Monday, July 13, 2009

Who Wins When Baseball Meets Social Media?

What is the point of being on social media sites if you aren't really listening?

The PR blogs tout social media as a way of interacting with customers. You set up a blog or a Facebook page and tell your story, and your customers let you know what they think. It is supposed to be a two-way conversation.

So I don't know why the Phillies are setting up Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. They are using these new-fangled social media tools to trot out old-fashioned PR shtick. They're telling fans what their official position is. And the fans are telling them that they think they're wrong, but no one in management seems to be listening. Or responding.

For those of you who don't follow the Phillies - well maybe you should move along to another blog. The Phillies' pitchers have been struggling this year. Brett Myers is out for the season. Cole Hamels hasn't been as sharp as he was last year. And Jamie Moyer is looking his age. So with Toronto's Roy Halladay on the market, who are the Phillies looking at -- 37-year old Pedro Martinez.

Twice a day on Facebook, the Phillies are touting Martinez. And no sooner do their posts go up then dozens of fans respond in an uproar: "This is a mistake. We don't need another broken down pitcher. Don't go there. Get Halladay."

Now, it is too much to expect that a team will make decisions based on fan approval (although the Inquirer sports staff agrees). But the point of social media is that they should respond. Instead of ignoring the comments and just sending out another "Martinez passes his physical" post, they should address the fans' issues. They should acknowledge the fans feel Martinez is too old and past his prime and perhaps tell them something they don't know.

Then they can go and make the same kind of cheapskate deal they always make. We fans can't stop them.

But if they are going to enter the social media world, they should be a part of a conversation and not just dump the same old garbage on the fans without a response.

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