Yeah, I'm kind of bored and want to write something. I'm not into writing about Bills training camp battle or any of that stuff that cane be done down the road.
So I'm picking the Sabres Twitter feed and their social media presence. I think the Vote for Ennis and the LA Kings feed has made me want to dive into it a bit further.
I'm not going to do too much bashing of the way the Sabres do the social media game because they have only been at it for about a year and I think they are a work in progress. Before Pegula bought the team, I don't even think Tom Golisano knew what social media was. "Does it have something to do with socialists?" It was pretty much a Twitter feed telling me who scored goals and I don't even think they had a writer for the site. So, they are still on a learning curve... for now.
Plus, I feel like challenging myself to see if I can come up with some killer suggestions. So, here you go:
Guest Twitter handles
Who is more popular, the Sabres announcers or the current Sabres players? Um, it is not even close. Everyone hates the current Sabres roster, but fans LOVEEEEEEEEEEE Razor, RJ and Robie. How about having them run the Twitter feed for a day? Let them take questions. Have them tweet photos of zanny stuff. Isn't Robie like a real estate tycoon? I'd love to see if he could sell one of his houses via Twitter by posting photos. OK, that was a joke. Throw in Ted Black and some Sabres alumni. I know the players are busy or they just hate being bothered, but you have such a large community of alumni who are loved in the region. It isn't that hard to show Gilbert how to tweet for a day. (Editor's note: This is a legitimately awesome idea, Joe. It would be easy enough to have someone there to help less computer savvy guys. Heck, I'll come type for Robie for the day. -HB)
Have a guest columnist
One name: Nick Backay. I have to assume that someone at either WGR or the Sabres has approached the Buffalo transplant about writing a monthly column about the Buffalo sports scene, right? Maybe? Everyone loves Nick Backay. He loves WNY and his Buffalo sports teams. He's been on WGR from time to time and was even nice enough to do a Q&A with me last year. I'm sure he's busy, but someone with his comedic prowess, should be able to write something witty or funny about the Sabres. If he doesn't work out, contact Luke Russert, Wolf Blitzer, Shooter McGaven, Sabres alumni and Chad Michael Murray to do a monthly column. Better yet, just alternate it. No one really cares about game recaps because they are always the same. They are watered down in the Internet age because everyone has one on their website or blog. Plus, I just watched the game and don't really need you to recap it for me. I think you need something different that doesn't resemble the other guys' stuff.
I know the Sabres did the "Where's this photo?" before games at the F'N Center, but how is that going to help me if most of the time I'm on Twitter from my couch? There's no reason why their Twitter feed can't do some sort of giveaway and I'm talking daily. Ask a trivia question. Ask someone to post a photo of their Sabres jersey on someone's grave or ripping up a Boston shirt. Have fun with it. Social media isn't really supposed to be all that serious. It is not suit and tie nonsense at the office, it is Hawaiian shirt Fridays kind of fun. I'm not asking to give away season tickets or anything luxurious. Hell, we gave away two TV remotes on the site once and people were thrilled. In other words, people love free stuff no matter what it is.
Players on Twitter
Obviously, this is easier said than done. I find it strange that almost every single Bills player seems to be on Twitter and the Sabres have Derek Roy and like all of Rochester on it. Not a social bunch, I gather. Frankly I think Ted Black, who we all know is media savvy, should reel these guys in and make them understand that this is entertainment and they can be a little social with the common folks. There is no reason why George Wilson has his own web series and Marcus Stroud used to have a mailbag segment on Bills.com while the Sabres have pretty much nothing when it comes to player shows or bits. Tell the players to be a little active in having fun. For starters, I'd have players on Twitter do some sort of scavenger hunt with fans. Derek Roy tweets a photo of the Buffalo Chop House or some sort of Buffalo monument. The first person to meet him down there gets a free hockey stick or one of his techno CDs. This could also play into the Sabres Twitter feed part. I also think a contest in which a player takes a photo with their biggest fan and uses it as their avatar would be pretty cool, too. (Editor's note: Seriously. More plalyers. More players, more players, more players. Not even necessarily on Twitter, just on the website. MORE PLAYERS! -HB)
Cover it Live/Game Days
