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12th Man impact expanding with social

fbThis year I have had the opportunity to be involved in tracking social media content related to football – first the Super Bowl and then more recently looking at how the social world talks about and shares their experiences with and about football. And yep, people talk – a lot!

When I look at what people are saying when they’re posting about football, I draw parallels between every major position in a football organization to the social world – from the players on the field to the folks in the offices. We definitely have the quarterbacks – those social authors who are talking about which plays to call and of course questioning the plays that were called after the fact. We have the coaches and the managers talking trades, salary caps, etc. These folks were especially active as we went into the fall with the surge in social volume being driven by the start of Fantasy Football season. We have the lineman blocking and tackling for their teams, and their favorite QB’s defending them and cheering them. We definitely have the kickers who tweet out their own Hail Mary’s and punt last ditch cheers, just in case, for their teams when they’re down. And we definitely have the cheerleaders who post and tweet throughout the week their fan support.

Each week, football volume follows a fairly predictable pattern, with volume beginning to rise on Thursdays with the start of the football weekend and the Thursday night game, and slowing down Tuesday with the recaps of the Monday night game. Sports journalists from @ESPN, news outlets and others contribute to the 24-hour news cycle by posting stories throughout the week, driving a more consistent volume throughout the week than we saw in 2012.

However, what I think I have seen more this year than last is the rise of the spectator journalist. The increase in mobile devices and the increasing comfort of mobile social activity has seen more and more authors posting and tweeting from the bleachers and their couches, their near play-by-plays recapping the passes, kicks, field positions and scores. Year over year, we are looking at over a 22% increase in people posting something about football between August and December of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. People are interacting with friends on Facebook and Twitter, sharing the back and forth of what they are seeing. It really is not only changing what we see on social channels, but I think also the way that we as individuals are experiencing sports. We are not only present watching the game, but also we are standing squarely in the social sphere sharing the game with fans everywhere. Some may say that people are “missing out” by being on their phones during the games, but I think they are connecting with the game in a very real way, experiencing it in a way that allows them to connect with fans everywhere, taking the game beyond the stadium walls and out to the world at large. That’s an amazing thing.

Social media is about connections – it’s about sharing information and opinions. Football, and sports in general, provide people a common ground to talk about. Most people have a team they follow or are passionate about. Everyone knows about a player or two. Social media has now given the public at large a position to play and an opportunity to share their voice. It’s amazing.

Now, with my alma mater, the University of Arizona, gearing up for a bowl game and the Seahawks doing so well (with great support from the 12th Man, of course), I need to go “suit up” and start tweeting out my own support. After all, I’m a cheerleader and need to get my voice out there too!


*Keep yourself updated on top trending sports topics with Visible’s Sports Pulse!

Tags : social media

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