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Social media Internet changing prep sports info

Trying to follow more than one team on a Friday night used to be nearly impossible and waiting until morning for the results, especially at play-off time, could be excruciating.

Not anymore.

The explosion of the internet and, more specifically, social media has changed the way the masses get their information about high school sports in Williamson County.  Information is now fluid, available within seconds to almost anyone who wants it.

From twitter to Facebook to Snapchat and others, getting information instantly has become a near obsession with high school football fans.  On any given Friday night, The Williamson Herald covers nearly every county team, tweeting updates and results ( well in advance of posting complete stories after the game.

Whether that instant gratification is good or bad depends on who you ask.

Williamson Herald columnist Joe Biddle, who has seen reporting go from typewriters to computers to smart phones, isn’t so sure.

“Sports writers are no longer just sports writers. They are videographers, bloggers, Tweeters and your Best Friend Forever on Facebook. Tweets are here one second, gone the next, replaced by more immaterial 140-character missives about the game.”

Despite his misgivings, the veteran writer and a member of the Tennessee Sports Writers Hall of Fame, understands it’s going to stay that way.

“But that's the communication world we live in now.  This has been called the microwave generation. They want it NOW and they want it FAST. It's the same in the media world. For better or worse.”

But it’s not just journalists working on stories and updates that fill cyberspace with info, students have led the way into the new millennium of information sharing.

Students at Independence High School in Thompson Station have earned a reputation as being the best in the county at supporting and promoting their athletic teams through social media, which can keep administrators on their toes.

“I can't be a technological dinosaur at a school that so many people are interested in,” said Executive Principal Dr. Todd Campbell.  “Therefore, I know that it is important for us to use social media to reach the masses.  Not only does it make it easier to advertise events, but it gets more people indirectly involved in what's going on inside IHS.

“As long as our kids are using twitter to fuel a rivalry in a positive manner, I love it.  I think it adds to the anticipation and excitement of a big game.”

There can be a downside to the anonymity of twitter and message boards, and coaches usually are the first to feel it.  On that point, Page coach Charles Rathbone likes the old ways best.

“If Little Johnny isn’t playing, it gives parents a chance to vent on the coaches.  I miss the days when if you had a problem with somebody you talked to them face-to-face.  I really do believe you more worked out that way than hiding behind a keyboard.”

Posted on: 8/14/2013


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