Dwight Watch 2013: Twitter Keeps a Constant Vigil in the Pursuit of Free Agents
In years past, news came slowly, sometimes at a snail's pace. Sports fans waiting for news on a trade or a free agent signing were relegated to the sports portion of the nightly news or, at worst, the morning paper. Press releases told of signings or trades and they made their way to news organizations via fax machine. Believe it or not, that was not even 20 years ago.
Today, things move more quickly thanks to the Internet. News is broadcast through news websites the instant it hits the ears of reporters. But, the most significant change to breaking news in recent history has been the advent of Twitter. Virtually every major news story to break in the last four years had its first notice served through the 140-character micro-blogging social network.
And news networks aren't the only ones using Twitter. Athletes like it too.
With Dwight Watch 2013 entering day three and all his meetings with potential suitors supposedly over, fans remain glued to Twitter for news because they know it will come there first and it might be Howard himself who lets the cat out of the bag.
There are plenty of great sports journalists and broadcasters who act as fantastic sources of breaking news. For the NBA, there is no better source than Adrian Wojnarowski. The Yahoo! Sports writer has become the go-to person for news and updates in the world of pro basketball and his first posts on any subject invariably land on Twitter.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey and winner of Best Sports Personality Twitter at this year's Houston Web Awards is in hot pursuit of Howard. He sees numerous benefits from Twitter when it comes to attracting free agents and relating to players.
"All the players are on Twitter now," he told Hair Balls. "Worst case, it helps you understand them better. Best case, you can use it in a way that lets fans directly interact with potential free agents."
He even thinks fans can have an active role in recruiting players like Howard by showing them "the love they will get when they get here."
No doubt it will take more than tweets from fans to lure Howard to Houston, but it couldn't hurt. Twitter presents such a level playing field in that, unless the person has blocked you, there is a good chance they will see a tweet sent their way.
Maybe when Howard does make his decision, he will announce it on Twitter. He wouldn't be the first to do it, nor will he be the last. And if he chooses Houston, your tweets may have helped him make up his mind.