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SFF Conference: Execs Find Twitter To Be Beneficial Outlet, But Challenges Still Exist
Published April 18, 2013
USING TWITTER TO FILL THE GAPS: The panelists discussed Twitter's ability to get news or info out that previously would not have had an appropriate outlet. Baum said, "There are certain stories and certain photos that we don't necessarily have a particular place to go with. We have a lot of celebrities that come to our games, and you don't want to send a press release out, or an e-mail, of say, Justin Bieber wearing a Nets hat. So we'll tweet those photos out, and they'll always get picked up by various publications." While Twitter's immediacy and scope is clearly advantageous for spreading news quickly, Baum said there are situations in which news will have more legitimacy if broken by more traditional means such as the local newspaper. "Sometimes it's more meaningful to get a story where somebody else is announcing the news, rather than you're announcing the news," he said. Thomson added there are many occasions when Sporting KC uses Twitter as "more of a rah-rah tool" to drive the news, because the social media site "doesn't really paint the whole story."
VERIFYING NEWS STILL IMPORTANT: Courtemanche noted when former MLSer Robbie Rogers recently announced he was homosexual on Twitter, virtually every media outlet immediately went to press with the story. However, he noted the AP did not, waiting until they sourced the story either directly from Rogers or his agent. Thomson recounted a situation in which a K.C. journalist went to press with a former MLSer's tweet, announcing he was going to be playing for Sporting KC. But the tweet turned out to be an April Fool's joke. Thomson said, "Unlike a poorly written, or misrepresenting article from five years ago, it's a short shelf life of him getting criticized, and it's kind of forgotten. So, it is different how information and how journalists are treated in the short cycles of news anymore."
DIFFERENT MODELS FOR TEAMS: Baum said that Twitter usage for the Nets and Barclays Center is managed by a social media team, under the umbrella of the Nets' marketing department. But Thomson said, "For us, social media does fall under the communications department, which is rare in Major League Soccer. We're one of three teams or so that does this. It's really bridged the gap, too. I meet now way more with our sponsorship department team, and our marketing side, because it does help in our merchandise sales." He added Sporting KC often tweets photos of new merchandise, and a certain number of tweets or social media references can be built into the team's agreement with a certain marketing partner.