Social Networking and Sports Summit

Maury gets a zillion guys — myself included — to weigh in on their use and abuse of social networking stuff like Twitter and Facebook and the like.

I don’t use Twitter and don’t have any plans to, so I was curious if the assembled brains over there could convince me that I’m making a mistake. There’s lots and lots of opinion there about the utility of Twitter for baseball writers, and I’ll admit that they make it sound more useful than I imagined it to be. Still, most of that usefulness boils down to “it’s faster” and “it promotes conversation” and I just don’t think that I’ve had issues with either speed of interactivity when it comes to the blog. Certainly not to the point where I feel compelled to jump into all of that at the moment.

I do use Facebook, of course, many of the contributors to Maury’s pieces are among my Facebook friends, and I see their Tweets via the Facebook application all day long. As a result, I suppose I’m something of a Twitter free-rider, which I imagine is not a great thing to be in this Brave New World.

I’ll risk it.

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  1. Colin said...

    Twitter is great for harassing NBA stars and little else.  So if harassing NBA stars is something that interests you, I strongly recommend getting a twitter account.

  2. MooseinOhio said...

    Personally I prefer quality conversation over quantity conversation and do not see how tweeting will truly improve my communication and understanding of things germane to my life. 

    Of course, as a member of the 40something crowd I am headed down the slippery slope of becoming one of the those old guys that complains about anything new and continually embarrasses my daughter to no end.

  3. Dan said...

    In the sports world, Twitter makes sense for people trafficking in propagating (and denying) rumors and breaking stories like the SI and Fox Sports guys, and sites like MLB Trade Rumors.

    Craig doesn’t do any of that and no one should expect him to do any of that.  Keep up with the commentary and snark and the snarky commentary.

  4. Will said...

    I don’t understand why people get all worked up about twitter. It’s just a communications tool, like the phone, SMS, email, IM, the telegraph, or semaphore.
    I follow a number of tech people, and by glancing at twitter a few times a day, keep up with what’s going on in the Windows world. I also keep up with a few acquaintances, and make the odd tweet about my day. If twitter folded, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
    Also, I have never harassed an NBA player with twitter.

  5. Jack Marshall said...

    The jury’s out on Twitter. It can be a good way to share links and get people to a website; it might be valuable for marketing, though no one can prove that. If it turns out to be a good promotional tool, there will be plenty of time to get on board.

  6. Pete Toms said...

    I’m nearer 50 than 40 years of age so I don’t “get it”.  Having said that, I don’t wanna be an old curmudgeon, just cause I don’t use it don’t mean it ain’t fun or useful to those that do “get it”.

    From the little bit I’ve read about Twitter (probably written by old school old media guys who don’t “get it” either) I get the impression that it is big time popular with the “hand held” crowd.  I don’t even own a cell (ok, I have a cell, but no service) so, what do I know?  Another thing I’ve read about Twitter is that the “churn rate” is very high.  I’m part of that, I signed up, used it a time or two and never went back….didn’t I see Twitter described as the “CB Radio of Web 2.0 here, chez Shyster?

    Anyway, I will read the piece at Maury’s, I think it is probably an interesting subject.

  7. Craig Calcaterra said...

    You did see it described that way, Pete, and I agree that it’s very fadish at the moment like CBs were in the late 70s.

    But people still use CBs—Truckers and the folks they’re intended for—and they retain a niche market.  I think the “everyone has to get on Twitter to tell their friends what they’re doing at any given second” fad is going to end fairly soon, but I’ll grant that it likely has some legitimate uses that will allow it to survive in some form once the fad wears off.

    Media people seem like as good a use as any, even if I’m not yet all that enthused personally.

  8. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    Craig – The CB metaphor truly refers not to the spike in popularity but how the motormouths with the strongest signals drowned everybody out, similar to how Twitters servers get maxed out.

    Personally, I’m already finding Facebook an exercise in futility, even if it has filtering mechanisms that give it the advantage that RSS (not coincidentally, I have marked my friends that think it’s a good idea to simultaneously post on Twitter and Facebook via TweetDeck as “Tweet Whores”) has over e-mail.

  9. lar said...

    What I don’t get about Twitter is why everyone is so opposed to at least testing it out. I mean, how hard is it to give it a try to see if it’s something that you’d like?

    I used it for a while to keep in touch with my family but, since hardly any of them ever tweeted, it always seemed boring and worthless. But then I just set one up for the blog recently ( and started following a lot of baseball people. All of a sudden I find it interesting and useful. I read what other people have to say, follow their links, etc. For myself, I join in with links to the blog or comments about what’s going on. if I’m watching a game, I’ll put the snarky comment that I might otherwise say out loud (to no one) or text my brother on twitter instead.

    It’s just about talking, that’s all. Nothing big or special or whatever. but if you’re predisposed against it because you get annoyed at all the publicity that it gets on the news or because someone explained it in some simplistic way, there’s nothing much that can be done. except, you know, maybe giving it a try.

    I’m not a big twitter kool-aid drinker or anything. It just seems silly to me that so many people hate it/belittle it for no reason.

    (And, Craig, for those of us who like your work and like to maybe talk about it every now and then, having a twitter account always helps. Imagine if everyone talked about your blog posts on their own websites, but never put a link to your website. Sure, some people might try actually looking for your site, but, not having that link there means less people are going to notice you or read your stuff. That’s what’s going on when/if people talk about you on Twitter but are unable to link to your account… it’s good advertising, that’s all I’m saying.)

  10. Geoff Young said...

    I’ve found Twitter to be more useful than I’d expected. I thought it might have some promotional value (which it does), but I’d underestimated the networking aspect.

    I’ve landed writing gigs through my use of Twitter (hey, I need a guy who writes about the Padres; this guy just posted something), and a friend of mine has approached athletes for interviews via Twitter and Facebook. He conducts the interviews using a different medium, but these social networking avenues give him a short and relatively non-threatening way to break the ice.

    Seems to me it’s fashionable to bash some of these new tools because on the surface they are a bit silly. But if they work, then why not use them? Or to put it another way, why let your competitors gain whatever advantage there might be in using such tools?

    Twitter isn’t for everyone, but once you get over the silliness factor, it can be useful… like any other tool that is implemented to good effect, I suppose.

  11. Jeff Polman said...

    A friend who works in Web marketing got my old-tyme baseball blog launched with a Twitter account back in February, and I have to say it’s done very little for me.  Still, I think I finally understand why Twitter is so popular.

    Many people want a connection—any connection—to the rich and/or famous, and Twitter provides the daily illusion that they have this connection, even if they are one of 12,948 followers tracking Jeremy Piven’s errands.

    So Twitter’s success is basically a sad statement about our shallow culture.  And tons and tons of fun!

  12. Ross said...

    Bill Simmons mentioned something about this as well.

    “…NBA players using Twitter to break news about themselves, and even stranger, reporters posting their scoops on Twitter even before their employers had a chance to print them. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Facebook is a social network. Twitter is a media/marketing vehicle disguised as a social network. Big difference. And if you don’t think it’s changing the way information is dispersed, for good and bad, you’re insane.

    A “good” example: Kevin Love spilling the beans that Kevin McHale wasn’t returning as Timberwolves coach. A watershed moment for sports journalism, in my opinion. We skipped the middleman and went right from the team to the fans for a breaking story. Won’t be the last time.

    A “bad” example: Finding out from T.J. Ford’s Twitter feed July 14 that he was “Up early.. Takin a dump then wash my hands brush my grill & off to be the best PG.. Doubt me if u want. Hard work pays off.” You know what, T.J.? I will continue to have my doubts. No offense.”

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