We want our information fast, short and accurate. We scroll through our texts and Twitter feeds during the course of meals with family and outings with friends, absorbing whatever small details we can gather – the latest rash of bad behavior by certain celebrities, the stock market’s rise and fall, what the family is having for dinner, or scores of games.
Even I do it. I kept refreshing my phone last Saturday night, looking for college football scores. I could not find the scores anywhere on Twitter, and I posted one of my pet peeves:
@rlenzi: Pet peeve: When teams/institutions don’t update their final scores on Twitter
In minutes, I got two responses. I got an unsolicited third – from an SID who must have been in a sticky post-game predicament but whose score I was not looking for. And I totally appreciate this SID’s insight – someone who is resourceful and has made the most of their department, despite being pulled in different directions. (And a good person, to boot. That goes a long way in the profession.)
But it got me to thinking. We’re not alone. There’s a need for information. More importantly, a need for information from credible sources.
We’re at a crossroads as far as those who purvey information goes – the senders. And there’s a big difference between someone who’s been trained and refined to be a sender such as a media member (print, tv, online, radio) or an organization’s staffer … and some of the yahoos with laptops, recorders and registered domain names. (I just don’t trust them.)
I trust the people who are trained and who have a proven track record as a communicator, whether they work for a media outlet or as a representative of an organization or institution. I trust even those trained in traditional media but who chose to branch out on their own and create their brand as a blogger or an online-only journo. All these people, they’re the ones who are trying to embrace all of this new technology to convey instant information.
So here are a few ideas to help them. Teams, here’s what you can do to help your teams and help yourselves:
Hire a social media administrator on a contractual basis.
Train a work-study student on social media and assign him or her social media responsibilities during home games – updating scores, posting stats – and during the week, such as linking releases and local media stories. They’re getting paid to hold an on campus job. Have them work, too.
Or, if you’re a pro team, have an intern do this.
Chances are, your media contact doesn’t have time to sift through the minutae.
Likewise, media members, make it a point to incorporate social media into your routine. The live blog is falling by the wayside in favor of Twitter. When it comes to tweeting, instead of play-by-play, emphasize more on the essential details such as a game-changing play or the loss of a player to injury, a news-worthy moment such as a player hitting a milestone or a bench-clearing brawl, and, yes, even a periodic score update.