Vulgar Opinions: What Would You Guys [And Gals] Like To See From The Sabres Social Media Accounts?
That question was posed by Sabres Social Media Manager Craig Kanalley from his personal account earlier this morning, and while an obvious question, it’s also a pretty good question, one that has most times only gone partially answered in lieu of sometimes justified criticism. Among that criticism:
- The third jersey reveal was atrocious, especially compared to the professional photoshoot that the Minnesota Wild used to unveil theirs I think the Sabres idea was certainly different, and actually kind of fun, just not very well executed.
- The account frequently tweets too much “fluff” typically defined as cheering tweets and pictures that fans send in, something (again) that I think is fun with better execution (more scarcity).
- The team is slow to announce roster moves and organization-related information like Nathan Gerbe’s departure, the participation of Zadorov and Grigorenko in the World Junior Classic, and the performances of players in other international tournaments.
That’s not to say there haven’t been some positive moves recently. We’ve seen a diversifying of the Sabres Social Media presence that has given us @SabresPR and with that @IanSabresPR which has in part separated the ‘hardcore’ hockey news from some of the fluffier aspects of a team’s interaction with its fans. It’s also pretty clear that Kanalley is trying to foster a positive atmosphere and though that seems a little ridiculous at times with a club that is historically awful, I have a lot of respect for that. I also don’t know what rules Kanalley is forced to play by. Knowing how this organization has operated over the tenure of my fandom, I would imagine there are probably a few stupid ones.
So here’s what I would like to see. Obviously it will be different from what others want; that’s me acknowledging that this is my own personal opinion and doesn’t necessarily mean anything beyond that.
I think you definitely need to separate “just the hockey stuff” from “the fan interaction stuff.” My idea would be to have @SabresCommunity (probably too long, d’oh) and @SabresHockey but there are plenty of good ways to do it. You want followers to be able to customize their experience to a degree without spreading yourself too thin. I would also probably keep 99% of the image retweeting off Twitter and on a Tumblr account with the rare special piece making it through.
One of the things I have an issue with is that the “rah rah” retweets come across as a complete lack of awareness of the state of the team. Fans get sick of that stuff and start to tune it out. It doesn’t help that most of the bright spots, the youth, don’t actually play for the Sabres at this point in time. But that’s where an account that is hyper-vigilant on all things Sabres really starts to help. If you do a good job of promoting the future via constant hockey updates for the players that aren’t yet on the team, you can at least keep people interested in where the organization is headed when they start to become disinterested in where the organization is right now. It also fosters a smarter hockey culture in Buffalo something we, judging by the comments on the Sabres’ Facebook page, kind of lack.
Content is a trickier animal because of it’s high subjectivity. It probably won’t surprise anyone that from a community relations standpoint I’d like to see the Sabres make more than token gestures to the LGBT community. Other teams have certainly blazed trails in this area with the Bruins, Canucks, and Maple Leafs offering organizational support by marching in local pride parades, a handful of teams (Phoenix, Washington, San Jose, Columbus) hosting LGBT nights, and Predators’ minority owner W. Brett Wilson offering his support to the You Can Play Project. Certainly the Sabres can do better than Spirit Day (thumbs up), partnerships with the anti-gay Salvation Army and Boy Scouts, and an anti-bullying series that was intentionally scrubbed of any reference to LGBT related bullying, supposedly the inspiration for the series (three thumbs down). The Sabres aren’t necessarily doing poorly in this regard, they’re just doing it worse than a lot of other teams.
So…um…there. That’s what I want to see and I would encourage others to respectfully engage Kanalley on the matter, he listens well.