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Missed Opportunity for the NFL on Opening Weekend

As I write this post on Monday afternoon, the day after Opening Sunday (and six hours before kickoff of Monday Night Football), the NFL is being mentioned on Twitter at an extraordinary rate. In the past hour, “NFL” has been tweeted 1,500+ times.

I want to take this as a chance to highlight a missed opportunity for the NFL. In the past four days (Thursday was the first game of the season and yesterday was Opening Sunday), the league has received thousands and thousands of mentions and @replies, yet they’ve failed to respond to a single fan. It’s about time for the league to stop using their account as a news feed. To be fair, the MLB doesn’t do much better, but the NBA and NHL both respond to fans all the time. And you can bet if it were opening day, their feeds would be full of @replies.

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Pro-Athlete Bloggers

One of the first posts I ever wrote for SportsNetworker was about Gilbert Arenas, the true pioneer of the social media space for professional athletes. Shaq gets the credit for being the one who led the way, because of his use of Twitter, but Gilbert was in the space first. And Gilbert was a blogger! Forget Shaq writing 140-character tweets in 2008, Gilbert was writing blog posts that consisted of hundreds if not thousands of words… two years earlier!

Anyway, this post is not about Shaq or Gilbert Arenas or anyone you’ve likely heard of before. This post is about Swedish professional golfer Alex Noren and minor league baseball player Matt Antonelli. Why? They’re both professional athletes and outstanding bloggers. We focus so much on Facebook & Twitter as the tools athletes should be utilizing, but let’s not forget the power of the blog.

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Following NBA Free Agency

Over the past year, Twitter has shown us its incredible power when it comes to talking about and sharing “breaking news” and current events (not just in sports). For example, last year’s Iranian presidential elections completely dominated Twitter for a number of weeks, and became the medium for finding out what was happening in the Middle East. Other major news events, like the Hudson River plane crash and Michael Jackson’s death, have proven the same.

July 1 marked the start of one of the biggest summers in the history of the National Basketball Association. A number of the league’s premier players, including LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade, became free agents. 2010 NBA free agency has been quite an experience, and Twitter has truly given fans an insight into free agency unlike we’ve ever had before. Like the events mentioned previously, Twitter has completely altered who controls the messaging and the way we gather information.

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