If you are a member of the mainstream media, either print or electronic, it enables you to distribute story content and quick updates to your audience instantaneously, providing teasers to your complete article or blog, and letting us know which pass Eli Manning just completed!
If you are a fan of the National Football League, you have extraordinary access to the media, your favorite players, coaches and other fans of yours or rival teams.
And if you are NFL players who keeps his smartphone at his side, there is a strong likelihood that at some point during training camp you may be fined.
Twitter has become a very hot topic of late. You can find the likes of Michael Strahan, Antonio Pierce, and others using the social media to reach out to fans, friends and teammates. NFL Network broadcast and other national and local reporters are using Twitter to increase their fan base as well as providing updates on the progress of training camp. However, it is becoming a controversial form of communication, as well as a breeding ground for hackers and other potential negative forces that come with access to the Internet. Let's take a look at some of the Twitter activity recently.
- Recently, Antonio Cromartie of the San Diego Chargers was fined $2,500 for tweeting about the food at training camp. Imagine if I had Twitter as a young camper: my parents would have to come weekly to pick me up for all the complaints made about the food.
- Bill Parcells and the Miami Dolphins issued a rule (anyone who played for Bill knows about the rules, right T.O.?) banning both media and fans from tweeting or blogging using electronic devices during training camp. Is Bill going to go around taking away smartphones from fans?
- There are 12 teams that either have rules or ban tweeting during training camp. Among them are the Browns, Patriots and Dolphins (note the Parcells family connection).
Teams like the Giants are Twitter friendly, but that only represents a portion of the NFL teams. Organizations such as ESPN have a stated set of rules for its staff relative to the tweeting. Organizations such as ESPN have a stated set of rules for its staff relative to tweeting. Last week, Twitter went down due to a hacker attack, to the horror of much of the tweeting public, who ran to their local computers (how archaic!) for information. What does all this mean to the general public?
Players are communicating with fans, with whom they never would have communicated previously. The fan feels great about gaining access to the players and expressing support, outrage, hearing how they are doing, all typical fan emotions. Players like to hear from their fans at least, from behind the safety of the Internet. Look at Antonio Pierce. He was appreciative of the support received from his fans during the recent Burress Grand Jury indictment. He will not tell you any of his personal struggles, but will certainly appreciate the support from his fans.
The media are communicating their messages to both players and fans, acting as a bridge for all those info-crazed people who need information now - not yesterday, not tomorrow but now! You want to know about what Eli had for breakfast, how many catches Steve Smith caught, who is the odd man out on the Giants receiving corps and who was the star of today's training camp? It is all out there for you to see.
So are those twelve teams just being paranoid? Are they controlling and exercising their rights as those who pay millions of dollars, or just going overboard? These players are people and they have thoughts, emotions, a desire to hear from their fans and in some cases receive the gratification of knowing they have 10,000 friends somewhere on the Internet (thank you Ashton, but isn't being married to Demi Moore enough?).
The bottom line here is like the most new forms of media, there are and will be growing pains. The slow demise of print journalism has given rise to a desire for up to the second access to the news, and sports are no different. Players will have to live withinthe rules established by their teams. However, it is a forum that allows us to follow our teams and players closely, further building stronger alliances and devotion to our passions. In some circles this is a brave new world, and in others it is just another way to efficiently and tirelessly perform our jobs, and further develop our social circles.
Tweeting it here to stay - sorry honey, I am tweeting with Michael Strahan!!