From hot stove rumors to fan engagement, social media has become a game changer in sports. Led by Vine Line magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Gary Cohen, this event discussed the role of social media in today’s game from the perspective of Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks, broadcaster Len Kasper, cubs.com writer Carrie Muskat and Cubs communications manager Kevin Saghy.
Over the last decade, the way people obtain information has drastically changed. Instead of receiving a morning newspaper regarding yesterday’s news, information is passed along in up-to-the-minute fashion.
To wrap up Saturday night’s convention, the Cubs introduced a new panel to the fan fest in #CubsSocial. The panel explained how receiving information quickly has altered the way the Cubs operate from a broadcast standpoint to the players themselves.
Saghy explained that through social media outlets like Twitter, he has better connected fans to the organization, with state lines and distance no longer an issue. Using the Cubs’ twitter feed, he is now able to communicate and better interact with fans.
“Social media is a conversation,” Saghy said. “If you want to reach out to the team, we’re out there.”
For Muskat, who started following the Cubs in 1987, the quick-news ways of today has drastically altered the way she works. Mandated to get out 10 tweets (normally accompanied by stories), news is funneled quickly through her various accounts. Despite leading all MLB.com writers in annual tweets in 2014 and having stories read in more than 140 countries, she admits she sometimes likes the old days, where news wouldn’t escape as quickly.
She said she likes the times when she could just hang with the good, vocal managers like Don Zimmer, and take notes with pen and paper. In today’s world, the manager is more guarded, potentially out of fear of saying something that isn’t politically correct. That said, Muskat acknowledges that most of her traffic is due to today’s media tools.
Like most people with Twitter accounts, Hendricks isn’t shy to follow fellow athletes. He said he follows athletes he admires and even obtains some information on the team he represents through social media. The 25-year-old Dartmouth grad doesn’t limit his information gathering solely to sports as he credits Twitter with most of his world and U.S. news info. But as a professional athlete, he typically limits his tweeting to a few times a month, as he’s aware that things could often get taken out of context.
Kasper loves Twitter.
“Twitter is the greatest thing in life,” the Cubs’ TV voice said.
Even though he has nearly 40,000 followers, he believes the biggest point towards his online following is being responsible. Kasper said one of the downsides to the tool is the anonymity the site provides.
“There are things people say to me on Twitter that I know they wouldn’t say to my face,” Kasper said.
He credits the social media evolution for making some of his broadcasts more interesting and is constantly following during games in case a topic is brought up that is suitable for the broadcast not excluding a big trade or a minor league promotion. As Muskat stated, it has been resourceful for players like Miguel Montero, who found out he was traded from the Diamondbacks to the Cubs in early December via his Twitter account.
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