What’s with all this socializing going on? or Two thumbs up for Footer Tweets
Welcome to new world of social networking meets sports organization. Is it really a new idea that is getting fans excited and thus creating momentum for momentum sake? Is it marketing in a tweet? Doggoneit, exactly what is it?
Glad you asked!
Okay, so at SpikesnStars.com, we’re known for being a bit harsh on reporting and information given to fans by the local media. If it comes from the Astros, we are quick to accuse it as being from the PR arm of the organization. If it comes from independent information sources, like the Chronicle, we are quick to underscore how weak or distorted or slanted or out of scope the information is that we get. We long for those occasional inside source information that comes to several regulars here because we love unfiltered information. You know: they inform, we decide. Quite a cliché for the new era of information, but it has legs.
It is what we do with this information that allows us to grow in understanding of this organization. Understand, yes that is the goal. Oh sure, we’ll eventually need to get to an agree or disagree stage with any and all information, be it social networking channels or the atypical webpapers online, but first and foremost we all just long for pure, unadulterated information to gain understanding. When we have to wade through slanted, distorted information, it makes us a bit perturbed. I think most fans are no different than most of the regular SnS member. It is the same for all of us. We probably can even find common ground in the agree/disagree arena too. Naaahhhh… baby steps. Baby. Steps.
So what has been a move towards the social networking and the inclusion theory behind it is that we are now no longer entirely dependent on “inside sources” in order to get information. Some of the social network disseminated information is nuggets of gold that help our understanding deeply. Kudos to Ms. Footer and many others who embraced what has been the grand experiment around here for a long time. Every 140 character tweet is another step towards a great relationship. Inform us, we’re better fans, include us and we’re loyal fans, do both and we’re lifers. We can be trusted… right? I think so and hence why the Astros and I imagine many other organizations are trying the grand experiment of inclusion through the social networking outlets. If nothing else, with information comes understanding (or should) and with understanding comes a loyalty for not only the team but to baseball itself.
Is it, however, about selling the team to us? Well, they don’t need to do that, we’re already “all in”. I suspect, however, that the win-win is that it solidifies the relationship with the core fans while bringing in the peripheral fan and making them, well… somewhat like a typical SnS member. Fans are fans, and what has happened here to many of us with our dysfunctional social experiment is apparent. Raise your hand if you know more about feeding a turtle, what to wear if you want to volunteer to clean up after a hurricane in Louisiana, where in San Antonio to take your wife for an great anniversary dinner, et. al. Okay, see how it works? No. Okay, but as it grows, so will the relationship and so will the inside source type of information. I already see it, starting with information on the draft picks and continuing on. Will it turn the turnstiles at Minute Maid? I think it will.
If you really want a bottom line on this, it is a business proposition that helps the baseball side of the organization. How so? Well, unlike marketing, that is pointed information, meant to make you feel connected emotionally, a raw feed of information like the social networking outlets will make you feel empowered and included. That is a win-win and sells tickets. So what is the downside? The team managed incorrectly or built askew of good baseball acumen can be shielded if the fan base is only “in” at the emotional (or marketing level). At the empowered or inclusive level, the voices grow louder and gain momentum. I know, I’m really describing a bad thing, right? I personally don’t think so, because if the average fan takes time to read the tweets, blogs and forums that mixes in the inside sources like Ms. Footer, the big “ah-ha!” will help mitigate flaming and distorted views.
See, with proper information, you won’t have an owner reading e-mails, listening to concourse fans or listening to talk radio callers as much as reading the informed and included partners (re: neo-fans). The idea is take the “entity/person” equation and changing it to “person/person who works at entity” relationship. You connect with a person, hence why the whole “inside source” idea is so appealing to most of us. It is now open for all and it is about taking advantage of it the right way. Think of it as the virtual equivalent of Drayton McLane wrapping his big paw around your (*cough* Andyzipp *cough*) shoulder, only this time he’s invited you to sit with him rather than you crashing the Diamond Boxes.
I think that’s good and really why would twitter be a bad thing given all that?
About this column: We had to do it folks, sorry. We just could not bear the thought of stuff like this appearing on the Talkzone any more. It was killing our bandwidth and some of you (you know who you are) were encouraging this behavior by our author. So we’ve given Noe his own little sandbox to play in and you can count on his ramblings to appear here from now on. You can thank us later. Plus, Noe is encouraging your comments on his thought here if you’d like. That is a dumb idea but it was the only way we could convince him to let go of the TZ.