This past weekend I did an interview with Arian Karimian for USA Today about Twitter. He created an article and posted it online, here’s a link. It was interesting to remember why we started using Twitter and seeing now where we’re at.
We started using Twitter in 2007 right after we got the #1 pick in the NBA Draft. Immediately I knew we would be getting a TON of more traffic to the site. I wanted to create an extremely robust experience for new fans that were curious about the team. The big question that people would be coming to ask, Will it be Oden or Durant. I went to the guys at Substance and asked, how fast can we create a microsite for this subject.
The guys at Substance rocked and created an amazing microsite that took about 14 days to create. One of the features was a Twitter Feed. I had heard about Twitter, but saw the application for us immediately when they framed it in the site. It totally makes sense as a way to pull back the curtain and let them know what is going on, especially during closed door events like draft workouts.
Back in 2007, there wasn’t @replies, only broadcasting. But as soon as those became functional bringing in conversation into the application made sense. We had a period where we didn’t use it as much as we do now, but I would say 50% of our Tweets now are @ replies.
Another feature that wasn’t around in 2k7 was Twitpics and the like. A picture tells 1,000 words, let alone 140 characters. If that was available during the draft, that would have gone a long way.
We plan on continuing Tweeting, during the playoffs we’re using it to keep the conversation going with fans and also promotion different pieces of engaging content on our site (like live game blogging, play-by-play modules, and post game live video stream). We’ve promoted the hashtag #uprise and you can see the Tweets from the people using it to showcase if they’re talking about Trail Blazers Playoffs 2009.
I see us continue to use Twitter and integrating it more into the design of trailblazers.com and especially the new version of our social network iamatrailblazersfan.com. Being able to push content out of iama, or bring Tweets in is a project for the summer to get ready for the 09-10 season. Seeing such a mainstream influx of Twitter users (1,382% year over year in February) we’ll need to incorporate the ease of use of that platform into iama. Even for my own sake, I don’t want to have to update two or three different sites. I want to update one, Twitter, and have that update iama and Facebook. Or vice versa, update Iama and have that update Twitter and Facebook.
I wonder about Twitter being such a mainstream phenomenon. I think that a lot of people are going to check it out, see their favorite celebrity Tweeting and leave about a couple of months. I’ve heard a lot of people that “don’t get it”. Not all people are content contributors. Even celebrities aren’t content contributors unless it is good content. Now you’ll be more engaged in the mundane content that they create (ate some cake for example) than a random person, but after awhile, that won’t become interesting. That’s why Shaq has been so successful. He’s an interesting person. He writes interesting content. Not all people can carry that… that’s why when people really really want our players to Tweet. If they can’t do it consistently or make it interesting, I don’t see why they would want to on either side.