Dear GSoM community,
I know that Fantasy Junkie and Atma Brother ONE have been Twitter-averse in the past, but I actually got their permission to try and see if we can find new value out of live-tweeting. I thought doing this from their very own Row 8 season tickets would be the perfect setting to do this.
I'm no expert on Twitter, but I do think there is more to it than when Atma says, "The world dumbed down to 140 characters." (haha! Maybe true, but...?) On the flipside, I think it could actually enhance your real-time game experience.
Now, for those of you who are avid Game Thread commenters, I'm not sure that Twitter adds a whole lot of value to what you're already doing except if the guy who is tweeting is actually at the game vs also watching the game on TV, but remember what you're doing: you're typing on a computer while watching the game on TV, or online, or radio, or similar. It's great that GSoM will get like 2,000 comments tomorrow night, but I don't know, I tend to think that Game Thread commenters are actually a minority of all GSoM'ers, and 500+ will already be at the game.
I know that there's http://mobile.goldenstateofmind.com, but I just think commenting on any website using my smartphone is just kind of clunky. For me, I'd need to make sure I'm tapping the right place on my smartphone browser -- just too much work. The Twitter way of sending a text message is a lot easier.
I'd like to find out how the community feels about this, but first let me explain Twitter in the easiest way possible, at least as I know it (after the jump!)...
...So here is what Twitter allows you to do:
- The simplest use of Twitter is what you've heard in the news. If you're at some place that's important (or if you're a celebrity), you can tell the world what's happening at your place of importance without the need to pull out a laptop and login to a blog. You can just send a 140-character tweet with your phone, and the people who want to know what's happening will get that news via text messages on their phone. So if you're not there and you want to know what it's like to be there, Twitter is beneficial for you. Note: it will not be humanly possible to do a strict play-by-play; the best place for that is still NBA.com or ESPN.com (more on this later).
- Now here's the fun part. You can send what are called @replies ("at-replies") to the guy who's tweeting. Of course, you have to be a registered Twitter user to do this. People can tweet a reply/comment to my tweets; then I can tweet a reply to the reply/comment, and everyone will see the conversation (sort of, more on this later).
In essence, it's like having the Game Thread available on your phone. But there are pros and cons with Live Tweeting From The Game vs The Game Thread. Here are some that I have thought of thus far:
Where the Game Thread is better than Twitter:
- The ability to see ALL user comments
- You can type a message of any length, not restricted to 140 characters
- Can initiate a conversation with anybody else currently logged into the Game Thread
Where Twitter is better than the Game Thread:
- No need to be on a computer, but you do need at least a regular phone that has free text messaging
- Easier to type a message and send, although it is restricted to 140 characters
- Can get quality "what's happening" content without having any access to the game
- Easier to have a conversation with the person who is live-tweeting
The all-user-comments-of-Game-Threads vs conversation-with-Live-Tweeter thing explained: I'm sure you all "get" how to look at the Game Thread, post a comment, and see your comment along with the others. That's been here since Web 1.0 discussion boards. What's unique (good/bad?) about Twitter is that using the aforementioned @replies, it's like the Live-Tweeter is the hub and the people who reply are the spokes. You, as the replier, can't "see" (unless you have a cool smartphone Twitter app) other repliers' conversations with the Live-Tweeter, but you can see what the Live-Tweeter says in response to the replier. Hope that made sense.
However, since I know this is a possible built-in limitation of Twitter, I will do my very best to sort of give context to every @reply I give, so that in a way, every conversation I have with someone who replies will be shared a little bit.
I know what I just wrote above is confusing. So let's take an example. Let's pretend the Twitter username for me, the Live-Tweeter at Opening Night, is @gsom. [NOTE: This handle is already taken. Atma, FJ, and I will figure out what handle to use. My only beef with the existing @unstoppablebaby is that it is a chore for followers to type in that whole handle on your cellphone if all you want to do is type a quick reply.]
- So, let's say Monta goes after a ball careening out of bounds, leaps over a few rows of seats and lands near our seats.
- I'll tweet something like: "Wow, Monta just chased a ball out of bounds, landed near us. He looks hurt :-("
- If you've "followed" @gsom and set your Twitter account to hook up to your cellphone, you will see the following tweet as a text message on your cellphone: "gsom: Wow, Monta just chased a ball out of bounds, landed near us. He looks hurt :-("
- You're watching the game on TV and you can't quite see Monta on the screen, he's buried in the crowd.
- Let's say you are Joe Schmoe and your Twitter handle is @joeschmoe. You tweet this: "@gsom: What do you see? Does he look like he's in pain?"
- NOTE: Nobody else following the @gsom handle can see what you, @joeschmoe, just tweeted back, unless they happen to have a cool Twitter app on their smartphone which allows them to "click around" to other Twitter users' tweets.
- Unbeknownst to you, another user with the handle @janedoe tweets something similar: "@gsom: How far is he from you? Did he twist an ankle or a knee?"
- Meanwhile, the TV broadcast breaks to a commercial. People watching the game on TV cannot possibly know the status of Monta's potential injury real-time.
- During the commercial break, you get my next tweet: "gsom: @joeschmoe @janedoe Monta's not hurt. He got up and jogged back to court."
- I've essentially replied to Joe and Jane's tweets by including the @ symbol and their usernames in my tweet, which is a good idea in case other people want to know where the current conversation is coming from. FYI, if more than a few people are asking the same thing, obviously I'll probably skip the @username thing.
- But when you want to join the conversation, you must include the at-reply and my username. So in this example, you must put @gsom before every tweet because I will automatically see any tweet that has @gsom in it.
Incidentally, you can use the web-based version of Twitter to search on keywords. So in the above example, you actually could see all the conversations going into and out of @gsom if you have a smartphone and do a keyword search on "@gsom" (this is just an example, we don't really have the @gsom handle!).
- TV broadcast comes back from commercial and shows a replay of Monta getting up and jogging back to the court.
- My next tweet: "gsom: Curry and Acie are at the table gonna check in, 3-guard small ball if Monta stays"
- My next tweet: "gsom: Crowd cheers, now that they see Steph at the table"
I hope I've illustrated the benefits (and limitations) of Twitter. I think people expect Twitter to be something that's everything to everybody, and people get disappointed when it's not. To curb some of the limitations of Twitter, as well as re-enhance its benefits, I plan to:
- Begin the Live-Tweet as soon as I arrive at the arena for shootaround.
- Answer as many @replies as possible.
- Check the Game Thread on my smartphone during timeouts.
- Try to tweet things that aren't readily apparent from someone not also at the game.
I also plan not to do any play-by-play per se (because it's really not possible as the action is way too fast for typing on a cellphone), so if you're one of those people who is out of the country and can't see or hear the game, or even if you have no access to the rote play-by-play on NBA.com or ESPN.com, my tweets will be the best you got. That being said, I'll occasionally tweet out the score when there's a few minutes of dead time, just in case.
If you've read this far, congratulations, because I'm giving away the other ticket I won!!! Just post a comment below what your Twitter username is, then tweet me @poormanscommish and I'll give the ticket to the person who has the most Warrior fans followers. How can I tell if you have the most Warriors worriers in your follower list? Well, I'll do a little research, but certainly the absolute number of followers will figure into the equation.
OK, so I was wondering how you all feel about this Live-Tweeting thing. Any questions, please leave a comment...