How social media is shaking up college sport in the US

In the competitive world of US College Sport, something other than strength and speed is grabbing attention: goofiness.

My friend Dave Murphy from Michigan pointed to this article about Mark Titus, a reserve for the Ohio State basketball team. Titus doesn’t get on the court very often, but he’s grabbing the headlines for his blog, Club Trillion: Life views from the end of the bench.

Here’s more from Dave:

This guy is taking on a “sacred institution” – major amateur sports in America – and he’s poking fun at it in a way that’s making him more popular than his more talented and serious teammates.  There are hints of Sasha Cohen and his various crazy characters such as Ali G, Borat, etc.  Except what’s amazing is that this is happening in real time for a true team that’s competing around the country & it’s not just a staged event ala Cohen’s antics.

Americans walk this interesting fine line in which they dedicate way too much time to sports yet they’re aware of this crazy obsession and even resent the very people they follow.  So now there’s a guy who’s “penetrated” the inner circle and is goofing on the very institution he’s a part of.

Where is this headed for Titus? He’s created (or at least mastered) a new genre – real-time satirical commentary from the inside (I’m sure a better name will present itself). But will it be enough to become a career or a business?

Dave observes (with added emphasis from me):

“There have been plenty of benchwarmers in the past who might have tried something like this, but here’s the first to capitalize on his unique situation.  How’s he pulling it off?  It’s a combination of seeing a niche that others missed, as well as having the right self-deprecating touch to be given the forgiving latitude by school, staff & fans as he continues the mockery of a sacred institution from within.

This is absolutely only possible via the tech tools/media we have available today.  Perhaps before blogging and Youtube, he could have written a retrospective book…but who on earth would care about reading what a benchwarmer thinks after the fact when there are 300-400 major college teams, each with 3-4 benchwarmers per year?  It’s the immediacy provided by these current tools that makes it interesting…content is important, but immediacy and first-time-to-do-it are perhaps even more important.  People are enjoying the real time ride but won’t really care about this perspective after the fact.”

Some pretty good tips there for anyone wanting to get ahead in social media. (Although there will always be a huge need for valuable, relevant content that’s not real-time).

If you were Titus, how would you keep this good thing going? Where would you take it next?

2 thoughts on “How social media is shaking up college sport in the US

  • Rachel

    You ask a high scool student in the U.S. about who their firt president was and more than 50 percent would not know. Ask the same students who is no. 24 of the Lakers (NBA) and they would know it is Kobe!

  • Simon Young

    I know, couldn't the political process learn a bit from the sports world (or American Idol for that matter!)


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