The world is dominated by the internet. At any given second, you can roll your office chair up to a computer, whip out your smart phone or connect through your gaming console to find up to the second news about pretty much anything.
Sports is no different. The second a big highlight play happens or an athlete is involved in some kind of ordeal or scandal, we’re immediately in the know as fans.
Sports franchises and athletes now use the power or the web – more specifically in the form of social media – to enhance their brands, names and popularity.
Prime time athletes such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Cristiano Ronaldo, Tim Tebow and Nick Swisher use social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to give their followers an up to the minute look into their lives.
Tweets, posts or photos may contain personal information such as a player’s favourite song or “the tune they be feelin'” to photos of women they find attractive to jokes or their personal opinions on how their team is doing.
Sometimes the power of social media can be a good thing. Athletes can immediately let their fans know about charitable foundations they may be involved with and get important information out to millions in a matter of seconds.
However, the reverse is possible. An athlete may rant on their account about a situation that may have best been saved for closed doors and receive a hefty fine for doing so.
Kobe Bryant frequently tweeted about what he thought his team should be doing during their first round playoff match-up against the San Antonio Spurs and received more attention then the series itself (becoming a distraction to your team isn’t a good move by a team’s leader) – which he also turned into a tweet:
“I see my tweeting during the game is being talked about as much as the game itself. Not my intention , just bored as I guess #notagain”
Ronaldo – who has more followers on Twitter then any other athlete – is an avid poster of photos to his fans prior to and after his matches. The photos help build his network of followers which in turn helps his brand grow and it really gives his followers a behind the scenes look into his celebrity life style, which is pretty cool.
None of this would have been possible before the web and social media. You used to have to wait a month before colour photo spreads would be published in magazines or if you were lucky you’d get to see one great shot in a newspaper the day after a big game occurred.
Now, up to the second footage, photos, highlights and more springboard their way onto our computer screens seconds after they occur and make us feel like we’re part of the event.
The power of social media is an amazing thing and it continues to grow. As new, more innovative sites are developed, athletes continue to jump on-board and give the world a look into their lives, which is fine by me, because sometime they really do have something interesting to say, which is probably a better read then your pal @joeschmo who tweets about his new favourite coffee flavour or how much he hates his neighbour’s dog.
You can follow me on Twitter @BryanMcwilliam or find me on Facebook. LinkedIn is also a big favourite of mine, so hit me up on there to talk sports, sports business or just to chat about writing.
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