Tag Archives: Twitter

Sports in a Social World

Today I bought a Blackberry. That got me thinking (and Fus as well) about the state of a sports fan in today’s media world. I posted a couple of thoughts on my latest SportsFanLive blog post. The link is below:

You can check the article out here.


Tweeting from the Stadium, Take 2

Hopefully tonight will allow me to tweet from Yankee Stadium. It appears my phone and Twitter have finally found each other.

Follow me on Twitter to get updates from wherever I may be in Yankee Stadium.

ESPN’s Foray Into Social Media Quicksand

pacman twitter

When I first saw the two stories I linked to in yesterday’s post regarding ESPN’s social media smackdown, I was admittedly pretty shocked. The World Wide Leader decided to place some serious stipulations on their talent’s presence in the social media world. No platform was excluded: Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, blogs and any other social media outlet there is, are now all subject to ESPN’s Gestapo-like smackdown on their on-air personalities.

It’s unclear to me why ESPN would do something like this, but I’ll explore a couple different possibilities and then take a look at what this might mean for the rest of the industry in the social media world.

So what motivations does ESPN have for this and why is it a bad move on their part?

-ESPN seems to be worried about damaging things that its employees could say, either about their co-workers or about the company. The statement reeks of lawyers and jurisprudence. ESPN is most likely paranoid about a potential P.R. nightmare if Bill Simmons tweets a sarcastic comment about Rick Reilly, or if another personality is unhappy with an editorial decision and decides to write a blog post about it. The Leader, presumably, wants to avoid the situation entirely.

espn devil

-Like any other “brand,” ESPN wants to keep its message consistent. That means that the company wants its  goals and ideals to remain on point, from the leadership at the top down to its employees. This becomes very hard to do when your employees are off tweeting and blogging about a million different things, generally still related to the company’s focus, but not in the same way in which the company would like. For instance, if Tony Kornheiser tweets about a photo shoot with Danica Patrick, while this still relates to sports, it’s not exactly the message ESPN wants to be sending.

-ESPN referenced several times in its memo that the purpose of its employees using the social space should be to constantly promote and enhance ESPN. That tells me that the network is worried its parts could potentially become bigger than the whole. It seems they are worried that a Bill Simmons or Kenny Mayne could become so big in the social space, whether it’s on Twitter or Facebook or a blog, that they are no longer driving people to ESPN, but instead becoming their own entity.

– Because so many athletes now use social media, I think ESPN is worried about the types of interactions its personalities might have with these athletes. The ethical codes of the online world are hazy at best, and people often don’t think before they throw something in a blog post or tweet (which is stupid, because an online trail is easier to track than an offhand remark made on the street). Regardless, there could be some athlete-analyst conversations online that ESPN might not wants its employees to engage in, for whatever reason.

So what’s my problem with ESPN’s stance? A few points:

– The whole point of social media is to engage. For brands, social media engages consumers at the micro-level, developing a sense of brand loyalty and inter-connectedness that traditional means of advertising can only dream of (again, see: Buddy Media, the experts on this new form of targeted advertising). When ESPN’s personalities blog, tweet, message, etc., fans are able to interact with them in a way that is not available through television or writing. So why in the world would ESPN try to limit this? Though I mentioned they might fear their personalities grow bigger than or separate themselves from the ESPN brand, I don’t actually believe that. People know the talent works for ESPN. By engaging with them, they only grow closer to the network, even if it’s indirectly. If Person A likes what Scott Van Pelt is tweeting, and maybe gets a message from him, you better believe they’ll be tuning in to watch Van Pelt on Sportscenter. The same goes for writers and radio hosts. Engage the audience in their living room, and you’ll earn a permanent seat at their dinner table.


– By limiting the content that its personalities can use in the social space, ESPN loses a major edge in the race to deliver instant news. As Deadspin notes, people use Twitter to find out information when it’s happening, rather than waiting for an editor to parse through it. The Leader could fall victim to its own cautiousness if it keeps getting beat to scoops by reporters from other outlets tweeting.Plus, reading about the behind-the-scenes aspect of reporting is really appealing to me and many others, and makes following these personalities worthwhile.

As far as what this means for the rest of media depends on what they think of ESPN’s crackdown. If other outlets think this makes sense, Twitter might start to lose some of its luster. But I think media outlets currently make good use of Twitter, and reporters enjoy the new level of communication they have with their audience.

But all it takes is one bad apple to spoil the bunch (I think that’s the expression). Inevitably, a situation will arise that forces all media outlets to evaluate their use of social media. At that point, media outlets will either continue engaging its audience in the social realm or they’ll move back offline.

