Paul Stockham's Blog
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"

“Game Bird” – A New Social Media Phenomenon!

Over the weekend I experienced a new social media phenomenon.“Watching” sports on Twitter!

It started Sunday morning when I was looking for a live video feed to watch Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne one of the early season “Belgian Classic” bike races. For non cycling fans, these races are notorious for being run on bad roads and usually in bad weather.

I found live coverage on Belgian TV Channel Sporza with Flemish commentary, so I also follow the written updates from Cyclingnews to keep track of what is going on in English. The weather gets so bad, with freezing rain, gale force winds and lousy visablity, that Cyclingnews are struggling to figure out what is going on in the race!

At this point I was also on Twitter. After a few quick searches and sharing the link to the Belgian TV coverage we now have a good little “Twitter #KBK community” forming. Mainly fans like me, but also a few professional cycling sites and even one cycling commentator – Brian Smith who works with Cycling TV.

Now this is where it starts getting interesting, as the information dried up (unlike the weather!) everyone fills the void with what effectively became our own commentary. What’s happening with the race, who looks strong, background info on riders, personal tips on who will win etc.

It was actually a great race, a real battle of survival and it almost felt like watching with a bunch of friends, although I only actually knew one of the guys in real life! Some pretty good one liners and jokes made it a lot more fun than just watching the video.

Next up we have the Olympic hockey final so out of curiosity I look to see who is following this on Twitter as I am watching on NBC. It seemed like all of Canada and most of the USA had formed into the “Twitter #Hockey (Twockey?) community”! Again there were some funny tweets, one in particular made me laugh, when someone said “These non hockey tweets are beginning to annoy me!”

This Group was a lot more animated, but I guess things happen much faster in a hockey game. There was also a lot more rivalry, but that’s understandable with only two teams and not many neutrals! When Parise scored the equaliser with 24 seconds to go there were literally thousands of tweets in a few seconds and it was crystal clear if they were from Canadians or Americans!

I would be very interested to hear how many #Hockey tweets there were during this game, if anyone has the stats?

Again it definitely added an extra dimension to the game, not as good as being there, but more fun than just watching television only. As the game finished there were a lot of messages, being tweeted about how people had enjoyed “watching the game on Twitter”.

So who knows, maybe this social media thing could catch on!

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