Callum Borchers' Blog

Sociologically significant sports (and class assignments)

Tweeting the Celtics-Heat mega-opener

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I think I now understand Twitter‘s appeal to professional athletes and fans, and I can summarize my conclusion in two words: direct access.

Sports reporters are the traditional middle men between the two parties. Fans want to know what’s on athletes’ minds but can’t ask directly, so they read writers or watch commentators who can. Many — though not all — athletes want to share their thoughts with fans but can’t speak to them all directly, so they talk to reporters.

Twitter — to a degree, at least — cuts out the media middle men by providing direct, digital links between athletes and fans.

My guess is this realization is far from original, but since my Twitter career is less than 48 hours old, it’s new to me. And I reached it, in part, by following some of the folks involved in last night’s basketball epic, the NBA opener between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.

I imagine you could do this for any sporting event, but this one was particularly entertaining because it featured some of the game’s most loquacious stars: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Shaquille O’Neal.

It also had the benefit of Bill Simmons‘ attendance. As anyone who reads his blog knows, The Sports Guy is, at heart, The Boston Sports Guy. And though he’s known for wicked long posts, his sarcasm and wit are perfect for the quick-hit Twitter format. I particularly enjoyed this morning’s gem: “Riding Acela to Philly for Miami’s 2nd game. Heat are so fascinating that I think I’m taking in all 82. Haven’t told my wife yet.”

Indeed, they are fascinating. LeBron, in particular. Even a Twitter novice, like me, knows King James is a prolific re-Tweeter, thanks to the debate in recent weeks about his passing along venomous, racist Tweets about himself.

During the buildup to last night’s game, however, LeBron played up positive messages,  like this one from @E_CocosBoy: “Its crazy how just about every black person n Akron, Oh is rooting for the Heat tonight.”

After their rooting proved ineffective in an 88-80 loss, LeBron Tweeted, “Rome wasn’t built in a Day! Work in progress. On to the next one.”

While I haven’t fully embraced Twitter (I mean, I am one of the middle men), I am beginning to recognize its value. And the simple fact is if I want to cover sports thoroughly, I need to pay attention to what athletes say in every forum, including Twitter. If I don’t, fans may end up knowing more than I do.


Written by callumborchers

October 27, 2010 at 12:16 pm

One Response

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  1. […] it was an opportunity for “some of the game’s most loquacious stars” to tweet, says Callum Borchers. He concludes that if he doesn’t follow what athletes are saying on Twitter, “fans may […]

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