“How short would Player X’s career have been if Twitter was around during his playing days?”
It’s a question that athletes wouldn’t have even had to consider a decade ago but is now an inescapable part of being an athlete in 2017. Given the immediacy and virality of social media, fans and teams are expected – as they should be – to be on their best behaviour at all times.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Similar to my post last week in which I pointed out how social media is changing the world of sports viewing, Twitter, in particular, is changing how athletes and teams market themselves in the digital age.
Building A Brand
Although athletes have the benefit of possessing a personalized, human element to their Twitter accounts, I would argue it’s the team who have made better use of the social media tool. It’s true that most teams have a pretty boring approach to Twitter – although, thankfully, most social media departments are realizing the need to step up their online games – but some teams have been early pioneers.
The Los Angeles Kings have perhaps the most well-known reputation, at least in the National Hockey League if not the sports world at large, with close to 1.1 million followers on Twitter. They’ve made trolling a regular occurrence and even inspired a best-of list of some of their most memorable and hilarious tweets.
Their social media presence was so successful and notorious it even earned the man behind the keyboard a feature article (how many social media operators can say that?).
(But watch out, LA. The Dallas Stars are coming in hot with some great content of their own.)
Peek Behind the Curtain
As fans, our exposure to our favourite athletes used to be what reporters wrote in the following day’s paper. But with 24/7 access to social media, fans can not only get a glimpse into the lives of those same athletes but also get a better sense of their personalities.
Once again, one of the most notorious athletes for this comes from the hockey world (admittedly, his reputation was one of the reasons I joined Twitter in the first place). Paul Bissonnette isn’t a household name for his play on the ice, but his online popularity is another story, amassing 1.03 million Twitter followers.
As with the Kings’ account, Bissonnette also inspired an uncommon but awesome best-of list of his own. The funniest part about his fame, in my opinion, is that he achieved such notoriety from fans for his what-goes-around-comes-around approach to mocking and at times humiliating fans.
As I noted in my last article, risks are simply a fact of life on social media – but that doesn’t mean the risk can’t be reduced. One of the most common risks is pushing the envelope a little too far, which can burn you as some users have learned the hard way.
The operator of the Houston Rockets’ Twitter account learned the hard way that there are limits after he was fired in 2015 for posting a controversial tweet as his team neared a playoff victory. NFL player Antonio Brown was fined for breaking league policy by posting a live video to Facebook just minutes after a game.
And even Bissonnette was forced to step away from Twitter in order to resurrect his career, due to the negative attention his unique brand of online activity attracted.
Most of the accounts listed above are those that I’m familiar with (and enjoy), but I want to know: Who are some of your favourite team or athlete social media accounts that you follow?
Twitter promotional post: Are you following the @LAKings or @BizNasty2point0 yet? If not, you should probably get on that – you’re missing out http://wp.me/p3QRy0-gyS
Facebook promotional post: Tired of seeing the same ol’ same ol’ from your favourite teams on Twitter? Check out my article to find a couple of accounts that do it right http://wp.me/p3QRy0-gyS