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Social media brings the players to the #12s

Posted Sep 28, 2013

Being able to instantly communicate with the Legion of Boom or be able to get an inside look as Russell Wilson visits Seattle Children’s Hospital through his Instagram is one of the best parts of the fan experience.

Ever since I got my first reply from a player, I was hooked. I’ve been able to share direct messages with former players and have even had the chance to shake hands with some of the biggest players the team has ever known.

I’m saying this not to #humblebrag (OK, a little), but to say that none of that would have happened without social media. Being able to instantly communicate with the Legion of Boom or be able to get an inside look as Russell Wilson visits Seattle Children’s Hospital through his Instagram (@DangeRussWilson) is one of the best parts of the fan experience.

Having the players (and coachesmascotsowners and cheerleaders) a short message away brings the whole experience to life in a way that wasn’t possible in 2005.

Nothing like having one of the best players of all time retweet your spirit before a big game.

From the fan pages that show up on Facebook to the thousands of fans that show up for the opportunity to throw up a peace sign in a photo on Instagram, social media has brought the game to the fans and the fans much closer to the game than they've ever been.

Putting players under the microscope

There’s a challenge to this access though. Every move the players make is scrutinized and analyzed and recorded indefinitely. Every tweet could get retweeted, liked, favorited and shared in real time.

But the players have embraced it. In fact, the NFL even experimented with allowing players to tweet during the Pro Bowl.

There’s risk to this though. As a former journalist, I was constantly aware that my name was my reputation. The stakes can be much larger for professional athletes.

At the end of the day, the important thing to consider is that behind these social facades are humans. They are normal people who happen to excel at a sport or able to hold a rhythm (I’m looking at you @BTDrumline). If you tweet at an athlete, remember that there’s a human there. A little courtesy, a compliment, a little respect can go a long way.