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.
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 (!).
The 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.