One of the benefits of the explosion of social media is that it allows you to directly connect with people you respect and admire. At the very least, you're able to follow them and experience some part of their lives that aren't made readily apparent via the avenues you became interested in them in the first place. Yes, that can have its drawbacks, but we're going to focus on the positives in this post -- especially since I'm specifically writing this in relation to one of the greatest, most fun events in the world of sports: the Super Bowl!
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Long story short, if you're a huge football fan, try to find your favorite team(s) on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media avenues -- perhaps by starting at the Web site of your favorite team(s), where they inevitably link to social media accounts you can keep track of. Additionally, their team roster will sometimes include links to specific players' social media profiles or personal Web sites. Short of that, you can search for team rosters on other sites where they include such information. There's following team social media accounts, and then there's taking it to the next level by following individual players (something I find far more entertaining and interesting).
For instance, I'm a Carolina Panthers fan (I was born and raised in Charlotte, NC; don't be hatin') and my all-time favorite player for the team is #28, Jonathan Stewart. Both my girlfriend and I follow him on Twitter, and one day, she called me and said, "Jonathan Stewart just tweeted that he's at Northlake Mall!" Well, as it just so happened, I lived literally directly across the street from Northlake Mall at the time, so I hopped in my car, rolled over there, and ended up running into him for a quick chat and a photo op:
Thanks to him being such an avid user of Twitter; running his own Web site; blogging for prominent Web sites; and other similarly social and Web-based endeavors, I get to keep up with my team and my favorite player through his perspective. Why not follow suit with your favorite player(s)?
Now, it's pretty obvious that we (the Carolina Panthers) are not in the Super Bowl (next year, baby!), but with the Super Bowl coming up, I figured this would be a great opportunity to create awareness of this sort of thing -- especially if one of your teams is in the Super Bowl. Find your favorite players, garner their thoughts leading up to the big game, after the game, and then keep up with what they're doing in the off-season (and into next season and so on and so forth). This really is a great way to keep up with local events taking place in relation to your team and the players -- be it a meet-and-greet, a charity event, or if they're hanging out at the mall and throwing out social media breadcrumbs for ambitious fans to follow (*cough, cough*).
In conclusion, I have to mention one caveat: not everyone is interested in hopping on the social media train. For instance, while you can easily find Eli Manning on Twitter, don't expect to see Tom Brady or Bill Belichick any time soon. Sometimes, the aversion to social media is strong -- and understandably so. With that said, I guess they can't all be as awesome on the Internet as they are on the field. ;)
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