To tweet or not to tweet

  264206313_d44fcd64105I’ve always thought I only had so many words in me each day … except it’s a different number every single day, and I never really know until the day hits what it might be. (Or what it might have to be depending on my assignment.)

  The day that the U.S. women’s soccer team beat China on penalty kicks for the 1999 World Cup title, I had about 100 million words in me. Every once in a while, I have 10 words, and they are used up shortly after I have breakfast around noon.

 So that’s been kind of my hang-up with this Twitter thing … do I want to commit to typing more words per day? And do other people really want to read this stuff? 

  Well, that’s part of my hang-up … the other part is trying to figure out how to do it, which I’ve been told is not that hard even for me. It’s been a busy last few days with the NCAA tournament preview pieces for ESPN.com, but … I am going to catch my breath a bit this afternoon and contemplate: To tweet or not to tweet for the NCAA tournament?

  I tend to write long … and Twitter is not for the long-winded. I tend to be too much of a smart-aleck too often, and I think Twitter gives you almost too quick of a trigger finger.

 But, hey, I don’t want to be sitting at the train station when the spaceships are zooming past … or something like that. Several people have suggested Twitter to me in the last few months, and I keep saying, “Yes, I’ll probably get to it eventually.” Which is not the right approach in this “do-it-yesterday” society.

  So what do you think?[polldaddy poll=1469514]

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About mvoepel

Mechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women's college basketball and other college sports for ESPN.com.
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15 Responses to To tweet or not to tweet

  1. You don’t have to tweet like a madwoman. You can just use the tweet as another place to get more people to read your work. You can set up a direct feed from your blog to twitter and you won’t have to do anything else. It’s about building your brand and exposure and this tournament is the time and place for that. Not too many other chances to get tons of eyeballs.

  2. B. Jump says:

    Amanda just changed my mind. Agreed.

  3. Amanda says:

    At the very least, you should join twitter so you can follow Claire McCaskill’s feed. She’s a panic. And statgirl is right — it’s a really good way to let people know when you’ve got new stories/posts.

    For what it’s worth, while it may be really popular among those wacky kids, all of the 30- and 40-somethings are taking over twitter just like we took over facebook.

  4. Erica says:

    Please tweet! I like it a lot better than liveblogging and it takes very little time. Just sign up and try it – if you don’t like it, don’t use it.

  5. stat_girl says:

    Arguments in favor of twittering (and others have mentioned these, too):

    1. It’s trendy, especially amongst the youngsters.

    2. You can reach more people, especially the youngsters who may be less familiar with your work because, um, they are young. Lobo has 1,800 people who follow her tweets. That’s remarkable, because except on games days, most of her stuff is about her 4 year old kid, whether athleticism is a word, and other things that may interest her, but that I personally could care less about.

    3. Someone might pay you to do it about women’s hoops, women’s golf (now that would be interesting, because women’s golf coverage is only of certain holes and players — you really could add to the news coverage there), etc.

    4. You already text message, and isn’t that mostly what a tweet is?

    5. Couldn’t you use it to drive readers to your blog and to your ESPN writing, etc.?

    Arguments against:

    6. Frequent tweeting is banal. And tweeting itself will become banal over time as it’s novelty goes away and it becomes more ubiquitous. Howard is right.

    7. Twitter is free! And like Facebook, it is not profitable. Someday, the people who are losing money on twitter (and Facebook) will close their doors. Unless they get a better business model, it’s a short-run phenomenon, just like almost every other web-based business that has ever existed (exceptions: Amazon.com and EBay (which is retrenching now and returning to their original purpose of serving as a marketplace for used goods after losing $$ on new goods sales).

    8. You get paid to blog games and write articles. Why take time away from that to twitter?

    9. You always have a lot to say about issues that you care about. As Scamp said, the Medlock piece is just one example of that.

    Maybe the thing to do is to try twittering through the tournament, but only do it for games, and then only intermittently. The live blog is much more interesting to read and is better suited for your writing,which is not laconic. For late April through October, maybe you could use twitter more like advertising, to let people know about a new EPSN posting of yours about women’s golf, or a new blog posting, for example?

