In corporate reputation, crisis communications, insights, political communications, social media

With NFL free agency moving at a torrid pace, dozens of big name players have changed teams in the past 48 hours.  But that’s not all that’s changing:  Media coverage of player signings is changing too, and it’s a valuable case study for companies debating whether to engage consumers via social media.

Check out this comment from ESPN football columnist Dan Graziano on ESPN’s blog.

The lesson? For breaking news, Twitter is rivaling – if not replacing — news websites as the preferred platform for journalists to quickly reach their audiences.

The migration has been occurring some time, but here’s why it matters to organizations outside football:

1. Twitter, despite its many shortcomings, is the platform of choice for high-intensity consumers in search of real-time updates in business, politics, sports, fundraising, or entertainment.

2. Opinions within these online communities about breaking stories are increasingly hardened before the story appears on the evening news or in the next morning’s paper.  So companies that count high-intensity, tech savvy consumers as stakeholders – or companies that find themselves subject to rapidly evolving news stories —  cannot ignore online communications.

3. The potential for inaccurate coverage increases exponentially as journalists and others rush to break news via social media.  There have been plenty of mistakes and retractions from NFL reporters on Twitter since free agent signings began.

But mistakes in coverage won’t be limited to the NFL.  There’s little to prevent such mistakes from occurring in coverage about your organization.  If you’re not monitoring online chatter, engaging audiences that hunger for content, and contesting inaccurate coverage about your brand, who will?