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Why Twitter rocks for sports coverage

Jul 19, 2011, 11:04 AM EDT

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Twitter went a little haywire last night, just as there were nine or ten ballgames in progress.  The fact that it absolutely drove me and a bunch of other people nuts was kind of surprising to me.  I’ve been on Twitter less than two years. Surely I can enjoy an evening of baseball without hearing what a few hundred other people are saying about it in real time, right?

Well, sure I can. I survived last night.  But it wasn’t easy, and it brought home just how integrated Twitter, blogs, real-time box scores and all of that are to my baseball watching and writing life.  And, as more people plug in, it will become a part of their lives too.

Jason Fry has a great post up about that today, and about how sports lend themselves so comfortably and fully to social media and the Internet in general.  In making his argument, he touches somewhat on a lot of the things I’ve been saying for a few months now about how the next-day story of a game and the weekly or semi-weekly column explaining What’s Goin On In Sports is becoming obsolete.  Indeed, Jason notes that that stuff is increasingly unnecessary and probably inorganic to the nature of sports to begin with:

Sports is news, but most of it isn’t news the way a plane crash or a scientific discovery is news. I know the Mets are playing the Marlins tonight and one of the two teams will win, even though I have no idea which team it will be. Previously, accounts of games generally emerged only when all was said and done: We got a game story or a highlights package. But this isn’t how we watch sports – we do that in real time, constructing narratives as we go. Each twist and turn is good or bad, and we like to guess at how things will turn out, note potential turning points, and gloat, celebrate, commiserate or argue along the way. Twitter is a perfect fit for this: Now, beat writers can note significant plays, provide historical context, analyze decisions and so on long before their gamers are filed, and fans can talk to them and to each other as the game winds its way to a conclusion.

There’s much more to it, so click through.  And if you’re interested in these topics, bookmark Jason’s page.  He has gold like this quite frequently.

  1. Chris Fiorentino's Rash - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    For those of you that just refuse to go with the herd or you might even have Ornithophobia, I recommend RSS feeds as an alternative.

    I personally like rss, for the most part I can avoid the “twatting” and stick to written words that people think about before publishing. (for the most part)

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:37 AM

      I never avoid twatting. Wait, what are you talking about? Oh, that’s how you got that rash.

  2. yankeesfanlen - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    Twitter is fun. Kind of like a laugh track during games, but in a good way.

    Actually, if you use it analytically most beat writers and bloggers are there all at once and you get some good interpretations of the plays. Then there are a few civilians that add levity.

    My favorite is “FakeJohnSterling”.
    “The Hebrew home in Riverdale is like a college campus……those old folks like their weed”

  3. ricofoy - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Tweet this. I guess Twitter is fun if you’re all by your lonesome watching a game and all your “friends” consist of strangers chiming in with their own inane opinions and unwitty comments of what you’re already seeing with your own two eyes.

    • jeffhink - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      I’d rather go through the game with them than you.

      • ricofoy - Jul 19, 2011 at 12:09 PM

        Because you have no one else. It beats talking to yourself, right?

    • yankeesgameday - Jul 19, 2011 at 12:02 PM

      Half of the Twitter population falls into that category and the other half are bloggers, sports writers and advertisers looking for click throughs. And don’t forget, the vast majority of sports writers you might follow are really just trying to impress each other and you’re just eavesdropping on their conversations.

  4. nategearhart - Jul 19, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    So all the Twitter haters are chiming in. It’s funny to me that they choose to laugh at Twitter-ers “lack of life and friends, and crashing the sportswriters’ party” in the comment section of a sportswriter’s blog.

  5. APBA Guy - Jul 19, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    I can see the value for professionals-it gets a message out and generates brand awareness, plus, they might intercept a thread they can use in their revenue generating endeavors. And for the average guy, following a certain number people can be fun and informative.

    Too many people cross a line on it, when you see people at social situations with their phone out, scrolling down, ignoring or barely aware of the real people around them. Part of it is “look at me”, and part of it is “I have to do this or my inbox will be swamped”.

  6. sportsdrenched - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Oh good, the “You talk to people on the internet so you must not have any freinds or a life” Argument.

    Or, I assume most people are like me. I would prefer to get together with my freinds and watch games. That would be awesome….except that rarely happens. I have family and community obligations, and my freinds have family and community obligations. My wife nor children care about a regular season baseball game. I have got an hour of free time while I watch baseball? What’s wrong with dialing up Twitter to see what the baseball (or sports) universe is talking about?

    I was slow to get on the Twitter bandwagon but I’m glad I did. It’s because I have freinds, life, hobbies, and interests that I am on Twitter, not the because I lack them.

    and shameless plug. I’m @outsideinKS19

    • nategearhart - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:06 PM

      Twitter brings Royals fans together.

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