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If you cover high school/low-level college, do you "@" the players/teams on Twitter?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Kayaugstin Kott, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. From the sportswriters I follow, it seems 50-50 as to whether reporters will Tweet like:
    "Frank Pippen scored 12 points in Podunk Valley's win."
    ".@FrankPippen17 scored 12 points in @PodunkValleyHS win."

  2. I do it. Very easy to engage your readers. Plus if it's a big recruit he/she may have more followers than his & it's an easy to get extra eyes on your work.
    sgreenwell likes this.
  3. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    I do quite a bit and I cover the Mountain West. The players at CSU follow me anyway, but it's helped pick up followers from other players around the league, and extends my reach in the Mountain West when they RT.
  4. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Member

    I've always considered a good idea because of the reasons listed above. But what if those kids aren't doing so well? Do you still tag them in tweets?
  5. HackyMcHack

    HackyMcHack Member

    I do it only if the kid is getting major recruiting looks. Between football and basketball this season, I think I used handles for only three players ... both of the football players signed with power five conference schools, while the basketball player still has a year of school remaining.
  6. Personally, I've always just tagged the players when it has to do with something big. Scoring their 1,000th career point, being named the paper's MVP, making All-State. ... Not so much in reporting game scores.
  7. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    When I started using Twitter at my last job, I didn't with every high school team. It just felt creepy.
    With some of the teams I covered on a regular basis, I started using @ when I could find them. It felt less creepy because these were teams and players I had covered for four years or so. I caught some slack from people about it (some people who now do the same thing), but it helped gain some followers and views to the website.
    For playoffs, it was a nice tool to keep readers (mainly the young ones) up to date. Problem was, this was about a year or two before Twitter became what it is now, but I would highly recommend it for anything involving a highlight. I use it for my side/fun project and it's amazing how many web hits I get with one RT.
  8. Southwinds

    Southwinds Member


    All of the responses above are valid arguments, but there are two reasons why I don't do it.

    One, if someone's handle is something obscure, like @The_Tw31nty_One, who the heck is going to know who that is without clicking on the name/seeing it over and over again?

    Two, if you tag an athlete's name in your tweets when you're gushing over them, you have to do it when you're not. If you don't, it looks like you're unwilling to face the music. And, if you do, then you better be prepared to be called out for it.

    There's a writer I know who tags players incessantly, even when he gives HOT TAKES! and calls them out by name. Several players have made their displeasure with the guy, simply for that reason, well known.
    jpetrie18 and SFIND like this.
  9. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    I see no reason not to. Can get you re-tweeted to an audience that doesn't follow you, and can get you showing up in searches that people do for the athletes. If you aren't doing it, you're wasting a tool for engagement and expanding your audience. In the case of obscure names, you may need to use the person's given name in the post and add the Twitter handle at the end (Joe Blow scored 44 in UCO's big win. http://linky.link @Joe_Is_Awesome).

    And I'm not so sure that you always have to tag them. If you're using their actual name in negative posts, it will show up in most searches for the person. And you're not looking for the person to re-tweet you if it's negative. The purpose doing it would be to expand your audience. If the guy isn't going to re-tweet it, there's no point. When a player from the local HS runs for 300 yards, you tag him so maybe he'll re-tweet you. When he's arrested the next week for robbing a taxi, why is it necessary to tag him then as well? The tweet will mention him by name. I don't see why it's necessary to tag him in the latter case.
  10. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    But if it's a matter of tagging him in both positive and negative tweets or not tagging at all, I think it's blind to go the route of not tagging at all unless the character limit becomes an issue.
  11. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    Teams/schools yes, most of those are run by coaches or ADs and you can get a lot of eyeballs that way. Kids, for the most part, no. As stated above, if their handle is some unrecognizable thing that's not their name, it looks stupid to the average reader. Also feels creepy.

    To me there's a line between letting them know you're covering their stuff and pandering for re-tweets though. Someone regularly tags the schools in tweets about schedule changes, as if the schools aren't already aware they've changed their schedules...
  12. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    If I'm tagging someone who has a weird handle, I'll say, "John Doe (@GetDoeWithTheSickness) scores 98 points in win vs. StateU." A good way around it to save characters sometimes is tweet the story and attach a photo (photos take up more real estate in a Twitter feed and get more eyeballs), then tag the photo itself.
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