Are Elon Musk’s Twitter and esports about to crash?

Is Sports Twitter Coming Out?

Is Sports Twitter Coming Out?
picture: Getty Images

When I first started covering the New York Jets in 2008, I also joined Twitter. It was a great way to spread the word, see what your competition knew and hear from regular fans.

That was before accounts were verified, so I actually went to players like Jets DB Kerry Rhodes to verify that they were actually the authors behind their tweets.

Since then, the way sports fans use social media has definitely evolved. For millions, it’s the second screen on an NFL Sunday, with moments like Odell Beckham Jr.’s one-handed catch for the Giants in 2014, followed by thousands of tweets like Twitter was the biggest sports bar on earth.

Teams have connected with their fans online, some fans have built a decent following, and some of them have even used their Twitter platform to dive into careers or sports-related businesses. Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites have proven to advertisers that women’s sport is a good investment as women who play have been shown to engage with a wide fan base. Think Oregons Sedona Prince at the start of the 2021 NCAA tournament.

What do sports fans do when it’s the second week of the World Cup, they open the app and Twitter isn’t there?

First, how did we get here? Up until 3 weeks ago the site ran like a well maintained engine. In this week, The architecture that has supported a decade of sporting moments is struggling. New owner and narcissistic billionaire Elon Musk is firing people with the same frequency he’s berating posts (would that make it shit?), and the cracks in the infrastructure are starting to show.

First, he had the brilliant* idea of ​​charging everyone $8 for a blue check, which used to mean a verified account, but without actually verifying the customers. So, as Twitter’s own strategists predicted, many pranksters chose names of public figures like Lebron James and then tweeted fake news.

*It wasn’t brilliant. And now hordes of brands are diverting their advertising dollars elsewhere.

“With the layoffs and resignations, brand protection and moderation, it’s just a little too toxic,” said The Social Element’s executive director Tamara Littleton told the Telegraph in London.

Sports Twitter has been somewhat isolated from all of these problems for a few reasons. Nights, college football Saturdays, and NFL Sundays are generally slower news hours. Functionally, this means there will be less timeline disruption from weekday political Twitter.

As the World Cup is about to begin, the website could attract stadiums of fans from all parts of the world who want to watch the matches in their own language and in real-time. The question is whether it can still handle the traffic.

So let’s say the worst happens and there is a technical error on Twitter. This is by no means just speculation when a number of engineers have been warning about it all week. There is previously reported issues with two-factor authentication and other functions such as archive requests.

What makes Twitter such a great place for sports fans is its speed. The speed of conversations, fast turnaround time for watching videos, and the ability to quickly find like-minded users on the site. And this is also where you’ll find athletes tweeting about projects, grudges, and advocacy. You can see them making mistakes in real-time and be the first to apologize for their apologies and non-apologies.

This has been a major boon for sports leagues and teams as it allows fans to be much more engaged than they were in the era of newspapers and season tickets. You can still do that, but you can also hear how each training camp session went in real time without having to show up at a facility.

It’s not clear where fans might go if this all falls apart. A quieter social media alternative that has drawn academics and scientists, Mastodon has a similar schedule and allows for conversations, but it’s not as easy to find your fellow travelers or upload media. Instagram is more of a one-way communication. Discord has esports and sports communities, but the individual themed channels would be an adjustment.

There’s no natural second side for fans because there didn’t have to be. Twitter nurtured sports communities by creating event emojis and stories that made it easy to keep up with a conversation.

For sportswriters and broadcasters, Twitter has been invaluable. ESPN and other outlets have had evolving social media policies that address things like verifying who they claim to be, how and by whom messages can be shared, and how much of your non-sporting opinions get into your social Media accounts should arrive .

However, remember how many sports stories have been generated through tweets? Who Forgets When, via Twitter, Rob Lowe “reported” Peyton Mannings pension 2012? Just four years before Manning actually retired. Thankfully, the phrase “sliding into her DMs” has spilled over to other social media, otherwise it could be lost forever.

Hopefully Twitter stays for sports fans. Musk said in a Delaware court to address a Tesla-related issue on Wednesday that he expects to find a new CEO “over time.” Not too much time if we want this magical sports room to continue to be sports fans’ favorite second screen.


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