Has Twitter changed sports for better or worse?

Sports Illustrated has a recent article titled, “Tweet Smell of #success: In five short years, Twitter has transformed sports.”

It’s not the first time the magazine has covered Twitter’s ever-growing influence on the sports world. Here’s another article from 1999 looking at athletes’ contributions to the Twitterati.

Like most sports reporters, I’ve been using Twitter while covering Weber State football and basketball games and now in baseball season from Ogden Raptors games at Lindquist Field. (Shameless plug — If you’re not following me already for Wildcats and Raptors news, I’m @RoyBurton. See you in the Twitterverse.)

Recently I’ve found a new way to combine those tweets into a story using a service called Storify. This is the first one I’ve put together, so let me know what you think. Is this something you’d like to see from Weber State basketball and football games as well?

View “July 8: Ogden Raptors 8, Casper Ghosts 3″ on Storify

For this Storify, I’ve just used my own tweets, but if enough people join in, their tweets can become part of the story as well.

I’m also curious what your thoughts are on Twitter’s effect on sports — especially sports media. Do you check Twitter when you’re at a game — or do you wish people would put down their @#$%# phones and pay attention? What about when you’re at home watching on TV?

If you are following sports writers on Twitter, what do you value most? A recap of the action for those who can’t be at the game? Analysis? Witty wisecracks and interaction between reporter and followers?

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3 Responses to Has Twitter changed sports for better or worse?

  1. Tyler Riggs says:

    I follow most of the New York Yankees beat writers on Twitter and have found my viewing of games from afar has been incredibly enhanced the past few years as a result.

    I really enjoy the extra insight the beat writers give through twitter, as well as the interactions they have with the fans and with each other. It is an extra layer of entertainment for the games, and I’ve found it to be great fun.

    Two reporters in particular, Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger, and Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, have a high level of interaction with fans, often retweeting or responding to messages. It makes a fan feel closer to the game, and I think overall is a great thing.

  2. Bob Becker says:

    You ask:

    Do you check Twitter when you’re at a game — or do you wish people would put down their @#$%# phones and pay attention?

    1. I don’t use Twitter at ball games [or for that matter any other times] and I have a hard time figuring out why anyone would. The game is going on right there in front of you. Why in the world would you need Twitter to provide someone else’s take on what you’re seeing yourself? Plus I score the games and wouldn’t have time in a fast moving game to Twitter between pitches and plays. Scoreboard provides any other information I might need, like the official scorer’s often hilarious judgment about what’s a hit and what’s an error [which bad calls I correct on my score card, of course].

    2. As for people putting down their phones at games: first game of the season, there were three young ladies sitting in the row just in front of me. Rarely put phones down except to eat or drink something. I think the only thing actually happening in the park they were completely aware of and paying full attention to was the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch, and the little kids dancing to “Sponge Bob Square Pants.” But hey, they paid for the seats, and so long as they weren’t standing to wave at friends during play and blocking my view, I figure they’re free to do in the seats whatever makes an evening at the ballpark work for them.

  3. Roy Burton says:

    Thanks Tyler and Bob,

    I was curious to see how people would respond to this because I’m interested in what they want to see from a writer who is posting during the game. I admit that I have usually directed my updates to an audience who isn’t at the game or can’t catch the broadcast, not at fans in the stands.

    Bob, I wouldn’t presume to tell you what to think about what you’re seeing — or to correct your scorekeeping — but if done right, I think there might be potential for info updates that enhance the game even for fans in the stands, something that isn’t immediately visible from a glance at the scoreboard: Player X needs a hit in this at-bat to preserve a streak, Pitcher Y just took over the league lead in strikeouts or Relief Pitcher Z hasn’t allowed a run in his last five innings, for example.

    Right now, I don’t go into that kind of detail on Twitter from Raptors games. I can see how a devoted follower of the Yankees would enjoy that, but are there enough people on a given day at Lindquist Field following along on their smart phones like that to justify the effort? So far, I haven’t seen the demand, but if there is, I’d certainly reconsider.

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