Twitter Is 5 Years Old, Sports Is Forever Changed

Derek CrouseContributor IIIMarch 22, 2011

Hey Tiger, look what TMZ has on Twitter about you...
Hey Tiger, look what TMZ has on Twitter about you...Andrew Redington/Getty Images

This week, the social media blogging website Twitter became five years old. While in its infancy, it really wasn’t used in such a broad way as it is today. Just years ago, the website helped in a presidential election, as well as giving personal relation directors nightmares when their clients get impulsive with this latest technology aka Charlie Sheen.

“Up to the minute” is not a strong enough phrase to describe how much it has changed the way we get information. We have come a long time from the daily newspaper and the nightly news with sports in the last five minutes. There was a time where you got all of your sports news from the game of the week or George Michael’s Sports Machine.

It seemed as if we were always waiting for the latest story from the actual game or who was injured or scheduled to play the next one. Now, half of the stories usually come off the playing field and draw in people who might not even be a sports fan. For many this is a great way to get their respected sport exposure. Others grow tired of all the hoopla, but isn’t that the relationship that sports and media have developed over the years?

Take some of our legendary athletes as examples. If Twitter was around during Babe Ruth’s era, every story of late-night escapades and nights with different women would of made Tiger look like a preacher’s son. I wonder what Babe Ruth would of wrote on his Twitter account? Most likely he would of used it to make himself even more famous. He was one of the first athletes to really put a face on a product, which leads into the most marketed athlete of all-time.

Michael Jordan just missed his chance at making or breaking his career in the era of the 24-hour news cycle and “up to the second” stories from Twitter. Many still think of Jordan as a great man as well as a great athlete. His media handlers did a splendid job in creating an image that was appealing to advertisers and consumers as a whole. Many children put him on a pedestal that was almost god-like. Little did they know of this love of vices from gambling, women, and chasing money. If Twitter would have been around in the 90s, many of the stories that we read about today would of broke at a moment’s notice without any hesitation.

If Twitter was around during Jordan’s career, most of us wouldn’t of said, “I wanna be like Mike”.

Even gambling has had to adapt to news being broken so fast for anybody to view. Years ago, knowing just a few facts about the game had you in the drivers seat for a big payoff. Those gamblers had the edge and everybody always wondered how they won when nobody else was even close calling a certain game. Now with a feed as blazing fast and open as Twitter, everybody has the same edge and the playing field has been equalized from the house to the player.

Places like Las Vegas have had to adapt to the changes. Chris Mortensen might break a story just hours before a football game and the next thing you know is that Vegas has changed the line because twitter followers have locked on the story and information creates leverage in sports betting. Amazing how 140 characters or less can have such a drastic effect on an entire sports business.

From athletes making outrageous comments that they regret, players getting caught up and reported about just minutes after, and advertisers using followers as a way to develop demographics, Twitter has revolutionized how sports and athletes are covered and analyzed forever. Information has never been at the disposal to so many people and in such a wide variety; how it will change the modern athlete is still a big question.