DIGITAL AGILITY BLOG:

#RG12: Twitter at the French Open

Xynergy

The French Open has never been a popular grand slam tournament for Americans. Most Americans learn to play tennis on the faster hard courts, and many Americans on the pro tour have trouble adjusting to the red clay surface, used regularly by many European countries. With the fifth day of the tournament coming to a close, there is only one American left in the singles draw; furthermore, she is a nineteen year old girl. Sloane Stephens, from Fort Lauderdale, has shown tremendous resiliency and maturity well beyond her years; and, of course, Stephens has displayed an extraordinary amount of raw talent that certainly deserves notoriety and recognition. So, what kind of recognition is Stephens excited about? 

"Now I'm going to have more Twitter followers," Stephens joked after becoming one of the final sixteen women left in the singles draw. "That's good. I'm excited." Twitter is a very exciting platform because it's so interactive. It's the easiest way to communicate to those who are ordinarily out of reach. This morning, as Sloane Stevens began to trend on twitter, we decided to tweet at her to show our support of American tennis here in Santa Fe. Although we didn't receive a response from Sloane, we do know that our message passed through her mentions feed.

 

 

The twitter account for the French Open, @rolandgarros, boasts an impressive 134,000+ followers and a klout score of 73. Ten years ago, American tennis fans would've had to fly to Paris to get in touch with someone at Roland Garros. Now, they just have to send a tweet. Very frequently, the pros will respond to tweets from loyal fans, and they are usually happy to re-tweet a funny or interesting comment that they happen to find in their feed.

While twitter has a lot of positive perks that improve player-fan interaction, there are also several negative aspects that have been known to get some of the players in trouble. Former number three in the world, and recent retiree, Ivan Ljubicic, tweeted about his disappointment in American players' lack of participation during the clay court series, and he got SLAMMED! After Andy Roddick tweeted back at Ljubicic, notifying him of Mardy Fish's heart problems, thousands of people showed Ljubicic their frustration with his comment in the form of thousands of harsh tweets. Ljubicic has since deactivated his twitter account.

This isn't the first example of this happening. American player, Donald Young, tweeted about the USTA's failure to get a wild-card spot in the French Open. He deleted the comment, but not until the damage was already done. The message started a controversy, and Young has also since deactivated his account.

The prestigious and classy Roger Federer has decided not to open a twitter account, probably to avoid confrontations such as those mentioned above. In fact, many professionals have steered clear of Twitter while using Facebook as their platform of choice due to one simple difference. Twitter does not require it's users to associate their names with their accounts, while Facebook generally has their users commenting with their real names and their real photos associated with their profiles.

Even with this large difference, most pros are still very active on twitter, and now the ATP has decided to step in. They are now offering two-day media training classes for new pros to learn the dynamic of twitter in hopes of preventing them from stirring up trouble. We can't say whether or not this has taken effect, but we do know that this is a serious issue for the ATP. Many users gain recognition for providing provocative remarks, especially when the pros are careless enough to address the remarks without precaution.

Tweeting at celebrities is a great way to promote your business too. Get them to retweet you and you could gain recognition from a wide variety of users. There are several ways of doing so, like promoting what they're trying to promote and praising them for their efforts. Give it a try; it just might work. Be sure to let us know how it goes.

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