Friday, May 13, 2011

Dwight Writes in Small Bites

Sorry it's been awhile since a post; was down most of the week for maintenance.

Interesting stories filtering through Orlando and New York regarding Magic center Dwight Howard. The NBA All-Star is accusing the local newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel, of trying to "run him out of town." The Sentinel has published several articles essentially telling the free-agent-t0-be that he needs to let the Magic know his plans so the team can avoid a situation like last summer, when LeBron's surprise announcement left the stunned Cavaliers little time to rebuild.

Nothing much new here; athletes and newspapers have been feuding for decades. What's interesting is that Howard is not using the newspaper (or TV or radio) to fight back, but Twitter. He's posting messages and updates such as, "“I'm not blaming the media,” Howard would say in a later tweet. “I'm saying stop with the dumb articles." (To be honest, I'm not sure what the distinction is there).

This is how the modern athlete uses social media--as a means of connecting with fans, shaping a personal message, and of course, responding to outside criticism. Why bother to respond to the Sentinel (circulation 172,000 and falling) when Howard can reach more people (Dwight Howard Twitter followers: 2.02 million and climbing). Howard's affinity for Twitter is well known, but he's certainly not alone among athletes.

Maybe they should start taking classes or instruction on Twitter and PR strategies or crisis communications ...


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