  6. Scamp says:

    After reading your ESPN.com article, “Team helps Medlock survive tragedy,” more than ever I believe your best writing comes in long pieces like that. As a Kim Mulkey fan, I thought I knew all about Morghan’s situation, but you made me feel like I was there with the team.

    If you decide to use Twitter, please post the tweets here for those of us who don’t. Heck, Mechelle, I don’t even own a cell phone!

  7. B. Jump says:

    I vote for live blog.

  8. Howard says:

    I dunno…I tried to follow Lobo’s recent twittering at a game, and wasn’t impressed with the “now-ness” of it all. At some point, it becomes banal, IMO. I DID enjoy the live blog thing at the Big 12 tourney, and the ability to answer viewer questions is nice, but even that isn’t my favorite medium for these games.

  9. potomac79 says:

    I know your dilemma. I have an account (just in case) but my loquaciousness is constrained by twitter’s more laconic sensibilities. :-)

    I’m sort of with Sherri on this… In this situation, twitter is more data spew vs what you provide: analysis and context.

  10. Hi Mechelle,
    That’s the reaction I see in almost everyone who hasn’t started ‘twittering’ yet. Not sure how familiar you are w/ Facebook, but Twitter is similar to FB status updates- only it’s public, and status updates are all it is.
    I am also long-winded (duh), but after using Twitter for a few months, I actually started to think differently. Throughout the day, the little thoughts that would pop into my head about one thing or another would be automatically put into ‘tweet’ form. It turns into fun, as opposed to a chore. And w/ your high profile, you will get lots of followers and they will send you messages which you may want to respond to. That will also be part of your Twitter experience.
    Twitter is also a fantastic way to promote your articles, considering I (ahem) am doing it myself on my women’s hoops account- see here: http://twitter.com/HoopHers/statuses/1351010231
    I think you should do it- worth a shot, right? I guarantee there are lots of people out there who would love to read your ‘tweets’ ;)
    Jennifer

  11. Orin says:

    Twitter has jumped the shark.

  12. Natalie says:

    Mechelle-
    Someone like YOU should twitter. You have background info that most of us don’t, not to mention years of experience in your field. Of course, I’m new to twitter, so maybe I’m clueless, but it would seem to me that you could only twitter when you feel like it. Maybe 5 times a day at a tournament, but then once a week if you had nothing particular to say. People who are following you will get your updates whenever they occur, and if you a selective, they will be more valuable, of course.

    As for the spaceships passing by, I truly sympathize, but this UFO may already be on its way to the other end of our galaxy. Maybe by the time everyone hops on, there will be some other — or several other — rockets to look out for, you know? (sorry if I’m totally wrecking your analogy).

    Only time (as relative as it may be) will tell if phenomena like Facebook and Twitter are really here to stay. We may all get so freakin’ sick of it, that we revert to learning calligraphy and sending perfume-scented notes with pressed flowers. Well, I might. Meanwhile, off to come up with my first official ‘tweet,’ and join the rest of the twits.

  13. Sherri says:

    I’m not that much of fan of either live-blogging or twitter; I can generally find out what’s going on in the game other ways. What I enjoy reading from people like you are the analysis and the stories, especially the stories. Your stories move me; it’s hard for me to imagine that your tweets, however wonderful, could do that.

  14. Hornhonker says:

    Hoopscoopers twittered during B12 Championship and seemed like the delays in the tweets being visible made them frequently irrelevant.

    Loved your live blog so I’m voting for that.

    I’m a technological dinosaur so my experience with twitter could be skewed by my lack of know-how.

  15. Bball Girl says:

    During the NCAAs…you should either tweet or live blog like you did during the Big 12 tourney. You cracked me up, gave us on the court information that was great and we got to see the game through your eyes as it happened.

    What was your experience doing the live blogging?

    Twitter can handle that – just in shorter chunks.

    I’m not sold on Twitter as a daily activity – I do not care if Steve Nash is hungry for Wendy’s — but it was to get twitters from folks in the arena and I twittered to people driving home (as passengers) keeping them updated on the game. That was pretty cool.

    But it’s great for live events – or some kind of live blog.