COMM15 – Blog Post #1 / Tools & Sources

Here’s a question: why would any individual or business organization spend so much time on social media? Facebook and Twitter are for phone-addicted young people to use in their spare time, right?

As Justin Trudeau once said, because it’s 2015. Ok, so it’s 2016, but the point remains.

We live in a completely different world than we did ten years ago. Actually, we live in two different worlds. Businesses cater to real people in a tangible, physical reality – but they also interact, sell and listen in the digital world. Listening is the first step in reaching any online demographic, and the sources and tools that we use to do so are vast and various.

As a part of the industry of tennis media, I’ve had the change to really explore the digital landscape of sport. I’d like to think I know it pretty well. Using two of my favourite tools, I’ve been able to keep a close eye on everything tennis related over the years – both as a fan and as employed by the industry.

Hootesuite and Tweetdeck are invaluable tools for any social media listener. I get a feel for community, real-time updates, and an easy to use interface that allows me to keep track of thousands of different social media accounts. Used in tandem, both tools provide all the same updates as an RSS feed dashboard (such as feedly.com), and both use a similar interface that I like to have open on two separate screens. Users like to post and retweet news articles across social media, making an RSS platform unnecessary (so long as you’re following the right people), and the ability to track trends and hashtags on both means you are always up to date on the big stories right when they happen.

Tweetdeck I use exclusively for Twitter happenings. I have multiple Twitter accounts for various organizations (including my personal one!), and each timeline is unique and requires separate attention. I keep certain users separated on different feeds, as well as certain trends depending on the time of the year in tennis (such as #USOpen hashtag when the US Open is taking place, or Tennis Canada’s #sleepisfortheweek hashtag during the Australian Open). On Hootesuite, I place all my other social media platforms, including Instagram and Facebook, and monitor those platforms as I would Twitter on Tweetdeck.

Getting the right news updates from the right sources is imperative to social media listening. In tennis, there are two sources that always keep me posted on all the breaking news within the sport. The first, of course, is Twitter, where I have a specific list of reputable journalists that are always bringing real-time coverage of tennis. This list includes Ben Rothenberg of the NY Times and the @WTA_insider account, which is the WTA’s own agent of inside tennis coverage on the women’s tour.

The other source is this underground Portuguese tennis website called “Bola Amarela.” Random, I know (– and I don’t even speak Portuguese). I personally view this website and its accompanying Facebook page to be an exceptional model of how to use social media in the sport industry. They have all the videos of all the crazy things that happen in the tennis industry, from the very top levels to the lower amateur levels of the sport. I check in on Bola Amarela daily to get a glimpse at what’s happening in the tennis world.

Sure, there’s a lot of social media to scan if you want to be consistently immersed in your industry – but hey, it’s 2016 and that’s just how the world works.

COM 0015 BLOG POST #1 Social Media Preferences

tweetdeck

My favorite social media site for professional purposes is Twitter’s Tweetdeck. I have this site open all day at work and I really appreciate the multi-tabs which allow one to monitor various tweets from multiple sources. I have my tweets set to Canadian, US and international news along with trends. Given I work in the news business, this tool has become essential especially during breaking news as it allows you to plug in the hashtag related to this news and you can monitor a tab for all posts related to this story. I am also somewhat selective in terms of those people and sites I follow.
Twitter has changed how I get my news first thing in the morning. A year ago I would listen to NPR and read the Washington Post, now I still listen to the radio in the morning, however I first sign on to Twitter and check posts within the last hour, as well as newspaper articles attached or mentioned in a particular post. Once I have filtered through this information, I think begin going through various newspaper, television and radio websites for any additional stories or background information which I may need for my work day.
Though on a personal level, I do monitor my facebook page on a regular basis, I do not consider this an avenue for work or a place to get information that will help me professionally. For this information, I turn to LinkedIn.
linked in
I have made a lot of professional connections though this website and now I receive regular email updates in terms of recent job openings and discussions through groups, for example, group-digests@linkedin.com, which will have relevant topics on the film and television industry which is of interest. Here I can also participate in these discussions, pose questions or learn about online forums which may be useful professionally. I have also found LinkedIn a very useful tool for staying in touch with former colleagues and for finding academics and experts who may have an opinion useful for a story which we are trying to tell.
Though I seldom send tweets, I do retweet items I find interesting. I can also use this tool if I need an opinion or suggestion for something which I am working on. As for LinkedIn, I keep my profile up to date, check to see if there are other people I can connect to, and I do look through discussions and posts which I feel will help me professionally.
I would strongly suggest becoming a member of LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com, even as a means of having another means by which future potential employers can search you, and a way to keep up to date with changing trends within your business. As for twitter, it is a quick way to dip in and out of subjects/topics/trends of interest to you.