Filtering the Memphis Grizzlies Social Media: Twitter and Facebook Umbrellas

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A look into the idiosyncratic nature of the coverage of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Let me be the first to admit that I often use hyperbole as a vessel for my opinions, especially when it comes to sports. Keep in mind what we're actually discussing here: grown men in uniforms trying to throw an inflated ball into a metal hoop. It's more fun to read about "warriors" and "superheroes" that face off in "battles" and set out to "conquer" each other, or whatever metaphor you find yourself reading.

However, what I'm starting to notice these days is that social media coverage of the Grizzlies (and most things, in general) is entering this realm of pretension and aggrandizement. Even as Twitter and Facebook "explode" with news and are "set on fire" with the latest rumors, journalists and bloggers are using reactions on social media to make sweeping-umbrella statements that aren't even as thorough as casual-online polling.

For example, when your favorite columnist, radio host, blogger, etc. uses a statement along the lines of:

"Everyone on Twitter came out Friday night to make a big deal about (whatever events)", or

"Fans of (some entity) are completely overreacting to (something)", or even

"What's with (any given sect of people) always (doing something)."

So let's apply this to coverage of the Memphis Grizzlies. Let's say there's a well-known person that covers the Grizzlies that has 10,000 followers on Twitter, we'll call this person Chris. That's quite a lot of followers. That's so many, in fact, that you could use that Twitter feed to make all kinds of assumptions about life. I take issue with this approach because those assumptions come from the Tweeter seeing the same kind of reaction from 4-5 different people.

Okay, you're right. There's probably instances where it's way, way more than 4-5 people. Let's say that Chris's entire Twitter following of 10K people all tweeted the exact same sentiment about the Memphis Grizzlies one night. So as far as Chris knows, everyone that has anything to do with Grizzlies fandom can be blanketed with one reaction, right?

If those are the only 10,000 Grizzlies' fans in the world, then yes. But FedexForum alone usually contains about 15,000 Grizzlies fans, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of others watching at home.

Mathematics tells us that a lot of statements from the press about fan reaction is based on a few dozen tweets or Facebook comments. Everyone should remember that, even though the social media phenomenon is a fun box of toys, hundreds of reactions still only comprise a very, very small percentage of the overall opinion.

So next time the fan base of your favorite team is criticized, just remember the criticism is probably based off of a handful of drunk idiots getting on Twitter passed their bedtime.

(That all being said ... Hey! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!)

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