Athletes and Social Media
Social media has exploded into the mainstream. I remember the days when only college kids could get Facebook accounts, only bloggers were using Twitter and MySpace was mostly for hooking up. Now even my mom knows what Facebook is. I am Facebook friends with my husband's Aunts and Uncles. They show Twitter quotes on CNN!
It was only a matter of time before the sports leagues all got involved. I know I follow the @WNBA, @NFL, and @NBA just to name a few. I think pretty much every major league and most of the minor ones have somebody (or many people in some cases) tweeting for the league.
Some of the individual athletes have been blogging for a while. I think one of the most famous and one of the earliest adopters was Shaqulle O'Neal. O'Neal is the center for the Phoenix Suns and he has been tweeting under @THE_REAL_SHAQ since November. He has over 865,000 followers! Shaq is great and he actually interacts with and responds to other regular people.
But he is not the only athlete on Twitter. Tiger Woods now has an account. You can follow Serena Williams, Paul Pierce, Terrell Owens, Kristi Tolliver, Eli Manning, Shaun White, Michael Phelps, Tony Hawk, Dara Torres, Nastia Liukin, Candice Wiggins... the list goes on and on.
Most of the leagues are actually encouraging their players to have fan pages on facebook and twitter accounts. I know for a fact that sometimes the tweets from @NBA are actually written by David Stern and even some owners (like Mark Cuban) are in on the action.
This is a crazy phenomenon. It makes these athletes and super stars human and reachable. Social Media makes it easy to be a fan. If you are already on Facebook it is easy to keep up with a team or a player's news if they are updating their own account.
So besides becoming more popular or one upping a teammate or a rival how can this benefit the athletes personally?
Joelle Ayala says:
Most of these Athletes have personal websites that are pushed through
their Twitter accounts. Its genius; they have thousands if not millions
of fans who are driven to their personal site. Most of these sites
offer player merchandise, newsletters, and even opportunities to sign
up for their personal basketball camps (for a nice profit of course).
Plus it is a lot of fun.