About This Blog

I’ve been a sports fan since I was eight years old. That year, while visiting my grandparents, I sat next to my grandfather while he watched the Philadelphia Phillies on TV. I had no idea who they were playing or what the rules of the game were, but it didn’t matter. I know that he cared an awful lot about what was happening on that screen, and I know I cared an awful lot soon after. That fall, I experienced my first heartbreak when Philadelphia Phillies reliever Mitch Williams gave up a World Series winning home  run to Joe Carter. I vividly remember crying myself to sleep that night.  A year after that, my father bought season tickets for the New England Patriots. A new owner, Robert Kraft, had bought the team, and on the same day he did so, thousands of others had bought season tickets as well. As a sports fan, my life would never be the same after I experienced my first professional football game in person that fall.

Over the course of the next decade, I became an obsessed fan, first with the only two teams I had ever really rooted for, and eventually with sports as a culture. I read boxscores for the whole league in the paper each morning, watched Sportscenter while making breakfast, and listened to the local sports radio station on my commute to school, and later, work. I prided myself on being the first fan to know breaking news, or being the fan other friends came to when they had a question about a player on a roster, a trade rumor, or a coaching change.

That all changed when I discovered Twitter. Since being founded in 2006, Twitter has changed the sports landscape by redefining breaking news. Transactions, rumors, and injury news used to break on TV for some, the morning paper for most. Now, news spreads instantly from media members, agents, or even the athletes themselves. For fans, Twitter has made it possible to connect with fans on a global level.

The results have been overwhelmingly positive. Athletes such as Lance Armstrong, Shaquille O’Neal, and Chad Ochocinco have used the service to enhance their personal brand by directly engaging with fans. Ochocinco once treated fans of an opposing team to dinner, while Shaq used the mico-blogging service to announce his retirement from professional basketball. There have been a few hiccups along the way. Larry Johnson was released from the Kansas City Chiefs for a negative tweet about his coach, and Antonio Cromartie saw his time in San Diego end partially due to his Twitter use. For the most part though, athletes are getting it.

For organizations, governing bodies, and leagues, the curve has been slower. Historically, a large amount of time has been spent creating social media policies for employees and athletes. We’ve only just recently arrived to the point where sport teams themselves are expected to have a social media presence. For those that do, a large percentage of them seem to use Twitter as a bulletin board, posting game results, player transactions, or team news only. Engagement has been slow to evolve.

Make no mistake though, we are entering that phase. Twitter is here to stay, and it will continue to shape the way sporting news is shared. While that relationship grows, I’ll be here to cover it. I hope you’ll join me.

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