Social Media And Sports Journalism UF Online Infographic Visual Resource
The impact by social media on sports journalism can be better understood by looking over the Infographic visual resource provided by the University of Florida to share with the Sports Techie community blog. Sports journalist are having to morph with social media to match the fast changing history of the industry and to keep up with top brands and individuals that are pushing the space to new heights such as ESPN. Fan engagement, sport business and cutting-edge technology resulted in fundamental changes to the way content is now delivered and personalized creating a powerful mechanism named social media used for delivering news, entertainment and gossip to society as happened during the recent NBA and NFL drafts last week, as well as the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada and countless other events, stories and topics.
Social Media & Sports Journalism
UF Online B.S. in Telecommunications, Media and Society
The UF online infographic visual data first shows a historical timeline about ways social media has impacted sports journalism. My Mom barely makes the pre-1940’s cut off as someone that was around when newspapers were the dominate news source. The year 1969 is when my brother Ricky was born and believe it or not, the Internet was first commercialized. In 1991, the first weblogs were published.
Social networks such as the once super popular Myspace and highly successful LinkedIn began operations in 2003, followed by Facebook and Digg in 2004. Their infrastructure offered fans different online resources for searching news and person-to-person engagement. Surprisingly, youth actually took to newspapers as the number one place to read about news in 2004, just over a decade ago. YouTube came about in 2005 and became the web source for produced and independent videos which Google purchased the next year in 2006. Jack Dorsey started Twitter in 2006. A significant shift happened in 2009 when the US had only 1,397 daily newspapers in circulation, a 21% smaller figure than in 1950.
By 2013, a telecommunications news distribution revolution was underway as Twitter underwent an IPO and counted 500 million users that produced 492 million tweets about sports events. That same year, Facebook logged in 1.1 billion people to their website. YouTube was maturing in 2013 as evidenced by the 4 billion video views per day while 300 million members had joined LinkedIn after their 2011 IPO. NBC Sports partnered up to create a Stanley Cup social media campaign in 2014.
I would add the evolution of the GoPro action cam that launched in 2002 to this visual resource. They sold 17.8 million shares in 2014 at $24 per share bringing in $427.2 million resulting in an IPO valuation price of $2.95 billion. GoPro has fast become a sports tech product for video media creation and sharing across social hubs further impacting sports journalism.
Current Sports Media and Social Journalism
Original sports content has faded over the past decade. Journalists use fellow writer’s blogs around 25% of the time. A breaking news piece like Nike founder Phil Knight stepping down today as chairman will be repurposed by media giants down to influential bloggers thousands of times over the next several days. Audiovisual mediums from YouTube and like services are integrated by 20 percent more journalists than ten years ago. It is shocking information to know that only 10% of sports journalists are using LinkedIn and similar media type portals. Yet over 50% engage with Twitter daily.
Modern Sports Journalist Obstacles
The profession of sports journalism is undergoing a magnitude of pressures most benefitting the fan experience. Consider the demand placed on the workforce to constantly source fresh content to audiences at a fast pace. A new journalism business standard is to offer a variety of social channels to interested parties. Competition is daily from fellow journalists and bloggers especially those already established on different social media networks. Other considerations include having the discipline and time allotment required to consistently monitor traditional and digital communication outlets from other writers, bloggers and publications. Nearly three-fourths of journalists say they source and I’m going to say, troll their competition. Bottom line, the era of journalist’s not using social media is mostly over.
On the positive side, sports journalists like the opportunity to use social media to report stories and engage with their audience readers, Internet radio and Apple podcast listeners, and connected device viewers. The exchange of dialog with constituents adds new engagement opportunities. Collecting analytics and performing analysis of the big data gives media professionals and hobbyists precise information as to what types of stories are trending or viral. Finally, when you produce enough sticky content, organic social media growth can occur at little cost out of pocket.
The dark side of social media is the amount of negativity all over the web. For sure content creators, marketing and PR companies know that content that is good in nature and with a purpose does not fare as well in terms of measurable interaction then content on the edge does. I give FIFA credit for understanding this tactic years ago when goal line technology was still on the table before the men’s 2010 South Africa World Cup and the tragic no-goal call for England that cost them a chance at victory against Germany. They milked four years of angry players, coaches and fans all over social media demanding glt as a no-brainer until it finally became a permanent sports tech enabled part of the rules.
Many trusted and credible newspapers have folded up and when combined with the ever-growing amount of sports journalists creating content and found via a simple search engine has led to misinformation, plagiarism and zero accountability on behalf of certain sports journalists, editors and publishers.
ESPN is like a sports community on steroids thus it makes sense their social media presence is far reaching and sponsor friendly. The different ESPN twitter handles had 26.5 million total unique followers as of July, 2014. It is odd to learn that 7 million ESPN related tweets last year were sent by only 1.96 million users, you would think the latter number would be a higher amount. The first seven months on the ESPN Facebook fan page last year tallied 2.6 million touches. The ESPN YouTube channels provided 39 million viewers, a 66% growth spike since 2012.
Social Media Sports Influence
The surge in sports popularity is partially due to adoption of social media as a news resource. The 2014 year had its share of major sporting events. The largest being the 2014 Brazil World Cup when 459 million posts, likes and comments were counted on Facebook during week one of the men’s tournament. Cristiano Ronaldo alone was the reason behind 1.5 million mentions on Twitter after the U.S. and Portugal match.
The NBA is a social media juggernaut largely because two-thirds of the players have a personal Twitter handle. They can claim the title of number one sports league on social media. The 2014 NBA Finals had 26 million tweets throughout the five game series.
Football also represents well on social. The Seattle Seahawks dismantling of the Denver Broncos to win Super Bowl 48 led to approximately 25 million tweets including a handful by me, go Hawks. The use of hashtags as NFL and partner branding and marketing components resulted in over 50 percent of high-priced commercials to implement them. Facebook produced an astonishing 185 million Super Bowl XLVIII engagements.
Sports Techie, social media gave me direct access to the dear people that read and share our posts, tweets and blogs so it is something I value. While America pioneered the space, social media users all over the world are involved in a close competition between sports journalists for quantifiable eyeballs and a loyal fandom. Social media gave journalists a platform in which they can communicate with sports figures, peers and fans unlike in the past.
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