’s great for connecting athletes to fans and media. But, when it comes to one’s own message, most people have more to say than 140-characters. Especially when it comes to an athlete of Henry’s status in the footballing world. Just tweeting: “I won’t be returning to the New York Red Bulls in 2015” wouldn’t be sufficient. No, more context is needed. And that’s what Facebook provides. Perhaps that could be a tagline: “Beyond-140” or “When 140 isn’t enough”. Okay, not really.
Twitter is reactionary. Because of the 140 limit, it creates a mindset of quick reactions or thoughts. It’s “the place” to go when you have that quick thought or reaction to an event.
Facebook, however, provides a more controlled environment for athletes. When controlling your own message, Facebook forces more thought into the words being typed. If used properly, it’s a Public Relation rep’s dream (largest social media audience) or nightmare (athlete can cut out the middle man if they so choose).
Seeing Henry choose this method is not surprising. Without his own, active website, Facebook is the next best thing. Expect to see more of this in the future. Unless, someone finally realizes the power of video – seeing and hearing it from the athlete directly resonates more than reading their mere words.
Who will be the first?