The Sports Media’s Guide To Twitter

Sports reporters might make up one of the heaviest users of Twitter among media types. It can be a tremendous resource for both the reporter and for their followers. Right now, there simply is no quicker way to pass along information to your target audience.

On the other hand, the immediate ability to relay your thoughts isn’t always such a good thing. It can be easy to alienate your audience, or turn them off when you decide to push your own opinion or agenda too far. Combine that with way too much personal information and boring mundane details of everyday life, and it’s a sure formula to get plenty of people hitting the “unfollow” button.

Readers don’t generally care about your thoughts on Jersey Shore, where you ate last night, how bad your hotel room was, or multiple retweets of news that Adam Schefter has broken ahead of you. (Note to Patriots reporters – if someone is following you, there’s a good chance they’re also following Schefter, so they got the newsflash he broke at the same moment you did.)

A BSMW reader passes along the following advice/observation: 

Before hitting the tweet button, they should think, Will the random reader have any interest in this or am I just a clueless self-centered moron by sharing this? Instead, there seems to be a general feel that the followers view them as H.L. Mencken-types who are captivating figures worthy of great interest beyond the actual news and insights they’re supposed to be providing.

A little harsh, but accurate, I think.

Here are the biggest things I think sports media types should do/not do to increase their own value, and avoid turning off followers.

Keep two Twitter accounts – one for your professional life, and one for you personal life.

I’m frankly surprised that more news organizations don’t require this. If you’re Tweeting as a member of the media, you’re representing your employer, and that doesn’t stop when you decide to riff about Snooki, or reminisce about your college days with your buddies, or give us updates on your nephew’s basketball game.

Newsflash Most people are following you because they want information and news from you. They really don’t care about you as a person, they care about you as an information source. Plain and simple.

Keeping two Twitter accounts seems like the ideal solution. You can have a professional one which is strictly your outlet for passing along information and opinions on the subject matter you cover, AND a personal one which is followed by your friends and family, where you can yak it up and tell them every detail about your life.

If two accounts seems like a hassle, there are plenty of Twitter apps that allow you to simultaneously manage multiple accounts. You can post to both right from the same interface. Even from your phone.

What’s even better is that you can make your personal  account private, only allow the people you want to see the Tweets see them, and say whatever the hell you want to.

Try to refrain from whining too much on Twitter.

Yesterday was a perfect example of this. In fact, it happens on the Patriots beat in particular all the time. Even though this is on-topic for the work you do, it doesn’t reflect well on you when you’re constantly complaining about your working conditions or lack of locker room access or that they’re serving pizza in the press box, again. Let’s keep it professsional, people. Think before you Tweet.

Limit the “in jokes” among your colleagues.

We all like to tweak the people we work with from time to time. Maybe you like to make references to past embarassments or experiences that are only known to people who were there. Even though this is “on the job,” it probably belongs in your personal Twitter feed. If your account is private and so is theirs, you can call Belichick every expletive in the book, and it will be perfectly fine. Your professional followers won’t have a clue, and will still think you’re a rational, objective journalist.

Boston Sports Media Must-Follows

These folks “get it.” They keep things professional for the most part, and are highly informative. One for each of the local professional teams:

@SherrodbCSN – One of my favorites on Twitter, A. Sherrod Blakely is informative, engaging and endlessly patient with those who want to know if Rasheed Wallace is coming back.

@PeteAbe – Peter Abraham is a prolific Red Sox Tweeter, both in game and during the day. He’s opinionated, but keeps things almost exclusively baseball.

@capeleaguer – Christopher Price has it right, I think. I follow him on both Twitter and Facebook, and he uses Twitter for Patriots/Professional stuff, and Facebook for personal. Good balance.

@HackswithHaggs – Joe Haggerty is a Twitter monster. Yeah, he occasionally goes off-topic, but his Bruins information is prolific.

Bruins Break Slump With Home Win Over Devils

The Bruins picked up a home win last night, beating the New Jersey Devils 4-1 at the Garden. Get all the coverage at BruinsLinks.com.

Result works in Bruins’ favor – Steve Conroy has the Bruins overcoming a bit of a slow start before kicking things into action. Joe McDonald says that the little things brought this win.

Bruins fall but get back up – Stephen Harris says that the Bruins may have hit rock-bottom in that first period.

Thomas steps up in playoff atmosphere – Danny Picard has the goaltender turning back a desperate Devils squad.

Lucic standing out in this crowd – Michae Vega has the young forward notching his 30th goal of the season, and continuing to grow before our eyes. Douglas Flynn has more on Lucic reaching this milestone. DJ Bean says that 30 came sooner than expected for Lucic.

Confident Kaberle goes on the offensive – Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has the defenseman playing without hesitation last night, and getting positive results. The Herald notebook from Steve Conroy has more on Lucic getting number 30. The CSNNE notes from Joe Haggerty have more on Lucic.

Celtics hope toughness rubs off on new guys – A. Sherrod Blakely has the new guys getting plenty of “teaching moments” in recent games. Mark Murphy has Doc Rivers hoping the newcomers get the message. Gary Washburn says there are some positive signs right now.

Celtics battling for home-court advantage – Jim Fenton notes that unlike last year, this edition of the Celtics has plenty to play for at this point. Chris Forsberg has a few things to watch as the season winds down.

Going for Gonzo: Why Red Sox didn’t wait to acquire Adrian Gonzalez – Alex Speier looks at why the Red Sox just didn’t wait until Gonzalez was a free agent to pursue him.

