Social Media and Sports

As new technology is developed and older technology is revamped, we see an increase in the various methods people use to gather information – including information regarding sports. Some people still read the newspaper every day to see the box scores, while some take advantage of television broadcasts. But more and more people have been using the internet to get their sports news, especially with the onset of social media.

As social media has continued to develop and evolve, there have been two main frontrunners that have emerged – Twitter and Facebook. Both mediums can be used to access news and information about sports teams, as well as scores. But which social networking site is best for getting the information? Brad Wandell, a senior in communications from the University of Kansas, says it may mostly boils down to personal preference.

“If you have someone who hates Twitter and isn’t on it, then they obviously aren’t going to use it to get their sports information,” Wandell said. “But as for people who are on both sites, immediacy plays a big role in which medium they use.”

Twitter would seem to be the king of social media immediacy. It makes it easy to send out a score update or player information immediately. While this is also doable on Facebook, Wandell says it’s not really what it’s tooled for.

“Sure, you can post things on Facebook and send them out immediately,” Wandell said. “But Twitter is more set up to get things out quicker. Granted, that does bring in the issue or accuracy into the mix.”

Twitter accuracy has been called into question in the past. Sometimes, inaccurate news has been tweeted out about trade or team information that hasn’t been entirely true. This tends to make people wary about believing everything they see on social media sites.

“When I’m getting ready to tweet out something, I always want to make sure I’ve done some fact checking and a little bit of research first,” said Bob Lutz, a sports columnist for the Wichita Eagle. “There’s no bigger blemish for your credibility record than tweeting out something that turns out to be fake.”

Sam Mellinger, a sports columnist for the Kansas City Star, isn’t quite sold on using social media in such a way.

“When you ask about accuracy and reliability, I’m not sure either is great,” Mellinger said. “These are very good tools to use, but there are so many wives tales that get spread on Facebook and so many fake accounts on Twitter, you can’t just take it for the truth. But for me, and what I do, Twitter is a thousand times better than Facebook.”

For the most part, Lutz agrees and went on to say he has seen a “polarizing shift” in the amount of sports information people receive from social media sites – especially from Twitter.

“It’s just the nature of the beast,” Lutz said. “It’s much easier for teams to send out quick little updates about team events and scores via Twitter than via Facebook. People have picked up on that. Sure, accuracy can be an issue sometimes, but if it’s a reputable account, the information they post should be good.”

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