Social Media Side of Sports
One of the coolest things about the internet is how easy it is for us to communicate with professional athletes that we would never have met in real life. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are just three of the biggest websites where this is taking place. When an athlete posts something, it’s like they are communicating with their fans in a human way, one that we wouldn’t get to experience just by watching a game, reading an interview, or listening to the postgame soundbytes afterward.
Almost everyone uses social media these days, and you probably follow or have at least hit the “Like” button on a product or show that you enjoy. Are you following movie stars or politicians? Following an athlete or a sports team is the same concept. You can send a friend request, follow them, or just hit like on a few of their posts. You can do it with current and former athletes, teams, execs and managers, and even semi-pro athletes. It’s a good way to learn of new favorites before they become famous, too. The next superstar probably already has a Twitter account, and by friending them before they make it big, you can feel like a part of their success. It’s a really cool sensation when it does happen.
When a player or a team rep posts something, it’s not a one way street. It gives you a chance to interact with the team, with other fans, and with the athlete themselves, sometimes. There’s no guarantee that if you comment on LeBron James’ Facebook post that he will get back to you, but there’s a chance. This is one of the best basketball players ever, and for him to suddenly have an opportunity to interact with his biggest fans is a unique thing in the history of modern sports.
At the very least, social media gives us an inside look into other parts of professional athletes’ lives. It also helps us to learn of others that can also provide entertainment for us. Following Rhonda Rousey on Facebook doesn’t just let you follow MMA more closely, it allows you to see some of the things that she is doing outside of her fights. It gives you a small glimpse into her training schedule, any upcoming photo shoots or interviews she has, as well as a look at her social life. Different athletes choose to share different things, and it’s true that some will have sponsored posts. Still, it is a different side of them that you see on the field, and it makes the sport that much deeper for you to enjoy.
One feature that most social media sites have integrated is giving you recommended people and organizations to follow. It’s usually based upon what others are following. For example, if you are following retired baseball star Derek Jeter and other people that follow him are now following his new project, The Players’ Tribune, you will be directed that way so that you can also start following it. This process will continue on and has the potential to lead you to all sorts of resources that you may never have discovered on your own. In this sense, social media has made the sports community grow much closer. For passionate sports fans of any sort, this is a very good thing. It encourages growth and innovation in a field that used to just be considered a game. Sports are now a big business spanning many different genres. Social media links these all together and allows us to be entertained and enthralled by them by giving us insider access to the lives of the professionals we admire.