Red Sox, Adrian Gonzalez make progress on deal – Michael Silverman has things looking good on the possibility of a new deal for the slugger in early April. Sean McAdam says that the deal could be just weeks from being done. Nick Cafardo also weighs in.

The shape of the 2011 Boston Red Sox – Mike Fine says that Sox management still has some decisions to make here.

Claiming the A.L. East won’t be a cakewalk – Tim Britton says that once again, the division looks to be highly competitive.

Could Jed Lowrie take Marco Scutaro’s job as Red Sox shortstop? Not a chance – Ron Chimelis doesn’t see the Sox making a change.

Kevin Youkilis turns corner – Scott Lauber’s notebook has the “new” third baseman getting settled in. The Globe Red Sox notebook from Cafardo has John Lackey giving up a pair of homers yesterday.

Patriots’ draft envy of all – Ian Rapoport has the Patriots draft methods and position getting praise from around the league.

Bill Belichick Is a One-Man Trade Machine and 19 Other Patriots Thoughts – Jeff Howe with 20 thoughts/points on the Pats.

Rex Ryan’s snapshot view of Jets-Patriots – Ron Borges has a confident Ryan believing he’s got the Patriots number.

Bill Belichick’s absence insult to peers – Mike Reiss levies some criticism at the head coach for his absence at the media breakfast yesterday.

Role reversal: more athletes, past and present, entering media – Dan Shaughnessy on SI.com looks at former athletes flocking to jobs in the media.

Season of change – Mark Farinella has a shout-out to BSMW this morning…sort of.

Celtics Finish Tough, Outslug Knicks at MSG

The Celtics once again found themselves trailing by double-digits on the road last night, digging themselves an early hole against the new-look Knicks. A taunting New York crowd seemed to fire up Paul Pierce and the Celtics, who closed the game on a 23-4 run in the fourth quarter for a 96-86 victory.  

I’m a little bemused when I see CSNNE and others proclaiming Knicks/Celtics at “Rivalry Renewed.” There hasn’t been a rivalry between these clubs since the Nixon administration (that’s Richard, not Trot). A few competitive games does not a rivalry make. Things have generally been pretty one-sided in either direction for the two teams, with the brief exception of the Bernard King era in the 80’s.

Get all the coverage on this one at CelticsLinks.com.

Celtics tough enough – Julian Benbow looks at a bloodbath at Madison Square Garden, where things picked up another notch when Doc Rivers called his team “soft” at halftime.

A playoff preview perhaps? – Paul Flannery wonders if last night was a preview of the first round of the playoffs.

Let’s not play this game – Gary Washburn says that that there is no need to panic after every loss this Celtics team has. They are after all, well ahead of where they were last year.

Ray Allen hits the bloody deck – Mark Murphy’s notebook has Allen shaking off a seven-stitch cut on the head to return to the game. The CSNNE notes from A. Sherrod Blakely has the Celtics winning with hustle. The Globe notebook from Gary Washburn and Julian Benbow has the agent for Jeff Green saying that his client is already comfortable in Boston and open to a longer-term stay. NESN’s Evans Clinchy has a Shaq update and six other Celtics thoughts. The ESPN postgame notes from Chris Forsberg has Kevin Garnett talking about green squirrels.

Sox swim in deep end – For the second straight day, a Herald columnist gushes over Theo Epstein and the team he has put together. Today it is Gerry Callahan’s turn.

Tough guy Callahan this morning called Paul Pierce “selfish” and “gutless” for not naming the guy who stabbed and nearly killed him back in 2000.

This after a conversation with the attorney for Brandon Meriweather, who said that no one who witnessed the shooting incident in Florida initially reported it to the police, including Meriweather, and that this sort of thing was “not unusual” in that situation and environment. Callahan couldn’t grasp that people might have doubts that they or their family could be adequately protected in situations like these.

Red Sox prospect has special moment – Gordon Edes has an obscure Red Sox prospect getting the chance to stand in against Roy Halladay.

Agent Boggs wades right in – The Globe notebook has the agent for Adrian Gonzalez checking in on his client. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has Matt Albers looking good this spring. The Red Sox Journal from Tim Britton has Jon Lester with mostly a positive outing yesterday.

Tyler Seguin’s improved play could improve chances of staying in the lineup – DJ Bean has the rookie getting better late in the season. Joe Haggerty says that Seguin is starting to “get it.”

Boston Bruins running out of time to correct problems at home – Mike Loftus has the Bruins looking to make a stand at home.

N.H. scribe’s vile Plan B – Kevin Cullen weighs in on the guilty plea of former Union Leader sportswriter Kevin Provencher.

Bill Belichick’s passion shows through – Mike Reiss has the Patriots coach talking about proposed rule changes.

Typical Bill Belichick, little to say – Ian Rapoport had a different take on the coach’s comments yesterday.

This morning at the NFL Meetings, Belichick was the only one of the 32 NFL coaches who did not meet with the media at breakfast. This of course kicked off a wave of Twitter whines among Patriots reporters:

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Can you really blame him?

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I love this one. Belichick won’t talk??? I’m going to run and tell on him and see if he can get fined!!!

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So really, the reporters don’t care whether Belichick talks or not, it’s about the FANS. THEY deserve better. What’s he going to tell us? What is he going to say that he didn’t say yesterday?

National, too:

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If there were an actual rule about this, maybe this clown would have a point.

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Yup, this guy is credible. In his next Tweet, he proceeds to sing Rex Ryan’s praises.

Seems like they just went and brought up Belichick’s absence to other coaches as well:

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Bill Belichick has clearly once again committed crimes against humanity.

Update: What’s great about all of this, is that Belichick later came down and spoke to reporters.