Using Twitter for Good

Something I’ve been doing for about a year now is tweeting. Yeah, I used to have a Twitter account, on which I would post quippy little stupid things, but it got tiresome. The best use I’ve found for Twitter is scores.

I am seeing more and more of this in the last few months on my Facebook friends list, which is great! However, I’m here to encourage you, person who might not be doing this, to contribute to derby in a really simple way: post scores.

The reason I began doing this is that I found myself at such strange bouts… games… productions… whatever we are calling them, now, and my friends often weren’t. Sometimes, even at big tournaments, the staff is overwhelmed or busy and not able to update scores as fast as fans would like. I, on the other hand, was often NSOing or announcing, so would stand around until the score board changed from “unofficial final” to “official final” and send it out to the world.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, here are some tips. If it doesn’t, well, here’s a video of Benedict Cumberbatch reading poetry, then class dismissed.

Tips for leagues:

  • Sign up for Twitter. It doesn’t even matter if you forget you have the account, even though it’s great for little shout outs and whatnot. People will still be able to interact with your league, even if your league doesn’t use it. It’s free, so why not give the option?
  • Make sure you pick a username that will make you easy to find. When people are at your games, if they want to mention you, they can type @ then start what they imagine your name will be and a dropdown of suggestions will appear. This way, they can find you without having to leave the post and search, so a good username that gets people to the right league is important.
    • If you are Sleazer City Imperials, don’t make your username “ILoveBacons.” I love bacons, too, but no one will think to start typing that in when looking for your league. If they can’t get you in the first few tries, they might give up trying to interact with you. I’m usually tweeting from my phone, so I will have the post ready to go, only to find I can’t @ the league I want. If it’s close to the end and I don’t want to lose the tweet on accident (sometimes my phone is janky), I don’t search, and they won’t know that I posted their score (I do search if I’m on my laptop, because it’s easier).
      • It doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but ask yourself the number of times someone at the afterparty asks the final score. If you have Twitter and someone on your league posts the score from the league account or someone outside your league posts it and successfully mentions your league, you’ve got that info. I’m all about some accuracy.
    • Also choosing a recognizable username saves scrolling and confusion. Just this last weekend I thought I was tagging the league who was hosting the tournament I was at, only to find I was tagging a league in Canada. The logo was tiny, but the name indicated it was roller derby… just, you know, not in the same country as mine.
  • @ (mentions) will show up in your league’s notifications, in the feeds of your followers, and, if someone who isn’t following you searches @yourleague’susername, they can see them, too.
    • You can retweet your mentions (just like any other tweet) if you have someone actively monitoring your league’s Twitter account. If you do this, the tweet can be seen in your feed by anyone (unless you protect your posts, which would be weird in this instance).
    • Try to use a picture of your league’s logo that will show up clearly, even when small. This can be helpful when the username isn’t necessarily apparent to the person trying to mention you.
  • # (hashtags) are a completely different story. Those are community built. You can spread the word that you want to use a certain hashtag (like London Rollergirls’ recent use of #bees). Hashtags won’t alert any certain account  but clicking on it or searching for it will bring up all posts with the same hashtag (you may notice #bees brings up LRG posts and… posts about bees, for example).
    • An example of # and @ problems: while I was at Men’s Roller Derby World Cup, if you #MRDWC, your post could be found in searches along with a billion other posts about the tournament. However, @MRDWC is someone’s username and that poor guy did not know what was going on. He had the username first, so we gently reminded fans to use the # instead of @ to get to us. Sorry, guy!
  • Set your Twitter to post your league’s tweets to your Facebook page. It’s a two-birds-one-stone scenario, so you don’t have to post the same thing in both places. Once linked, your Facebook posts can go to Twitter (if your Facebook posts go over the count, they will be given a short URL, so people can see the first several words and click through if they think it’s going to be interesting) and your tweets can go to Facebook.

