Sporting a digital pulse

Not that I am a baseball fan, but I do keep an eye out for my adopted hometown, Philadelphia, whenever they are in the playoffs.  This year, after a great regular season, I see that the Philadelphia Phillies are just one game away from being knocked out of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) by the San Francisco Giants.  The Phils now trail 3-2 in the series.  And, although I was pleased to see that the Phils managed to get one game back last night, I was actually much more enthralled with a graphic I found on the bottom of the MLB site covering the game:

Following the score line and tweets

The MLB Game Pulse is an absolutely stunning way to follow the game (via the twitter stream) and to encourage audience participation.  The Phillies won on the field and their fans won in the tweeternometer.  At its height of activity, there were 1069 tweets during the third inning when the Phillies scored three runs, just eclipsing the euphoria of the ninth inning (977 tweets) as the Phils closed out the game.  Thinking that the twitter volume might be related to the winning team, I checked back and it seems that the Philadelphia fans out-tweeted the Giants fans in Game 4 even though the Giants out-witted the Phils on the field 6-5.  That said, when the Giants won 3-0 in Game 3, the Phils fans were distinctly less tweekative.

So, what is the take away for business?

Two points.  As a starter, what I see is the opportunity for community building around live events.  For example: at trade shows (for B2B industries), at fashion shows, or sponsored concerts, etc.  Some high tech conferences already feature a live twitter stream […which requires a new kind of skill and chutzpah for those on stage.]  With the baseball games being followed on prime time, Twitter is clearly going to become more mainstream even in low tech company events.  Kudos to the MLB for paving the way.  Secondly, the way this is set up (Giants versus Phillies fans), it favors the competitive spirit.  Imagine setting up a competition among your clients that includes ad hoc “teams” that are geographically based (geo-localized, for example)?  On another level, if a retailer were looking to set up a competition  among its retail outlets, for example, why not use an internal twitter (aka Yammer) to create specific hash tags for each store and let the competition be followed by all the company.  Thirdly, such a Twitter activity might be usable in the course of team-building exercises.  I participated, recently, in an afternoon of team building with 16 different groups of 8 all competing in various physical activities.  Such a twitter interaction spread out across the afternoon might have helped foster a group learning.

Stuff to ponder.  Who would have thought the major leagues could steal a base from the marketing world, or do a pitch to make advertising agencies jealous!  Would love to hear of other innovative uses of Twitter!

For now, I have found another good reason to follow Game 6 (Saturday, 23 October).  Go Phils!

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