Everyone seems to have a live chat during games. Pretty much most of them are the exact same thing. Sabres have 10 shots, what a hit by Kaleta, 20,000 fans here tonight. BORINGGGGGGGGGGGG. I know the people who run it will say that they will get 1,000 people in it at a time, but over 10 million people watch crap reality shows. If I'm the Sabres, I try to have a nightly guest (maybe alumni or Robie) to help out in the Cover it Live section. Also, throw the fans a bone and let us troll up in there and ask questions and leave comments. I'd even try having their #sabreschat hash tag go into the chat. Maybe even post behind the scenes video from intermissions. Have Robie come on during the 2nd period and watch the game with us. Yes, I'm involving Robie into pretty much all of my Sabres ideas. (Editor's note: That's because Robie is a freaking gold mine. But totally agreed for what it's worth. Forget the game updates. Everyone is either watching the game or following other people who are watching the game. More fun stuff that only the organization could do. -HB)
Social media reporter
No offense to Kevin Sylvester, but I don't like him as my social media go-to guy when it comes to Sabres.com video stuff. What a number of organizations like TBN and Sabres.com are missing about social media is that it is a much younger demographic than your typical newspaper or TV crowd. It is mostly young adults and teenagers who are on social media platforms. Sylvester is kind of a square. I'm not saying he's bad at his job, but I think old school with him. He's a journalist. Blah! The Bills just hired Hannah Buehler to be one of their reporters/hosts. From the looks of what she's been doing, it seems like she's doing all the community relations or fun videos with the Bills (Fred Jackson's first pitch at the Bisons game, rookie tour of WNY). The Sabres need to hire someone like that. Hell, I'd hire a fan to do that. Maybe have a contest for the position.
LA Kings Twitter feed
Yes, I think the Sabres going down the ultra homerish/humorous road of insults towards other teams would be completely ideal. Here's the thing, the Sabres social media staff aren't really opinionated.. I don't think Kevin Snow is going to write a piece on how Darcy or Lindy should be fired or that Derek Roy should get traded. This is just how all sports teams are with their writing staff. So, fu$# journalism. Embrace being a homer. I say insult away at the opposing teams and tweet humorous photos such as this:
Social media show
As you all know, I'm a huge wrestling fan. Like all wrestling fans, we love shoot interviews. We love when wrestlers come out of character and dish the dirt on players and fans. A number of these interviews you can buy, but really, they kind of lack creativity. Just a bunch of basic questions which you hope your interview subject can carry. If there is one shoot interview series that is highly entertaining without worrying about subject matter, it's the YouShoot Series by Kayfabe Commentaries. I don't care if you hate wrestling because these interviews are hilarious. They are all interactive as the interviewee takes questions from message boards, Twitter, email and even video write-ins. I think having a summit with a player, announcer or alumni, would be smashing. I'd have a chat connected to it, kind of what TBN does with their live videos. Besides the standard interviews you hear on WGR, there aren't many interviews dedicated to questions being posted on social media platforms with a player. Also, I think Ryan Miller doing his version of the DICK BAG would be awesome.
Get fans involved:
The Sabres Twitter feed should be about the fans at the end of the day. I think asking fans to post their jerseys or any shrines dedicated to a player in their rooms (see: Heather B. and Hank) would be cool. I'd even twit video fans in the stands doing cheers. Have fans send videos in. Maybe they are having a Sabres viewing party. How about a group of 20 people at a bar say "You are watching Sabres.com. WOOWOOH". You know how many videos are on youtube of fans at a bar or game reacting to when their team scores a goal? Tons of them. I'd have people tweet these videos to the Sabres. Rowdiest fans win 20% off at the Sabres store. Another idea, let the fans choose the Sabres 3 stars. They doesn't have to be the official, game announced choices, but maybe do something at the start of the 3rd period in which Twitter can vote for the MVP of the game. Also, I think some sort of awards for the end of the season that are voted by fans would be awesome. (Editor's note: I think it would be fun if the fans voted on the same awards as the players do to see if we see the team the same way they do. - HB)
Final word: I know all of this is to each his own pretty much. Maybe some of you want analysis, but I think you can get that at TBN or other mainstream spots. As far as team's coverage goes, I think you just have to shy away from your standard journalism stuff and revel in being more entertaining. Since the Sabres became active in social media, besides the blogger summit, which only bloggers really care about, the instance in which had everyone talking was when Drew Stafford did that ridiculous exercise video. Everyone was going wild about it. That is your audience in my opinion. Just think off-beat. You already have the highlights and Lindy's presser as your news/serious stuff. We can dumb it down a bit. With social media, it is all about entertainment and youth in my opinion.
I think I covered everything. Feel free to steal my idea, Sabres social media staff. I have about 50 more, but you'd have to pay me for those.