The 2012 Major League Baseball (MLB) season is just under way, and a growing number of the ballpark faithful are connecting with their home team like never before. Whether you root for the Brew Crew, the Buccos, the BoSox, or the Bronx Bombers, all of the 30 MLB teams are now curating content in their own "Social Media Clubhouses".
MLB's open approach to social media is guided by their recently released social media policy. Distributed to all of the leagues players about 2 weeks before the 2012 season kicked off, it contains a memo explaining the intent of the policy, then the policy itself. The memo encourages players to use social media to "help bring fans closer to the game and have them engaged with baseball, your club and you in a meaningful way". Then the policy itself contains a list of prohibited conduct. It's pretty basic stuff for any employer to expect from their employees, such as don't harass people, don't make insensitive jokes, don't share sexually explicit content, don't make discriminatory or derogatory statements, etc. The policy is simple, short, and straightforward - well done MLB!
The pace of a baseball game lends itself nicely to social media use and to Twitter in particular. I can watch a pitch, send a tweet, read a few others, be ready for the next pitch and not miss a thing. Watching the game while following a variety of MLB-related hashtags and accounts is a great option. You can converse with other fans, get some behind-the-scenes looks at your team, and view great pics from people who are actually at the ballpark.
But the Social Media Clubhouse is more than just Twitter. In essence, it's a social media dashboard where you can:
- Read the latest blog posts
- Participate in various discussion forums
- Check out fan photos
- Download a browser toolbar
- Subscribe to their newsletter
- Follow their Google+ stream
- Like their Facebook page
- View and follow their Twitter feed
- And my favourite - A list of all player accounts active on Twitter so you can tweet with the players directly. It's a new level of access to the players that was impossible before - and they actually respond.
As a life-long Toronto Blue Jays fan, I started noticing social media creeping into the MLB experience a few years ago when the Blue Jays began experimenting with Tweeting Tuesdays. During this promotion, fans would ask questions of the announcers, respond to trivia questions, and win prizes. At that point the club was planning on having only about 6 Tweeting Tuesdays, but by the end of 2011 it was every week.
Fast forward to today and all of the teams are running a Social Media Clubhouse - and it looks something like this:
If you are a social media enthusiast and a baseball fan, these clubhouses are a must. Now all you have to do is find your favourite team and follow the game!