Editor’s note: I Follow is all about ESPN employees on Twitter: what they tweet, whom they follow and how you can interact socially with anyone and everyone.
As ESPN and ABC’s robust lineup of Christmas Day NBA games tips off, ESPN senior NBA writer Marc Stein shares his take on social media including how it has changed his NBA coverage and how it improves interactions between athletes, fans and media.
ABC, ESPN and ESPN.com combine for wall-to-wall coverage of all five Christmas Day NBA games highlighted by ABC’s doubleheader — the New York Knicks at Los Angeles Lakers at 3 p.m. ET, and an NBA Finals rematch of the Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat at 5:30 p.m. ESPN.com will also have special editions of the Daily Dime and Five on Five features, as well as a day-long live chat.
Twitter handle: @ESPNSteinLine
*As of 12/24/12
What do you enjoy most about using Twitter?
I obviously love the immediacy and the ability to laser in on my favorite sports and subjects. I also can’t deny, as a lover of words, that I’ve grown to relish the challenge of trying to say something meaningful in a mere 140 characters. When I’m on the run, nothing is faster to me than cranking up a quick Twitter search on my handheld to find the answer to almost any question that invades my brain. I simply can’t imagine life without Twitter now and can’t wait to see what comes next that changes the media world.
What do you hope fans gain from following you?
I think all of ESPN’s reporters, no matter what sport they cover, pretty much have the same goal: Try to supply the audience with information they don’t have yet or add an insider’s context to breaking news, game action, etc. Trust me, though: I get as much, or more from the readers. Story ideas, for starters. A real sense of how a particular fan base feels about their team also comes through on Twitter. It’s a constant give-and-take.
How has Twitter changed your job?
It’s completely changed the world of sports reporting and I’d argue mostly for the good. There are some well-chronicled negatives — starting with how quickly bad information can spread sometimes — but Twitter is really the first medium since I got my first sportswriting job almost 30 years ago that allows athletes, media and the sports public to all connect and interact in the same real-time universe.
What has been your most memorable exchange on Twitter?
One back-and-forth I’ll never forget took place during the U.S. Open in 2011. I’m a huge tennis lover — it’s my co-favorite sport along with basketball and soccer — and I sent out a tweet in honor of the 20-year anniversary of Jimmy Connors’ amazing run — at the age of 39 — at the 1991 Open. And then Connors graciously tweeted back his thanks for my support. Even though I started out as a tennis writer before I got my big break on the NBA beat in 1994 and interviewed Connors many times in that capacity, I can’t deny that I was quite moved. Watching “Jimbo” play was a huge part of my childhood. And that 13-year-old inside of me has never gone away. So it was a special moment.