Facebook Use Aids Sports
“It was unlike anything I’ve experienced in the past three years to have so many people show,” said men’s diver senior Cory Myers.
According to friends and team members, last Friday’s swim meet against Baldwin-Wallace was packed to the brink with cheering fans. After hearing Myers’ response, I take it that this does not happen too often. It is a shame, especially since the men’s and women’s swim teams make it a priority to come out in their usual attire to soccer and field hockey games to do their provocative, hilarious and unique chants.
I cannot point fingers, though – after all, I have never been to a meet. It looks like that sad streak will not end this year as the team’s other home meets are during Winter Term, and I will be going abroad next semester. Regardless, the point is not my failure as a spectator but rather the method by which the swim teams were able to draw so many fans.
As most college students – and the rest of the world for that matter – know by now, there is a little time-consuming gadget known as Facebook. While for wide-eyed incoming first-years, registering for an account used to mean you were officially in college, Facebook now can be joined by anyone and everyone, anywhere.
In February, Facebook fanatics will celebrate the website’s fourth year in business. While its popularity and complexity has grown exponentially, so too has the way people use it. I could talk all day about how absurd are the poke, super poke, wall-post, messages, top friends list, Greenbook, sports team groups, videos and infinite social groups, ranging from “I want John Lindner to be my Baby Daddy” to “Portland, Oregon is the Greatest City on Earth.” However, I am impressed with how Facebook has become synonymous with and integral to school athletic events.
Around Halloween, I received a group invitation to the Friday swimming meet. In haste I put down that I was attending, but studying for a make-up midterm I sadly missed out. Within the next two days I was sent three messages notifying me that I should attend either because I love people on the swim team or because both swim teams would be able to skip Saturday’s practice if enough people showed.
These short, informative notifications must have done the trick. I mean, what better way to reach all of your hundreds of “friends” than by sending messages to an account that people check religiously. Time change? No worries, I’ll send a Facebook message. It is cheaper than a text message and can reach people you may not normally talk to regularly. Even your friend in Samoa will know that you have a swim meet, although he or she may not be able to fly across the world in time to make it.
The swim team is not the first organization to adopt this method. For a couple of years now, Oberlin athletic teams have used Facebook to notify the school of their upcoming games, meets and matches. This season the men’s soccer team attached catchy videos to try and draw more fans while simultaneously hoping to crack a few smiles and laughs.
Athletic events are hard enough to advertise on this campus. Not many people seem to read the sports section, regardless of how much or how little it changes, and who knows how often people visit the athletic website. Postings on the events calendar and on blackboard can only do so much. That’s why Facebook is integral in the attempt to draw more people out.
Has Facebook worked? It is hard to say. The fans we received for soccer this season were amazing and I thank everyone who came. In the case of last week’s swim meet, I think Facebook was helpful been beneficial and unless “the book” is shut down tomorrow, teams will continue to happily notify the campus of their respective games.
But who knows? Maybe there will come a time when people are genuinely interested in watching the sport rather than feeling coerced through Facebook. I hope this happens sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, I have some wall-posting I need to catch up on…