Social media is an exciting new medium for people to communicate with each other as well as corporations and journalists they would not normally have access to. According to Internet Live Stats, the world sends 500 million Tweets out each day. Twitter is a necessary tool for any PR professional. In the sports world, Twitter makes it possible for fans to communicate with their favorite players. It can also get players in trouble if they use their social media incorrectly. Here are five ways Twitter has changed sports forever.
1. Instant Scores and Stats
No longer is it necessary for fans to own a television or a cable package to find out what is going on in the game. With a free Twitter account and the correct follows, fans feel like they are right in the media booth at the stadium being handed the first quarter stat-sheet. Cable networks such as ESPN and Fox Sports have created free apps with scores and updates.
Twitter has the option now to watch NFL games live straight from the app, even if a fan does not have an account. This revolutionary idea will keep Twitter relevant and allow fans to avoid expensive cable packages. Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer, and the NCAA are soon joining the NFL as stream options.
2. Communication Between Players and Fans
At this point, it is odd for a famous professional athlete not to have a Twitter account. There are the exceptions like Marcus Mariota who do not want to deal with social media, but for the most part, athletes at least have social media accounts that are run by PR professionals. Fans bombard pro athletes with thousands of mentions per day. Sometimes the pros respond.
3. Memes and Trolling
Twitter is an incredible revolution, but it also gives people the power to ridicule and bully online. Twitter grants anonymity to anyone who signs up. It is almost impossible for the company to track all of the trolls on the site.
Memes — loosely defined as a humor image, video, or text that is rapidly shared via social media — are swift and ruthless over Twitter. The Las Angeles Chargers received a whirlwind of Twitter memes making fun of the organization for their new logo.
4. Fantasy Football
Over 74 million people across the United States play fantasy football. The game –which allows fans to draft and manage a mock team that performs as the players do in real life — has become more and more competitive each year since its inception. Fans create Twitter accounts just to follow prominent sports journalists to get the latest scoop.
Fantasy football accounts communicate back and forth with fans about which players they should ‘start’ or ‘sit’ on their fantasy rosters. Media analysts have gone as far as to host live ‘Q and A’ sessions with their Twitter followers.
5. Community Service Opportunities
Professional athletes are some of the most obscenely wealthy people in America, but some give a good portion of that salary back to the community. Twitter is connecting organizations that need help and funding with athletes who want to give back to their communities. Pro athletes gain fans for posting community giving on their social media accounts. A win-win for everyone involved and an excellent PR opportunity.