How I live-tweet cricket for the BLACKCAPS

As a twitter nerd, and a cricket nerd, when I got a job at New Zealand Cricket, getting to live-tweet BLACKCAPS matches was a bit of a nerd explosion. I’ve been at it a couple of years now, and have covered our matches from the office, my couch and cricket grounds around New Zealand and the world. Not to mention off the phone at a Kindy Trike-A-Thon. Ahem. Here’s a bit of a run down on what I’m trying to do with live-tweeting BLACKCAPS matches.

Being there
Ideally, you’re giving your fans something they can’t get somewhere else, like the team news first, early news on the pitch, the scene in the shed, what have you. It is hot? Is there a dirty great rain cloud on its way? Is there a rowdy section in the crowd making all the atmosphere? I want to tell you about anything you can’t see on the telly.

Find the right rhythm
I’m aiming to keep folk on Twitter up to date, without annoying them. Some people are watching on TV, some are at the ground, some are following live scorecards and some are in the office or our and about following on Twitter.

With all that in mind, I want you to be able to follow the game through our account, alongside all the other people you follow on Twitter, with the tempo of the game in mind. We generally tweet about wickets, fours, milestones (50s, 100s, partnerships etc) and between all that, that’s usually plenty. Obviously if something happens you need to know about we’ll tell you, but there’s no minimum number of tweets.

If it’s a dull session, I’m not going to give you the blow by blow. But at the same time, if we need 12 to win in the last over to make our first World Cup final, you bet your arse I’ll let you know what’s happening in lengthy and in vivid.

I’m aiming for impartial, but at the same time, we’re the @BLACKCAPS account. If someone makes a tremendous catch, takes a wicket, scores 300 etc, we’re going to celebrate it. At the same time, if we mess up, we’ll tell you but probably not go to town on it.

An example – I use our players Twitter handles when they come out to bat or bowl and take wickets / score milestones, but if they drop a catch or get out, I just type their name out, they don’t need to see that.

Apart from that, I think it’s OK to use humour, but not too much. I’m aiming for pithy.

Aim for first-ish
When a wicket goes, you need to have the score, batsmen’s score, method of dismissal, bowler, catcher, etc, etc, etc at your fingertips in seconds. That’s a bit to get in a hurry.

You want to be swift, but I don’t put pressure on myself to be first with the news. There’s ALWAYS someone faster on the internet, and people at the ground / watching or listening at home can see what’s happened for themselves after all. It’s better to be near the front of the pack and right than first and wrong.

Also, you want to apologise and fix things when you stuff up. Our fans have saved me a number of times, I find it’s best to embrace and make friends with correctors, in general (!).

2014-02-03 16.41.14The crowd is better than you
The internet is funnier than we are, has great photos and better stats. It’s a team sport, Twitter, and we can cover what’s happening better as a group, recognise and reward our loyal fans and have some fun together, so we embrace and hit the retweet button a lot.

It makes our feed better and hopefully our fans get a kick out of it. If your gameday tweet deck doesn’t have mentions, match and team hashtags and Twitter lists of your fans handy for retweeting, you should set that shit up now.

Don’t forget to look up
Right? No matter if you’re sat in the media box, or in front of the TV, with the laptop open it’s easy to get distracted by Twitter, updating the website, the news, etc etc etc. While keeping everything ticking on your channels is what you’re there for, you do your best job by being very aware of what’s happening on the park. I can be bad at this, to be fair.

2013-05-16 23.15.27

Flight Of The Concords, Vector Arena


Thoroughly enjoyed the Concords. Ever since I learned Bret is a Harry Nilsson fan, I’ve been hearing little touches of Harry in his music – his tune that incorporated a bus tour guide and inter-marital affairs definitely had it. Musical comedy is hard to a) pull off and b) sustain, but Bret’s music, Jermaine’s sexually charged nerdly self assurance and their easy stage presence had me and the rest of the arena forgetting we were in an aren and laughing, whooping and cheering for the entire show. Recommended, as was warm up act Arj Barker.

Auckland, Aotearoa Gill

An evening with AA Gill, Auckland Readers & Writers Festival 13 May 2011

AA Gill, the man himself, dismantler of restaurants and sharpest dictaphone in the west strolled slowly on stage suited and booted, ready to talk.

And talk he did, about food, criticism, his mother, his father, television,travel and his previous life as a drug dealer and alcoholic. There were quotable lines galore (I arrived in Auckland. It was lashing down. I thought “I’ve arrived in Hull”).  He does a pretty bang on Prince Charles impression. The question and answer session gave him a couple of set piece opportunities (The Isle of Man and being chucked out of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant), as well as a couple of  bizarre, were-they-planted ramblers.

Fishing’s Al Brown was asking the questions, and looked a bit out at sea. Whenever Gill paused mid-tale, and looked to his right, where a Kim Hill or Russell Brown may have given the right rejoinder to really get the  conversation cooking, he saw Brown looking at his notes. Gill couldn’t resist clawing him around a bit (“Oh, you’re a CHEF?), but let him off, mostly. Apparently Brown took him fishing on the Gulf that morning, where they both got a Kahawai (They ate it as sashimi, he told me when I had my book signed). Must have been been good.

I didn’t know what to expect from a man so clinically, hilariously scathing in print, but after an hour and a bit in his company, I thought I’d quite  like to share a meal with him. A bit of a show-off, yes, but utterly charming, with a razor sharp eye for where best to take the piss from. Beneath the metaphor athletics and withering words, he just wants things to be enjoyable. Enjoyable food, enjoyable places to travel, enjoyable things to entertain us on the box. Not much to ask. Uncynical enthusiasm, and an artfully written take-down if you’re not up to scratch. I quite liked that.

Souvenir cc @aklwritersfest

Further reading:

AA Gill in Vanity Fair

The Herald’s Michele Hewitson experiences The Charm up close, and is charmed interview

TV writing from The Times – seems to have escaped the paywall

Interview with The Listener’s Diana Wichtel

Update: Here’s a video of the session in full, courtesy Auckland readers and writers festival

Foo Fighters – Vector Arena 06 May 2008

I went along to Vector Area on Tuesday night to see the Foos. I’d kind of drifted away in recent years, thinking they’d gone too ‘we are SERIOUS rock band’ – case in point: compare this to this.

Rock snob that I am, it puts me off that too many people that buy NickelBack records like them now – I mean, there was a Rock FM Dodge RAM parked in front of Vector Area with the Foo’s faces painted on the side. Hey! Dave Grohl used to be in Nirvana, you know! Get your own band, bogans!

But – I loved it. I’d forgotten they had so many great songs – and I kind of forgive them for bringing a violin player with them, and playing an acoustic set lasting almost an hour.

They’ve definitely kept their sense of humour – Grohl’s quite the comedian, and me and me mate were giggling like the schoolgirls we actually are throughout. Sample dialogue:

“I wanna say one thing…” *crowd goes wild*

“New Zealand fuckin’ SUCKS!” *crowd doesn’t know what to do with itself*

“No wait, just joking!”

Maybe you had to be there. But you know, I was greatly entertained for 2 hours 40 minutes by great songs and great touches like a tongue in cheek blues jam and Grohl embarrassing the lead guitarist with a male stripper for his birthday. It was the last night of this tour, they were obviously having a ball, and had an almost Springsteen-like desire to give the fans their money’s worth – unlike some recent visitors. Thoroughly recommended – it’s hard to stay cynical sometimes, eh.

Bonus vid – Dave falling arse over tit. I got a great park, too.