When I look back over some of my very first tweets, I gag.
I adopted Twitter in March 2009 during the heat of NBA regular season stretch run. As the Dallas Mavericks pre- and post-game show host for TXA21, part of the Dallas/Fort Worth TV networks, I covered the Mavericks like a wet blanket.
I didn’t have a strong understanding of Twitter strengths at the time so I would tweet play-by-play. “Dirk 1-legged turn-around fadeaway.” “Parker drives the lane.” “Mavs up 12”.
Thankfully, I quickly learned that’s not the best practice for sharing knowledge on this powerful social media platform. Unfortunately, too many users haven’t followed suit.
During NFL, NBA and MLB games my timeline is littered with play-by-play from fellow reporters. The thing is, that’s not what I or other followers want to know. We want what we’re not seeing on TV or hearing on the radio: insight, context and perspective.
Twitter 101: Live Tweeting
When it comes to a sporting event, it’s not about live-tweeting play-by-play. It’s about sharing your perspective on the game and adding context to what’s happening.
If you’re a reporter who covers a team, add your unique knowledge to the conversation. Did you talk to an NFL defensive lineman during the week about an opposing team’s quarterback? If that DL records a sack during the game, share what he told you.
For example: “Tyrone Crawford told me he watched extra video of Mark Sanchez. After that sack it’s obvious the homework worked. Job. Done.”
That tweet adds context to the story. It establishes your expertise and strengthens your credibility. Your followers don’t need live play-by-play of what happens during the game. They have ESPN game tracker for that. They want what you see at the stadium, what you know about the players and your knowledge of the matchup.
Other Important Things To Share
Sharing the environment, important stats and injury updates is recommended too. Is it freezing cold, boiling hot or ear-splittingly loud? Tweet about it and add a picture to further drive home your point. Did that run by DeMarco Murray put him in the record books? Share the numbers on the run and the mark it broke. Is a player out for the game? That’s good to note but also add who will be filling in, as well.
Don’t be afraid to show your personality. My most engaged tweets are ones in which I add a bit of snark. Note the one comparing the 1st half of a Cowboys/Eagles game to my daughter’s dirty diaper. Too much? Perhaps. Engaging? Definitely.
I’ll close our Twitter 101 course with this: Your Twitter followers turn to you for your expertise and personality. When it comes to a sporting event, be generous with that. Enhance their viewing experience by sharing information they can’t get from the TV and radio broadcasts. Use the game to help your followers get more out of the game. Your platform will likely benefit from it in the process.