The Twitter Affect

Twitter has become the new, hot thing for athletes to use.  The more followers an athlete has, the bigger star he or she has become. Almost every star athlete has an account, and updates his or her thoughts daily, if not hourly.

One would think that the idea of athletes publishing their feelings regularly would hurt a sports journalist. Who needs to watch or read the news to see player reactions when you can look at their reactions online?

Well, surprisingly, Twitter has been a great tool for sports journalists. Under normal conditions, a sports journalist only has access to athletes for a small amount of time a day. Now, just like the rest of us, they have access to them all the time.

Many Twitter post have generated stories for sports journalists. Just this past week, Robert Henson of the Redskins tweeted about his unhappiness with the Redskins fans who had booed the team as they were exiting the field.

Henson’s “Tweet” read: “All you fake half-hearted Skins fan can .. I won’t go there but I dislike you very strongly, don’t come to Fed Ex to boo dim wits!!”

This one little tweet blew up, and every major media outlet in the DC area, and nationally, picked up the story.  The DC Sports Bog picked it up, ESPN picked it up, and NBC Sports picked it up. The story was also widely discussed on ESPN programs like Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn. It also reached ESPN radio- this segment is from ESPN Radio show Mike & Mike in the Morning, which is also broadcasted on TV during the day.

The Robert Henson incident, as I like to call it, is not the only story to come from Twitter. Michael Beasley, a basketball player for the Miami Heat, was having depression issues and checked himself into rehab. Beasley made his trip to rehab known through twitter posts.

Once again, sports journalists used twitter as the start point for a story, both nationally and locally.

Twitter has already served as the source of multiple stories written by sports journalists. With so many athletes using Twitter, it will continue to be a great resource for sports journalists to find out what’s going on with these athletes at all hours of the day.

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4 Comments on “The Twitter Affect”

  1. Anne Blessing Says:

    It is funny to me that that Tweet from the Redskin player got so popular! I had thought that you would go in the direction of uncovering how sportscasters and fans are utilizing social media, but I never thought of the actual players! I wonder what their PR person is thinking about all those tweets.

    Do a lot of players have Twitters? What is the popularity/how many followers do they have? That would be interesting to know. I imagine football players as guys who just go out on the field every Sunday or Monday and throw a ball around. It is easy to forget that they have other lives and a real personality behind all those pads!

  2. Stefan Wisnoski Says:

    Frank! I used this exact same example in my post about twitter earlier. Check it out at wisnosse.wordpress.

    Great minds think alike.

  3. Jared Ruppert Says:

    I find myself constantly using Twitter to get up-to-date on my favorite athletes. I find it somewhat disappointing that some leagues are making regulations regarding athletes and Twitter (along with other social media). I feel that this type of Athlete-viewer relationship could only benefit the leagues. Even bizarre posts such as Terrell Owens are at least amusing.

  4. Amy English Says:

    Twitter is a great primary source of information for journalists; it’s straight from the horse’s mouth. I wonder, however, if it will help or harm journalism in the end? Will Twitter followers rely on 140 characters for their information or will they go beyond and check out what a certified journalist has to say about that tweet? I’m interested in your topic and also interested to see how big of an impact Twitter has in sports journalism.


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