Tips for individuals:

  • I use my Twitter pretty exclusively for scores. I’m usually fairly fast to get the score up, depending on what I’m doing at the game, and, because of that, I’ve been retweeted by leagues, tournament hosts, and even DNN once or twice. So, again, while it might sound like a small contribution, sometimes it helps out the event coordinators. That’s good, right?
  • The only problem with tweeting scores is that one needs to be tweeting official scores. Scores are not official until the, uh, officials have double checked the stats and corrected or confirmed the math.
    • If the final jam just ended, chances are that is not the official score. Some score boards will even say “unofficial final” (I wish they all did) under the score, to indicate that the score keepers and jam refs are mathing it up to make sure this is legitimately the score. Those types of score boards will then change to “official final” once everything is confirmed.
    • Often the announcers will point out when the official score is up, but if there a hurry and a good point spread, they may just congratulate the winning team, because there’s no math error that could give back enough points to change the outcome.
    • Tweeting unofficial finals is not really helpful, unless it ends up nothing has changed. Yeah, I know, often the unofficial and official scores are the same, but sometimes fans, players, etc. will update scores on sites like Flat Track Stats from tweets. While FTS, itself, is unofficial, errors in reporting can upset skaters, because, unofficial or not, it can give at least an idea of how a team is faring in the rankings. You probably know official rankings take time, as the stats have to be entered, submitted, and reviewed before the official rankings change, but I still wanted to point out the pitfall of haste.
      • Story time: I was once at a tournament and knew someone was updating FTS off of my tweets, but had to go back to the hotel for a bit. I decided to tweet off of the event’s page for a game or two, then go back and resume in person reporting. One score got reported on the event page backwards. I retweeted it and an hour later I heard this team was really upset, because FTS showed them significantly dropped in rankings. Luckily, I could fix it with a message or two, so I confirmed the correct score with the THNSO, sent the message through, and the person reporting off my tweets got it reversed. I then notified the team, who were super happy that it went so smoothly. It went so smoothly because I was lucky that day. It was a huge event and there was a lot going on. This is why I’m all about double or triple checking and I usually rely on myself for the final scores. I’m often standing somewhere as an official or announcer that I know for absolute sure what’s going on. Generally, if I step out, I ask another official friend of mine to text me half and final scores… my bad.
  • I have my Twitter set to post my tweets as public on my Facebook profile, as well as to one of my pages. I don’t know how many people just watch Twitter feeds these days, so having the capability to reach people on Facebook at the same time is helpful. I keep them public, because I don’t friend everyone, and followers are able to see the scores. I also have a Twitter widget on my blog, because it’s kind of neat.
    • You can also link Instagram with Twitter, so you could theoretically post a picture of the final score board screen, but I don’t. Why? My phone has very limited storage and after having Instagram for several years and never using it, I uninstalled it. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this instance, it’s 140 characters, max.
  • I am very rarely at an event to watch, so, if I’m between working games, I will sometimes load up what I’m going to say without the final official score, so I can be ready in case the score board doesn’t stay up as long as I’d like.
    • For example (clearly I made these names up), I might open Twitter and type in “Sleazer City B-Cup 2014: Problemtown Problems Awesometown Awesomes final @problemtown @awesometown @sleazercity” then go about my business.
      • When the official score is up, all I have to do is type in the two scores, double check that I’ve not fat-fingered it, then tweet. “Sleazer City B-Cup 2014: Problemtown Problems 286 Awesometown Awesomes 250 final @problemtown @awesometown @sleazercity.”
      • Now both teams and the tournament host all have my tweet in their notifications and feeds. Sometimes they retweet them, sometimes they leave it.
      • I also put in “final” to indicate I stood around for the official score. I used to tweet halftime scores by ending with “half,” but, unless I’m at some really heated event, I tend toward just posting the final.
    • @ mentions, again, will go to a league’s notifications, so if they want to retweet your post publically, they know it’s there.
  • League/Team acronyms are a time saver, but if I’m at a tournament, I will often use the full team name the first time, then use their acronym in subsequent tweets at the same event. That way, if I can’t mention them properly, at least people know who I’m talking about from the first tweet.

So, there you have it. When you aren’t busy Instagraming your dinner, like anyone gives two shits what you’re eating, consider Instagraming the final score board, or just using your words.

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Say some words about these words!