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Sports and Social Media

July 14, 2009

One of today’s big stories in the internet hockey world is Martin Havlat’s Twittering about all of the ish that allegedly went down with the Blackhawks while he was there. Obviously, he can’t talk about it, but it’s major stuff, you know. I personally think he’s being a tease about it. If you can’t talk about it, don’t even dangle the “I know something you don’t know” carrot. You’re just going to piss a lot of people off.

At the office, I subscribe to a plethora of Mediapost e-newsletters. For every five that are duds, I get the occasional e-newsletter that piques my interest. Today’s “Marketing: Sports” e-newsletter was especially interesting. It talks about something that everyone is becoming increasingly aware of in the sports world. Whether the MSM likes it or not, fans, athletes, teams and leagues are now a part of the media. Teams are increasingly adding video and audio to their sites, fans are twittering from their seats at the arena, fans, media and players alike are all blogging. It’s one giant content generating machine. No longer does one have to wait for the morning sports section or the 11pm news to see who won the game and what the commentary on it is. Often times, commentary is happening as the game is being played.

Is this a good thing? Yes. By increasing the amount of content generated, you’re seeing more information exposed and allowing more people to have a voice. The blogosphere/message board arena went nuts during the Buffalo/Ottawa brawl game a couple years ago. Could you imagine how much more crazy it would have been had Twitter been around at the time?

On the otherhand, is this a bad thing? Yes. Athletes almost have no privacy now. Every move they make can be Twittered out into the world without a second thought. Get a little slushy on Chippewa one night? You’re blog fodder the next day. Previously, you just had to worry about whoever saw you telling their little circle of friends. Now, that little circle of friends is the entire freaking world. I mean, look at what happened last season with Mike Commodore and that unfortunate picture of him rolling in dough after winning a Super Bowl bet. An innocent Facebook posting turned into a “scandal.” An admittedly mild scandal, but a scandal nonetheless.

I also don’t want to see players Tweeting from the bench during a game. In the case of hockey, I think it’s physically impossible to text with hockey gloves on from the bench, but that doesn’t mean our enterprising band of little snots couldn’t find a way to do so. I also think they shouldn’t be tweeting from the locker rooms during intermissions. Those should still remain the domain of potty breaks, snacks, equipment adjustments, pep talks and scathing lectures.

Personally, I still recognize the value and necessity of the mainstream media. They have the credibility and access that a lot of bloggers don’t. And while some bloggers do get access to different press boxes (depending on the sport and team), there’s still a lot of bias against blogs and social media by the teams. Every blogger is assumed to be like Ek, making ish up depending on which way the wind is blowing. While I do get tired of the attitudes displayed by some members of the MSM, they still provide a valuable service to fans everywhere.

That thud you heard was just me falling off my soapbox.

One comment

  1. I agree with you fully! I could probably go into a whole tangent and write a 10 page paper about the affects of the media…but all I’ll say is this… There are certain kinds of people who can’t get enough of some stories and they feed off everything the media provides them, and then there’s the group of people who think it’s absolutely absurd that certain stories are getting half the coverage/attention that they are. I think I fall in the latter category.

    Obviously I’m not “anti-media”. I enjoy reading blogs (and posting them) and posting on message boards. I like how the internet has provided us with great communication tools to get the latest buzz on certain things (especially with hockey), but I always follow the age-old statement, “Everything in moderation.”



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