If they’re smart, they’ll choose the former.

ESPN Laying the Smackdown on Tweeting?

A couple of links today. Analysis on them to follow tomorrow.

Here are two articles from Deadspin about ESPN cracking down on the tweeting of its employees:

Part 1

Part 2

Stay tuned. This might change a lot in the media world. My thoughts coming tomorrow…

Hasheem Thabeet doesn’t like Obese Flyers


Recent Memphis Grizzlies draft pick and former UConn superstar Hasheem Thabeet was on a flight tonight from Houston to Memphis. Thabeet, a very tall man, was sitting in the emergency exit row, presumably so he could have more leg room.

But that all changed when a man Hasheem described as a “big hommie” sat next to him. Thankfully, Thabeet had his phone to tweet us all about it before taking off. Here is what ensued:


Dude Took 2 seats!! Is this Legal?? Lmbo @mw1ll u gonna crack up if u see this flick!!

I feel bad!! But the guy was suppose to sit with me on the exit row seat since it’s all same seats, meaning no 1st class, smh at expressjet!

So I ended up gettin moved since the big guy took seat 12C and 12B I was suppose to be on B and now I don’t have exit row seat nomore!! FML

The dude didn’t even say thanks I let him sit on 2seats and one of them is mine!! Twittpic him? Lm(african)bo and he not even smillin! Pause

Hahahah he introduced himself to the other passengers!!! His name is Wayne!! Lmabo!

Oh and I didn’t know they have extenders for the seatbelt in the plane wat the hell?? Wat is this takin 2 seats?? Lmabo

Why extenders?? Why can’t he use the other belt?? Lol hillarious!!

@azamowaisi wat I was doin is talkin my life out, I’m 7″3 and they move me so somebody that 5″6 can sit on 12B and 12C, is that fair!? Smh

@Jrudner RT hey man. I’m the fan who flew with you. You’re right, that one guy was huge and a jerk. < to peepo thinkin I’m hatin!!

Well then. The next time you get into some sort of altercation with a person on a plane, train, in the grocery store or at work, you might want to check whether they just tweeted about you to the entire world. Especially if you’re overweight.

If I were Hasheem though, I would be careful about ripping into the overweight. The city where he is set to play, Memphis, was named America’s most obese city in 2007. Not a good way to make friends and fans.

Marbury Chats with the Ladies…and more from Twitterland


A couple of interesting things popping up from athletes on my Twitter feed today:

Stephon Marbury is quickly becoming one of my favorite athletes to follow on Twitter. He already is unintentionally hilarious as it is (see video below, when he is in rare form), but his use of online media has been splendid. Take a look at his latest:

@StarburyMarbury: im going to be holding a live chat session for all of the ladies. just the ladies to help me be a better man from your point of view.

If you don’t think I will be pretending to be a lady so that I can see what kinds of ridiculous things he has to say, you are sadly mistaken. Here is the video with NBC NY’s Bruce Beck:

Not surprisingly, Chad Johnson continues to tweet out bizarre things on a regular basis. Here was a tweet today in which he discussed Sex in the City:

@OGOchoCinco: How would a sex n the city movie be with 4 Sistas, who would be the four, I got two so far, Vivica Fox and Gabrielle Union

Having a better knowledge about womens high end shoes and purses a bad thing, I was naming everything in Sex n the City

Bengals fans should feel good knowing their wide receiver is mentally prepared for the start of the season.

Bill Simmons is one of the best sportswriters to follow on Twitter. He continuously brings great links, insight and humor to the table. Here are two tweets from this afternoon:

@SportsGuy33: Saturday Suck Update: I’d turn on Cards game to root against Lugo, but Fox is monopolizing my baseball day with a 9-2 Ana-Minn blowout.

Seriously, how hard is it to run a professional sports league? Isn’t rule No. 1, “Don’t totally antagonize your fan base?”

Have to agree with him. I’ve never understood Fox’s Saturday Baseball coverage plan. Can’t they do it like CBS does with the NCAA tournament, so if there’s a good game going on, you aren’t stuck watching a blowout?

Finally, we have this from Dwayne Wade:

@DWadeOfficial: This is for Lamar Odom…come back to where it started for the both of us..the franchise u help build back up wants u to End it all here

odom heat

Moving past the fact that Wade seems to be saying the Heat want Odom to “end it all” in Miami, Wade’s use of Twitter as a plea for a player to join his team is very interesting.

