The Growing Impact of Social Media on Sports Culture Today

Over the past two decades Social media has evolved dramatically both in the way we use it and in its importance in our culture. From what were once chat rooms


, instant messaging on AIM and scintillating profiles on MySpace is now 140 characters long on

categorizes by hashtags and custom communities on
Facebook. The social media landscape has changed dramatically and is now deeply embedded in our social culture.

The growth and evolution of social media has likely impacted your business or industry as well. I have worked in the Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry for over 10 years and the importance of focusing on social media has grown rapidly over the past few years. So much so that if you don’t take care of your social media presence, you don’t fully value yourself.

Social media can be the catalyst for success by empowering people and fueling ideas. We’ve all seen the good and the bad that can come from social media. But whether you’re a casual user, have your mobile device strapped to your hip so you can instantly access your social media profiles, or you don’t use social media at all, the impact of social media is undeniable. both on our culture and on industries around the world.

The impact of social media on the sports industry has been profound. This year a fifth (20.5%) of internet users in the United States should have a Twitter account. This number increased from 15.2% in 2012 and is expected to reach 24.2% by 2018. More than a third (37%) of Twitter users buy from a brand they follow. Recently, I conducted a survey asking my followers how an athlete’s social media behavior influences their notice of them:

Almost all sports teams, leagues and associations have a social media profile on Twitter. From pros to minors and from high school athlete to retired athlete, social media has been a force in the sports industry landscape. According to Navigate the search, sports fans are 67% more likely to use Twitter to improve their viewing experience compared to non-sports fans. Basically, Twitter is the virtual sports bar that fans flock to before, during and after games. Thus, the behavior of a team or an athlete on social networks can directly influence the perception of a fan of this team or this athlete. While most of the fans who took my poll above indicated in their vote that it didn’t influence their opinion of an athlete, many of them explained that there were conditions.

There are teams and athletes who are really good at using Twitter. Some teams engage with fans and in some cases other teams.

And Twitter’s influence has grown in recent years. In 2013, 50% of Tweets related to TV in the United States, a total of 492 million Tweets were related to sporting events. Sporting events included 12 of the 20 most tweeted TV shows during the year, according to Nielson.

The behavior of Twitter members when discussing sports is interesting, just look at the numbers.

A good example of the popularity of sports chats on Twitter would be NBA Free Agency, which kicked off on Wednesday. Most of the hot topics that preceded and gained momentum after its official launch have been NBA Free Agency. Throughout the day, 3-4 of the 10 hottest topics were NBA related and a simple search for the hashtag #NBAFreeAgency on Twitter will give you a perfect example of how popular the conversation is.

And just like the NFL Free Agency, Pro League Drafts, Trade Deadlines, and Playoff & Championship games, these trends have endured.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs have been tagged with a popular #BecauseItstheCup hashtag for the past few years and it has almost been a tradition for hockey fan discussions during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals.

Almost every sports-related show or event has a hashtag associated with it and is displayed, on screen, during the event or broadcast. It stimulates engagement and creates a relationship with the audience that was not possible many years ago.

Social media is a powerful vehicle that drives discussions about sport today and how fans interact with teams, players, personalities and other fans. It’s a powerful source for getting news, engaging in topical discussions, and empowering brands.

Social media has had an impact on the sports industry and that impact will continue to evolve in the years to come.

Previous Sophie Calle's "Exquisite Pain" helped me overcome a bad breakup
Next Low credit score? Here's how you can still get a loan