Social gathering: Twitter lets fans communicate, interact instantly
Saturday, July 11, 2009 12:49 a.m. MDT
By Jared Eborn
The sporting world — ranging from star athletes to coaches, schools and various teams — is increasingly atwitter over social media.
Whether it's setting up Facebook or MySpace fan pages, writing personal blogs or creating Twitter news feeds, the options for fans to follow and often interact with their favorite sports passion are seemingly endless.
So, too, are the reasons behind the phenomenon.
"This is how the younger generation communicates," said David Locke, a talk radio host on 1320 KFAN who frequently updates his Facebook and Twitter feeds with news, opinion and tidbits designed to not only interact with his listeners, but to draw them to his radio show.
"We're seeing a new method for information to be spread. Today, people are used to getting their news and information almost immediately. Twitter is just another way for that to happen."
Schools such as Utah, Utah State and even Westminster College are jumping on board. For some coaches, the wave of social media is a way to broaden their recruiting influence. For others, it's a way to keep in touch in a world where space in the newspaper or the evening news is hard to come by.
"It just seemed like an easy way to keep in touch with our fans and parents," said Utah State volleyball coach Grayson Dubose, who recently followed the lead of Aggie women's basketball coach Raegan Pebley and created a Twitter account. "It's been a real positive for us ... I see who my followers are and track that. It's kind of a nice way to keep in touch."
Nationwide, college coaches use Twitter or Facebook differently. Southern Cal football coach Pete Carroll might update his Twitter page several times a day. Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham, on the other hand, hasn't updated his since June 3 when he tweeted "Loving the way recruiting is shaping up."
Many other coaches have not, and probably never will, tweet on Twitter or update a Facebook status.
Utah has Twitter feeds set up for many of its coaches and teams — Whittingham has nearly 1,000 followers and hoops coach Jim Boylen has about 550.
"I do miss seeing my guys around the office," Boylen wrote in a post on Thursday, "but I am confident they are working hard to improve on the court & in the classroom this summer."