Diamondbacks Tweet Up a Huge Success

Before Monday’s game with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Arizona Diamondbacks held their first annual Tweetup. The event was to bring users of Social Media in content with a panel of local Social Media personalities to open dialog on how tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs have changed the landscape of sports.

The Diamondbacks announced the event via Twitter and followed up with posts to their Facebook site. Given that communication path it was impressive to see nearly 100 fans in attendance at this first event.

The evening began with a panel discussion where fans were allowed to ask questions of the social media personnel. The panel was made up of Diamondbacks employees, members of traditional media, and a couple of bloggers. From the media there were Todd Walsh from the Fox Sports telecasts, Jack Magruder from FoxSportsArizona.com, and Steve Gilbert writer for MLB on ArizonaDiamondbacks.com. The Diamondbacks employees included John Prewitt who manages the Diamondbacks Twitter account, Josh Greene editor of D-backs Insider magazine and manager of DBlog, relief pitcher Brad Ziegler, and Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall. The two bloggers were Jim McLennan from AZSnakePit.com and myself.

It was interesting hearing from each of these individuals as they discussed how social media was changing the landscape of sports and sports reporting. It was especially fascinating to hear that Brad Ziegler actually found out about his trade to Arizona via Twitter before the Athletics notified him. Both Magruder and Walsh talked about how they use social media for breaking stories and how it has replaced much of the traditional sources for stories and ideas.

The fans at the Tweetup were very interactive which should probably have been expected since Twitter focuses on the instantaneous reporting of consciousness. Their questions were well thought-out and you could tell they were passionate followers of the team and baseball as a whole.

After the panel discussion there was a mixer where participants were able to mingle and get to know each other. I was able to meet several people who I regularly converse with online but had never had the opportunity to meet in person. I found them to be even more warm and generous than they are online and I already held them in high regard.

It was fun to put faces to names and to see the love of baseball and technology that these fans had. Once the game started participants were treated to seats on the Diamond Level where they were treated to an incredible game, which the Diamondbacks won on a broken bat home run by Justin Upton rewarding Ian Kennedy with his 20th win.

The Diamondbacks and Fox Sports should be commended for how well this event was run. They had the Fox Sports Girls there to greet those registered and gave great gifts including a T-shirt, personal fan, and a lanyard. The D-backs made it extra special by giving each fan $15 in D-Bucks to be used at various concessions throughout the stadium.

It was an event I will not soon forget. The people I met and spoke with are baseball fans through and through. Most were rooting for the home team but I did have an opportunity to meet Ed a self proclaimed Dodgers fan who was visiting from Orange County California. We talked and I kidded him that he was the first Dodger fan I had met who wasn’t being tossed out of the stadium for disrupting the game. He laughed and assured me there were more just like him. I promised I would make a trip to Dodger Stadium and look for him so he could point out the other friendly Dodger fans.

Perhaps the most lasting impression as to the importance and prevalence of social media came after the game in the Diamondbacks clubhouse. Ryan Roberts was sitting at his locker getting ready to get dressed to leave when pitcher Wade Miley came up to him and asked for help. Miley desperately wanted more followers on Twitter and asked Roberts for help. Roberts picked up his phone and said, “Well I have 5,000 loyal followers. Let me see if I can hook you up.” It was classic seeing the Twitter veteran Roberts sending out messages helping a rookie teammate. So in an attempt to get the rookie going, follow @WadeMiley36 on Twitter.

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