You may or may not care about Twitter yourself, but all of sports media is consumed by it and the manner in which you get your sports news is influenced by it. For that reason, you may find this an interesting read: The Big Lead took a survey of media professionals about their attitudes toward Twitter, what’s good, what’s bad and how it has changed sports coverage. The results and comments are all pretty interesting and it’s hard to disagree with most of the observations and conclusions.
I think the bit about it being addictive and stressful for reporters is interesting but maybe more of a transitional problem for sports media. The newspaper model is to have a beat reporter covering everything about a team or a sport 24/7. Which was fine when the sources the beats used for news were only available at certain times. If the coach is home sleeping, after all, the reporter can’t be expected to get a quote from him so he or she can sleep too. Now, however, there’s always a chance someone may tweet something that is news or close enough to it that it needs to be noted by the beat reporter, thus the stress and obsession.
But the 24/7 model doesn’t have to hold. If the news cycle is now truly 24 hours, the day should be carved up into shifts so it can be fully covered by human beings who may, on occasion, wish to sleep, eat, poop and the like. That’s why we here at HBT and the other NBC blogs have a rough sort of shift system. ESPN and other online-only outlets do too. Sure, I may be around at 9pm some evenings and if something big happens I may post something then, but generally speaking I’m able to shut down Twitter at 6pm and enjoy my evening and have some dinner or something, even if I am obsessively on Twitter during the day.
The rest of the stuff — people can be nasty, the overall vibe can be negative — are all legitimate concerns. Especially for women and minorities who, for whatever reason, take disproportionate abuse from the jerkwards. I would hope that over time the notion that idiots feel cool to act awful online abates, but it may not. And if it doesn’t, the greatest thing about Twitter — it’s interactivity between fans, the media, athletes and institutions — may go by the wayside. That would be a shame.
Overall, though? I think it’s hard to argue that Twitter hasn’t been fantastic for sports obsessives. Thoughts?