This may come as a shock to you, but when I go to the grocery store, I’m going for milk. Maybe some cereal and the occasional can of soup (I know, I’m not much of a chef), but you get the idea: groceries. When I go in to an electronics store, I’m going to try out the latest gadget or gizmo that I can’t afford, or buy the game that everybody else got six months ago. The point is that I don’t go to an electronics store to buy milk, and I don’t go to a grocery store to buy HD televisions.
Which is why I get so frustrated with the way that ESPN tweets (watch as I turn that non-sequitur into just a sequitur with the power of…writing!). I am a sports fan — I might not look it, but I am — and so when I go to social media for sports updates, that’s what I want. Sports updates. News, trade rumors, the latest scores, facts, historical notes, interesting stats — that’s what I want from my sports social media. To the best of my knowledge, I’m in the majority with this sort of thinking. Now, generally, organizations are self-aware enough to realize that this is what their audience is looking for, and they happily deliver. A sort of unspoken social contract of “you give me the info I want and I’ll give you my attention”. Attention is a valuable commodity (arguably the most valuable commodity of our day), and so organizations are usually careful to abuse or waste this sort of thing. For instance when I follow Variety for entertainment news, that’s what they give me: new trailers, insider industry info, contract upheavals, castings, awards coverage, etc. They provide the facts and current info as is, without needless speculation or silly half-witticisms. Unfortunately with the ESPN twitter account, this is only true part of the time.
Some of the time, I get exactly what I want from ESPN’s social media: headlines, scores, trades. But then some of the time I get this ridiculous, half-editorialized faux commentary that reads like my little sister’s tweets (no offense, Alissa). My sister is allowed to tweet like a college-age girl because she is one. The worldwide leader in sports is not. If I wanted to follow someone’s opinions or half-baked witticisms on sports, I’d follow sports writers or anchors that I like. When I roll my eyes at a sports tweet, I want it to because The Cavs lost or The Bengals made a terrible draft pick, not because whoever runs the ESPN twitter is trying to be clever.
Disclaimer: Of course, I understand that I can unfollow at any time, and ultimately I bring all this on myself, but it’s almost July 4th and nothing is more American than complaining about something asinine that you have total control to stop/avoid at any moment. Also, please bear in mind that we are fully in the uncharted depths of the pet peeve zone, so I understand if this seems arbitrary or irrelevant to you. Just chalk it up to one of those things I needed to get off my chest.
With that in mind, I present:
Just the Facts, Ma’am: ESPN and Sports Journalism 101.
Ok so let’s kick off the rant strong: I hate it whenever ESPN talks like it’s our own voice. I am my own person, I don’t need the twitter account of a sports website to try and speak for me. Specifically I don’t need it to imply that I’ve ever gotten up and intentionally watched tennis. Secondably, the NBA made tens of billions of dollars off of me and “Basketball Fans Everywhere” this year, so I think that’s thanks enough. Good rule here, just don’t put words in my mouth. There are plenty there already.