Monday, August 3, 2009

Twitter: Blessing in Disguise

I wanted to make this next post about the positive effects Twitter has had on sports marketing, but then I was linked to an article titled "Twitter is a Threat to NFL".

The article shows the caution that the NFL takes towards players using twitter, the uncessary hoopla that can surround twitter updates and the potential for controversy to arise. Twitter is simply a much safer way of communicating information to fans and the media than in person interviews. Very often can sports personalities slip up in interviews, divuldging information that they shouldn't have, or being misquoted by a jaded sports writer. Twitter allows the individual to sit in front of a computer or phone, away from people, and think about what they're going to write. As long as you indicate the necessary rules and precautions that one would take with any sort of team to fan/media communication, I don't understand the reluctancy to employ twitter as a serious mode of communication. The NFL is no stranger to controversy, yet stories like Brett Favre, Terrell Owens and Michael Vick all bring attention and publicity to the league. And those three characters, like baseball with Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire are perceived to the fans as acting individuals. The NFL in this case really gets a free ride of publicity without negative feelings towards themselves as a league or sport. Michael Vick has undoubtedly made them money through his generated publicity. Twitter at the very least is capable of that.

However, Twitter is more than capable of that. There is value in cutting out the middle man (sports writers) between athletes/management and fans. Fans appreciate the fact that they can reply to one of their favorite athletes, regardless of whether or not they do. And if that athlete does, all the better. Armchair GMs, and there are millions, like nothing but to offer their opinions and thoughts on the team: twitter is the means at which they can. And the time spent in this communication venue is time spent thinking about the team--it heightens their commitment level. That's money because fans who elevate their commitment levels, buy merchandise, expose themselves to advertisements, and become very attentive to the day-to-day operations will spend more money throughout the course of a season.

The NFL has an overall problem which is controlling player's ego and behaviour. But Twitter is not to blame for a sports culture gone awry. It may be the only device capable of mending relationships between players and fans.