Twitter Doesn’t Reach Most Baseball Fans

I  HATE the way Twitter has taken over most of the baseball news reporting.  I can’t Twitter on my phone (and I can’t afford to pay for a more expensive phone and text charges – I’m pretty happy with my phone as  it ) and can’t on my computer (social network sites blocked by my employer).  But does MLB care? Apparently not .

Yes, I do think the local and national media pay way too much attention to Twitter and that there’s a good possibility that it could lead to a delay getting news to the rest of the non-twitter fans.

I asked a friend if I could take a look at her Twitter account and checked out how many “followers” the local Ranger beat writers have: do you realize that Jamey Newberg has more followers than each of the beat writers? That the total “followers” for all five writers (Sullivan, Wilson, Andro, Grant and Durrett,) is around 3,700 – and I’m pretty sure there are many duplicates who follow all five which brings down the total. That is fewer people than are on Jamey’s mailing list. That is only about 15% of the fans who attend a Ranger game on a weeknight (assuming a crowd of 25,000). Why is the media so intent on catering to just a select few? I understand the competition for getting the story first – that has been around since Pheidippides ran from the battfield at Marathon to Athens. To my mind the Twitter situation is much the same as philosophical conundrum of perception vs. reality: if a tree falls in the forest but no one is there to hear it does it make a sound? Is it really that important to get your 140 letter tweet up first when the majority of fans you want reach can’t / won’t read it?

As for the issue of a delay, here’s an example: last week when Warner Madrigal left his throwing session with forearm stiffness had the story up on the blog around 12:40 (CST), the Startlegram around the same time (12:44 CST) while the DMN blog entry wasn’t online until about an hour later (1:40 CST). Granted, it was not as if one of the impact pitchers was hurt, but I’m pretty sure Evan Grant had his tweet of the injury up at the same time as everyone else. However, the DMN blog entry went online almost an hour later. Was it because he already “tweeted” it – so the rest of the non-tweet readers would just have to wait? Is this a portend of the future? I hope not, but to use a twitter buzz word: it is a “trend” worth watching. Plus, I would think that kind of “trending” would be bad thing for the Star-Telegram and Dallas Morning News writers – their employers (newspapers) are in enough trouble – if the writers are relying on Twitter to get the news out first – then aren’t they leaving out a large portion of their readers – aren’t the newspapers supposed to be drawing in readers not excluding them?

One more thing to keep in mind about Twitter is accuracy. During the winter meetings I was reading MLB Trade Rumors – they were constantly publishing tweets – what I found interesting is to go back and see how many of them were not true, many weren’t – some not even close. As I’ve said before: it is so very sad that sports media editors are forcing their writers to whittle baseball news to 140 characters – and many times not even an accurate 140 characters. Sports Journalism – in general – has been degrading ever so slowly over the past 25 years (which coincides directly with the rise of ESPN on television) it seems that Twitter is just hastening the process of reducing that once masterful art into a bumper sticker.

Here’s the entire blog entry