Just about everyone who has anything to do with information, which includes every human being on earth, is aware that major changes are afoot in how and where we get our news.
This includes the vehicle of news distribution, the timing and release concepts involved at every level.
Last week the Denver Broncos became the first team in American sports history to announce a head coaching change exclusively through social media. It was done via both Twitter and Facebook, simultaneously, with that decision made by Patrick Smyth, Executive Director of Media Relations for the Broncos.
Smyth said of his decision, “Announcing the news via social media was without question the fastest way for us to reach our fans directly. We did not ignore traditional media, as we provided regular updates to our on-site press in the media room after the initial announcements.”
In addition to the initial announcements via Twitter and Facebook, the team’s web site, DenverBroncos.com, immediately posted the news following the messages.
Besides working with the all the traditional news media sites, strengthening our internal media is a major priority for the Broncos, which is a reflection of how everything that is information-oriented is evolving in the entire world.
Social media affords organizations, and in this case teams, the opportunity to blend technology and social interaction for the benefit of whatever franchise is doing it.
These social media sites are growing almost exponentially. They are relatively inexpensive and accessible in such a manner as to enable anyone, whether an organization or a private individual, the opportunity to publish and access information.
The mainstream media which has been the backbone of society’s news dissemination for centuries generally require significant financial resources to publish or transmit information.
And more and more, we are seeing that the public just does not want to wait.
A recent survey in Advertising Age said that the public wants information now, right now, does not care how they get it, as long as it is fast, hopes it is accurate, and then makes its own decisions as to whether it will further use or trust the disseminating site, based on speed of news release AND accuracy of the information.
So many individuals playing the social media game will fall by the wayside in terms of accuracy, unable to compete with the traditionally trained and supported professional media sites.
But teams can provide that accuracy-at least, when a particular team makes an announcement about itself, there is little reason for anyone to doubt the veracity of the report.
Social media sites allow teams the kind of reach that can take your message to a global audience, as well as easy accessibility and usability for the audience, which scary to say, seems to be the whole world, all at once.
Also, the lag time between information released by standard media can be (by comparison) long, as social media can deal in virtually instantaneous response. Certainly, the standard news media also are developing their own social media at a rapid rate, making the release of news exponentially more immediate.
Social media now accounts for almost a quarter of all time spent online in the United States.
On an average game day the Denver Broncos web sites receive an average of just under 700,000 page views.
Twitter now averages almost 40 million tweets per day.
The Broncos were the first team to make an announcement of this type via social media, but we certainly will not be the last team to announce major news in this manner, nor will last week likely be the last time the Broncos will have done so — more likely, it will become part of the process for us and every other team.
Everything about the information highway is now traveling at crazy fast speed.
There is an old quote from fabled racing car champion Mario Andretti to the effect that, “If everything is under control, you are not going fast enough.”
More and more, that seems to apply perfectly to information technology in the world of sports.