Vince McMahon is riding high on Twitter right now.
Wrestlers' Twitter accounts, if they have them, are displayed during their entrances. WWE-related worldwide trending topics are boasted in on-screen graphics.
Fans are encouraged to Tweet about anything and everything during RAW and SmackDown, and no one mentions Twitter more than everyone's favorite commentator, Michael Cole.
Some people are annoyed by it. I, however, happen to like it.
I'm not by any means saying it can't be annoying sometimes. I found it rather annoying when Rock kept claiming the things that he said were immediately trending worldwide. Then again, it also spoke to the massive ego that's been a part of his gimmick for so long now.
And we all know Michael Cole is annoying.
Nevertheless, I think the pros of WWE's social media initiative greatly outweigh the cons.
Here are four reasons why.
When people ask me how long I've been watching wrestling, I tell them since I was 10 years old because that's the easy answer.
In actuality I started watching when I was 10, stopped watching when I was about 13, and didn't start watching again until I was 20. That's seven years of no WWE.
My dad thinks the reason I stopped watching was because I got bored with the product.
I myself, however, think that the real reason is because all my friends who also watched pro wrestling moved away, leaving me with no one to share my joy. All my other friends thought wrestling was stupid and so, being a little freshman band geek who just wanted to fit in, I stopped watching.
Well now that I'm older and more mature I couldn't care less what other people think about my fascination with pro wrestling. But I also think it's awesome that I can just hop on Twitter and connect with hundreds of thousands of other fans who are just as enthusiastic as I am.
Just by adding #RAW to the end of my tweet, fans around the world can read and respond to my thoughts and comments on the show. I've gotten readers this way, I've discovered things I didn't know about wrestling this way and I've even gotten article ideas this way.
I can connect with, discuss and share my love of pro wrestling with other fans around the world this way, and I think that's pretty awesome.
I wrote another article about how the Internet age is causing the traditional idea of kayfabe to evolve. A big reason for that is Twitter.
Old school kayfabe is all about keeping wrestlers completely in persona around the fans, so as to keep up the illusion of the reality of the character.
Well, a lot of pro wrestlers have Twitter accounts these days, and a lot of the time kayfabe is broken in their tweets.
Yes, a lot of the time wrestlers use their Twitters to further feuds and most of the time they do keep in character. But sometimes we're allowed to see into their personal lives, and we remember that they're just people, too.
Folks with old-school notions are rolling over in their graves right now.
Pro wrestling has evolved on its own without the Internet. Ever since the Attitude Era the characters have become less cartoonish and more realistic—something which Twitter lends itself to very well.
We like seeing that wrestlers aren't all that different from us. I personally believe that one of the reasons Zack Ryder is so popular is because he's just as big a fan as the rest of us.
He doesn't seem to think he's above us because he's a pro wrestler and we're just lowly "marks." He's a fan too, who just so happens to be employed by WWE.
Furthermore, we like being able to interact with and be acknowledged by our favorite wrestlers.
I, for one, was unbelievably excited when Mickie James retweeted a tweet of mine about one of her matches. It was a TNA match against ODB so it doesn't exactly apply to this article, but still. You get my point.
When they reply to us on Twitter, or retweet something that we said, it shows that they care that we care. And as a fan, that's a huge deal.
WWE has been making increased use of YouTube as of late.
It started five weeks ago. A YouTube link flickered into the usual Twitter graphic on Monday Night RAW. Honestly, at first I thought it had been hacked. But after tweeting about it another fan informed me that it was a link to a promo.
By now we're all familiar with, or at least know of, the "It Begins" series of promos hailing the return of a mysterious force on 1/2/12. Only two of the five promos have been aired on TV. As for the rest, we've had to go looking for them ourselves.
I think this is a particularly creative and interesting campaign on WWE's part. By only giving us the links to the promos, it gets the fans actively involved in that it becomes our responsibility to go look them up. It turns us into a bunch of little cyber detectives, if you will.
I've thoroughly enjoyed these promos. For me, they've been like an Internet age version of the "Little Orphan Annie" secret message Ralphie decodes in A Christmas Story.
Hopefully, though, we'll be rewarded with something a little more exciting than "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine."
Some wrestlers have been using Twitter and YouTube for a long time now. But Vince McMahon didn't really take notice of either of them as a promotional tool until Zack Ryder started using them that way.
A year ago Zack Ryder wasn't even on my radar. My best friend paid attention to him back then because she thinks he's cute, but I thought he was nothing but a jobber with obnoxious half-tights, half-pants ring gear.
Now he's become one of my, and a lot of other fans', absolute favorites; and it's all thanks to his YouTube show, Z! True Long Island Story.
Thanks to YouTube and Twitter, Ryder built himself up from the brink of being future endeavored. He rallied a fan base from next to nothing and started a petition to get himself a U.S. Title shot. WWE execs took notice, and now he's U.S. Champion.
Who knows—maybe thanks to Twitter, WWE big wigs will start to listen to what we fans want.
I hope so.
Yes, perhaps Michael Cole doesn't need to mention Twitter and what WWE topics are trending worldwide every five minutes.
But WWE's demographic has changed.
These days the product is geared much more toward kids than it was in the past; and kids these days are extremely tech-savvy. By integrating Twitter and YouTube into its broadcasts, WWE is only appealing to kids' interests.
But it doesn't just appeal to kids. After all I'm 23, and I'm enjoying it too.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
And while you're at it, you can follow me on Twitter too.