Twitter Has a Hand in the Game

Posted June 9, 2009 at 4:25pm

The prospects for league softball play last Thursday were questionable at best. A steady drizzle had persisted throughout the day, and as morning turned to afternoon, the reality of widespread game cancellation was rapidly setting in.

[IMGCAP(1)]But Mike Fossi and the Dragon Slayers weren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. They might rather have used it to dry off after a rainy softball outing. And had their House Softball League opponents, the Kicking Asses, been game to weather the storm, the teams may have squished their way onto the diamond. But on that day, the Kicking Asses were destined to be the Sitting Asses. The verdict was no game.

Fossi was charged with passing the word to his team — and he had to do it quickly. So instead of sending a mass e-mail, as is usually the protocol, he used the Dragon Slayers’ brand-new Twitter account to break the disappointing news.

“Dragon Slayers push for game, Kicking Asses refuse, game is rescheduled,— he Tweeted, staying well under the 140-character limit imposed by the medium.

Twitter, which originally found its niche among Facebook-crazy teens and college students, is now beginning to turn heads in professional circles for its ability to display short snippets of information instantaneously to an unlimited audience.

Only a few teams have activated accounts so far, but for the constantly shifting business of Congressional softball, Twitter seems to fit, well, like a glove.

“We’ll probably mostly be using it to update people on the status of our games,— Fossi said. “I’ll probably be Twittering during the games, too.—

Fossi said that if one of his teammates hits a dazzling home run or dives for a miraculous grab in the field, he wants to be able to get the word out in real time. Twitter’s compatibility with BlackBerrys and other smartphones will allow him to do just that.

“If someone makes a key play or something, I’ll definitely want to send that out,— he said. “I’ll also make sure to be updating our players’ stats.—

Fossi and other Twittering players see a bright future for the networking tool.

“I expect that its use will sort of develop— once everyone catches on, said Jim Swift, coach and official Tweeter for the Booze Kittens.

“Let’s say it’s 5 o’clock on game day and the teams are going to the field,— Swift proposed. “If a team cancels at the last minute, you might Twitter to see if any other team had been canceled on and see if anyone else wants to play.—

But as Fossi’s cancellation Tweet last Thursday showed, Twitter also has potential as a medium for smack talk.

“That’s my full expectation,— Swift said. “That it may be used for trash talking and stuff like that.—

Fossi stressed that he meant no disrespect to his friendly opponents, the Kicking Asses, but admits that he does see the value in using Twitter to get his team riled up.

Until more teams activate accounts, Twitter’s use will be limited mostly to intrateam communication. But, as Fossi points out, with such bright minds populating the softball teams, the tool won’t stay secret for long.

“People are tired of doing this on their work e-mails,— he said. “A of these people are young, and they are quick learners. I just started using Twitter a month ago, and now I have three different accounts.—

Roll Call is tracking Twitter accounts for Capitol Hill softball teams. Get the widget here.