Twitter. An interesting concept. 140 characters to answer a simple question, “what’s happening?” To be honest, my initial reaction when I first heard about twitter was it was pretty stupid. Why would anyone care what I was doing? But after several years in the twitterverse, I can’t imagine a world without twitter. And it appears I’m not alone, politicians, celebrities, journalists, corporations and many others are embracing this social media tool to engage with their target audience, communicate their message and simply get closer to those they want to connect with. Many athletes have joined the ranks of those who are diving into the twitterverse and to be honest, it is a fans dream when the athlete provides a glimpse into the real world of their daily lives, and on occasion actually connects with the fan.
The NFL and NBA have been on the forefront of embracing twitter. Those athletes on twitter include Paul Pierce, who started a twitter frenzy when he offered Celtics tickets with this tweet “first 5 people who meet me at the garden in the players parking lot entrance at 445 with my jersey on get free tickets password is truth” . Five lucky fans watched the Celtics beat the Oklahoma City Thunder from Pierce’s personal suite. Celtics guard Stephon Marbury is also part of the Twitter community. He already posts personal videos on his website, starbury.com, but saw this as another outlet to spread his own message with statements like: “i like the direct connection to the fans. no espn, no local news, just me and twitterland.”
I’ve been a long time follower of Kerry Rhodes, Arizona Cardinals defensive back. Kerry and I connected over our attention to our moms, and he will often give a shout out to my mom in the twitterverse.
The MLB has been a tad slower than the NFL and NBA to embrace this new way of engaging with their fan base, but they are beginning to catch up. Players across the league are beginning to dabble with this tool and figure out ways to communicate and connect with their fan base. And for those of you who are Royals fans, well, if you are not on twitter, you need to jump into the twitterverse and follow the players who have decided to dive into the social media waters. It can be a tad scary to jump in and converse with tweets. Once you tweet, it is out there in the public stream forever. You can’t take it back, and many an athlete, celebrity, politician, news anchor or ordinary tweep like me has learned the hard way with a tweet gone bad. But despite the risk of a bad tweet, for the fan and for the athlete, twitter is a wonderful way to connect and engage with each other.
The good news for Royals fans who are on twitter? Well, there are players who are on twitter and several of which actually are following some people, including a few fans. The bad news, they don’t tweet often, but perhaps over time as their comfort level grows in the twitterverse, this will change. One player on twitter is Billy Butler (aka, @BillyButlerKC) with approximately 5765 followers and currently following 49 tweeps. Billy doesn’t tweet often with most of his tweets promoting different Royals events, but occasionally he does engage with a fan as in the tweet to @KnytFyre.
Coco Crisp (aka, @coco_crisp) is also on twitter with 8463 followers and following 23. Coco doesn’t tweet often and doesn’t engage with fans, but when he does tweet, it is appreciative of Kansas City and insight into his daily life. A sample tweet…
The most engaging player on twitter, in my opinion, is Josh Fields (@OkieFields) with 1568 followers and following 17. Josh gets this thing called twitter. I would love to see him tweet more, but his tweets are truly conversational with many fans. Hands down, he is the Royals player to follow and the one who could teach the others how to truly use twitter to connect and engage with their fan base.
The good news is some of the players are trying twitter out and for those fans who are on twitter, these players are a good follow to allow a fan some insight into the life of a professional baseball player. It is good to see theseRoyals players on twitter, though it would be great if they tweeted more often. The important thing is that they have twitter accounts and have some tweets. Fans should also not be afraid to engage the players because who knows, the fan might get a tweet from the player engaging them in some conversation. That’s what twitter is all about, the online conversations.