Social Media: Not ‘Free,’ Not ‘Easy’

I’ve always held the opinion that a game ops team, from promotions to music to stats, is doing a great job when fans (A) don’t notice anything going wrong even when nothing is going right and (B) when fans think the job is easy. If I’m doing well as a Marketing & Promotions GA, no fan will ever realize how much time my coworker and I spend rolling t-shirts, how much footwork goes into finding kids for on-court promotions, or how much talking in the headsets occurs in any given game. That’s the nature of sports.

As such, I was in an odd spot this past week as I read through a class discussion board with the topic essentially revolving around sport usage of social media. I read multiple classmates discuss how great social media was for teams because it was ‘free’ and ‘easy.’ In the words of one classmate, “A team can hand an intern the password to a couple accounts during a game and they’re covered.”

What?

No.

Absolutely not.

My initial reaction was to list, line by line, the things that go into social media – the strategy, design, content, editing, scheduling, scouring for photos, and whatnot. Simply put: Just ‘handing an intern the passwords’ is a good way to end up on Deadspin, SportsCenter’s Not Top 10, and in front of your boss crafting an apology. So I said as much. But I came back to the initial thought of this post: If they think it’s easy, it’s because someone is doing their job very well.

I look at these two tweets as a perfect example:

That’s an absolutely beautiful photo making the best out of a snow storm during a major weekend for Nebraska’s football recruiting efforts. But the snow didn’t just fall around Nebraska’s block “N” at midfield. Rather, it was the efforts of a coach by the name of Eric Haynes.

Someone has to do the work both on the field and off. There’s always at least one person – and oftentimes only one person – who has to find the right photo, maybe edit it with a little design, do a bit of fact-checking for the post, and eventually get it up to one (likely multiple) accounts or platforms. The person behind the phone or computer is paid, the person who took the photo is likely paid, and the tools used to push the content were likely paid for. It’s not free, and it’s not always easy.

But when the fans think it is? We’re probably doing something right.

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