Clearly, the tweet was not really an attempt to get Lamar Odom to come play for Miami. Players can call each other and talk about that, and they have agents to help in that process as well. They don’t need to tweet each other. Plus, Odom isn’t even an avid tweeter. In my opinion, this was D-Wade’s attempt to build some buzz about the possibility of Odom coming back to the Heat at Wade’s behest.

Wade knows he has 50,000+ followers, many of whom will re-tweet his plea or who are in the media/blogosphere and will write about it (like I’m doing now). Since the media has moved into the business of tracking athletes’ tweets, this is a story that could potentially gain traction. Before you know it, Odom might be fielding questions from reporters about the possibility of signing with the Heat and about Wade’s public plea for him to return.

Whether or not this has any sort of effect on Odom’s decision making process, I don’t know. I’ve always wondered how much of an impact players have on their free agent friends in trying to persuade them to sign with them. But regardless, this is a new means by which athletes can create a buzz among fans and the media, especially during the offseason.

*Have a tweet you think should be on the site? Follow @andrewgothelf and reply to him with the best, worst and weird of twitter.

Between the Tweetset: 7/24/09


Like it or not, Twitter is a phenomenon that is changing the way people communicate and gather information. And while there are plenty of good tidbits that can be learned 140 characters at a time through Twitter, there is also plenty of garbage. Between the Tweetset will pick out the best and the worst from the world of Twitter, focusing primarily, though not exclusively, on Tweets from the sporting world.

If you have any good tweets or horrific tweets that you think should make it onto the site, follow me @andrewgothelf and RT (re-tweet) them to me.

The Best:

Hoops coach Eric Musselman (@ericmusselman): Coach K: “I want to see who wants to play for their country. Let’s find out who’s got the intensity to represent their country.”

I grew up hating Coach K because of the Duke/Maryland hoops rivalry, and I still hate Duke, but the man is a great coach and did an outstanding job with the Olympic team. Glad he’s going to coach them again.

Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman): Another #confession im tired of espn and nfl network and anybody else putting me anywhere but # 1 on their list…there i said it.

Another #confession the first person i hit this season im going to rip their head off!!!

One of the cooler things about Twitter is that athletes are generally unafraid to speak their mind. Without the filter of sports information directors or agents, they say what they think. Merriman’s tweet isn’t too wild, but it’s refreshing to see him call out the networks when he disagrees with them, even if it seems sort of…well, arrogant.

As for the second tweet…that sounds like a threat.


Shaq: (@The_Real_Shaq): David beckham I kno u hear me, dnt be scared, dnt make me call u out, u will never score a goal on me

One of the more entertaining athletes on Twitter, Shaq decides to call out David Beckham, challening him in soccer? Interesting tactic. I assume this has something to do with Shaq’s forthcoming reality TV show.

Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon): Been on bad end of a nohitter v Twins. its only 1 loss but if memory served me we won the day fol no hitter v Twins We play daily Move on

It’s important following any loss to b the same guy who walks in2 the clubhouse the next day. R guys need to see consistent behavior from me

I think it’s pretty cool to read the mind of a baseball manager, and Joe had some pretty interesting comments after his Rays were on the wrong end of Mark Buerhle’s perfect game. He seems to think the Rays can move past the game, but I personally think it will have a lingering effect on the bats.

The Worst:

Fabian Washington (FABEWASH31): Gotta go get a haircut

When people say Twitter is pointless, it’s these kind of posts that they are referencing. I really don’t care that Fabian is cutting his hair. I want him to tell me things about Ravens training camp. I do appreciate this mention of my hometown, though:

Does anybody know what time the 5 guys in owings mills close?

Apparently his phone can tweet questions, but can’t make phone calls to find out the answer.

Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin): Don’t u hate when ur waitin for someone to pull out of a parking spot and someone else comes and takes it? That just happened to me!

Glad to hear people don’t just let Griffin take their parking spots because of his celebrity. Tough break.  I assume he had his own reserved spot at OU.

Les Miles (@LSUCoachMiles): Out with the family tonight. Eating at portobellos and then maybe a movie!

Maybe Bed, Bath & Beyond, I don’t know. I don’t know if we’ll have enough time.

frank old school

The Weird:

Chad OchoCinco (@OGOchoCinco): Word for the day: Twitter me baby, no more getting phone numbers dudes, she want to holla, tell her, Twitter me baby!

Women if the guys gets on your nerves, you don’t have to change your number, just block his ass!

Chad Johnson is the new pickup artist. I would love to have him giving me advice as I peruse NYC bars.

*Have a tweet you think should be on the site? Follow @andrewgothelf and reply to him with the best, worst and weird of twitter.