how Twitter changed how he follows sports. I had been thinking more on this topic and wanted to share some of my own thoughts. The sports network on Twitter has certainly changed how I follow sports and root for teams as well.
1. Twitter makes the Internet a beautiful combination of push media and pull media.
Finally, a chance to use my degree for something! Twitter bridges the gap between push and pull media formats. (If you already know the difference, apologies for the explanation.) Push media is where the media is "pushed" out to the public/viewers/readers, so the media creator determines what the public gets. Broadcast television and newspapers are examples of push media. Pull media is when the consumer (viewer/reader) decides what media he/she consumes--like the Internet, where a person decides what websites to visit.
Twitter combines these two things. Take our blog, for example. Without Twitter, we would post our articles, and whoever has heard of our site would visit and read it. Before Twitter, I would do this, as every morning I would visit my list of regulars: RealClearPolitics, ESPN.com, etc.
But using Twitter, we try to "push" our posts out to you, the reader. Yet our site is still a pull medium, because you choose whether or not to visit our site or follow us on Twitter. But Twitter facilitates your ability to pull media to your liking.
It not only works for blogs, but for traditional newspapers as well. Instead of having to visit every paper's website from around the country, through the Twitter community, you can slowly build your list of people you follow to include beat writers, therefore pulling the traditionally-push-media of newspapers to you. (And the same goes for following your favorite bloggers.)
Twitter facilitates an easier, more efficient way for media creators to push their content out, and for media consumers to pull it to them.
2. Twitter allows me to have hope in the civility of the sports fan community.
Fan message boards, comment sections below news stories, and even Facebook comments have become cesspools for uninformed, vulgar, unintelligent, belligerent fans, who are on the prowl for anything and everything to argue about and be offended about. While some of these people have spilled onto Twitter and try to ruin what is a great sports community (if you follow the right people), generally speaking, Twitter can break down barriers between fans who would normally dislike each other or who wouldn't care about one another. (Utah and BYU fans @fuegote and @BYUfootblog come to mind, who encourage their respective fanbases to engender civility.) It also has exposed me to many people who don't allow themselves to be carried away by groupthink within the group of fans who cheer for the same team--for example, people who are willing to admit when a team or player they "hate" is playing really well, and perhaps even admire it.
It has also exposed me to people who, while having their own team allegiances, simply enjoy the beauty of sports and watch the game with opened eyes (that's looking at you, Matt Zemek).
3. Twitter has made me more knowledgeable about the game, particularly its schools and their history.
Zach touched on this in a different way in Part 1 with "I now associate teams with their respective Twitter followers." Because of Twitter's ability to connect a user with fans across the country of any and all teams (except San Jose State, we can't find any of you out there!), I have learned more about different schools in two years on Twitter than I learned in all of my previous years. And, as Zach pointed out, what usually happens when you learn more about a person or a group of people, the more you like them, because people are generally good. So when Brendan Loy starts going nuts with his Bally Basketball for Denver hoops, it actually has me pulling for Denver too. In essence, it has made me become even more of a sports dork, since I now have somewhat of a rooting interest in games I wouldn't have cared about before.
4. Good, clever parody accounts make Twitter, and following sports, more enjoyable.
Parody Twitter accounts make following sports funny in a way nothing else can. (And I'm not talking about just any fake Twitter account. People who create accounts and truly pretend to be somebody else are idiots. I'm talking about people who make clear it's a fake/parody account and follow Twitter's rules for parody accounts -- yes, Twitter has such rules.)
The recently-concluded NBA season was quite compelling and interesting. It was made even more enjoyable by @TheBillWalton and @LeBronJamesEgo. Whoever runs the fake Bill Walton has channeled the big man's spirit (I know, he's still alive) to a tee. LeBronJamesEgo was a grand, overblown, and hilarious satire, sharing LeBron's inner, "true" thoughts.
Twitter parody extends to college football as well. The fake @DanBeebe emerged during Expansion Crisis 2010. With the Big 12 on the cusp of life support as the Pac 12's Larry Scott tried to raid Beebe's conference, the fake Dan Beebe emerged with hilarious desperation and a tendency to show deference to the University of Texas. I've also noticed @CoachBronco_BYU and @FakeHeaps satiring about Twitter. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall is a unique--and sometimes a little strange--dude. The fake Bronco Mendenhall seems to channel that uniqueness and combine it with clever satire from the LDS/Mormon faith.
In short, aggrandized, overblown, humorous--and fake--versions of real people make following sports fun. (NOTE: This is not a call to go create parody accounts. For every funny parody account listed above, there are plenty of really bad ones. I am personally going to leave it to those who already have it down.)
So that's it, those are more reasons how Twitter has changed my life as a sports fan. Feel free to share yours with us too!