Yesterday, Meghan Granito wrote an excellent blog piece about Seattle Sports and social media. She made some great points, including some with which I disagreed, so we had rich discussion in the comments. Then I practically commented a blog … And here we are today.
In short, I think that the Seahawks are good at social media – like really, really good. And the Mariners aren’t.
In the late 90’s and early 00’s, the Mariners had strong TV ad presence. People actually looked forward to their annual commercials because they were clever and they personalized players for us. They coined phrases like “Sodo Mojo,” still used (by some lonely fans) today.
In turn, players gained local presence through local ads. I can still hear Edgar Martinez saying, “it’s a light bat” in my head!
But this is the old way.
Now the Mariners’ media presence centers around one player (Hernandez), rather than a lovable team. Not everyone will connect to one player, and that one player is temporal. And the machine feeds us King Felix on limited platforms; he does not connect on his own.
The Hawks have the opposite approach:
The whole team is worth connecting to, to following, on every platform possible.
YouTube – The online pioneer for the team had to have been Michael Robinson. Years ago, he created “The Real Rob Report” on YouTube. This behind-the-scenes show gave light hearted glimpses into the locker room antics, and helped players connect with fans in a totally fresh way – unhindered by corporate media. This was also the first time we saw Marshawn Lynch’s aversion to media – but addressed with humor and love by his friends.
Instagram – It’s Instagram where I learned to love Russell Wilson, and hate Colin Kaepernick, by contrast. Scroll Russell’s feed: hospital visit, hospital visit, practice, hospital visit. Now scroll Colin’s: Vegas, shoe collection, selfie by the pool, selfie with celebrity. Instagram is the instant image builder, and Russell Wilson has used it to create an image beloved by the fans.
Twitter – From the 12’s taking it over on game day, to live play by play by the @Seahawks account, to constant interaction with major and minor media outlets, Twitter is the fast lane of social media. Virtually every player has an account, but none use it quite as brilliantly as Doug Baldwin.
The mode in media is to keep people as single-dimensional as possible. So, Baldwin is pegged as “Angry Doug.” And while this can certainly be true of him (and awfully fun to watch), he is human, and therefore complex.
Contemplative Doug will reflect on mistakes or spur himself on after victories. Religious Doug will quote scripture and give props to his Maker.
And then there’s #TuesdayTroll. On Tuesdays, Doug finds a random tweet, responds to it, and hash tags it. It’s hilarious.
Personal Bloggers – When I grow up, I want to be Richard Sherman. Or at least feel as free to speak (and write) as he does. His blog is one part in-depth game analysis, one part address-the-haters, one part sell-some-stuff … but it is pure prose. His verbosity serves him just as well written, as it does being yelled in Erin Andrews’s face!
The App – I’ve had – and deleted – the MLB app, several soccer apps, NFL apps … But I will always maintain the Seahawks app. Its push notifications of injuries, its live play, its interface with other platforms – all of these make it essential during the game as well as in between.
And then there’s Tumblr, and Facebook, and Swarm … And …
In a season when the Mariners are doing well, I’ve seen less about them than ever. And while, yes, a SuperBowl does generally rile up support – I’d argue that it took this continued perpetual motion of social media interaction to propel the Hawks toward success.
It can’t be one guy – it’s the whole team.
It can’t be one way – it’s organic fan interaction.
It can’t be one platform – it’s pervasive and innovative sites and technologies.
Take a note, Mariners.