Let’s start a debate about social media language. In the past, Sportscaster Life has covered the various aspects of social media. How to create cool GIF content, great social media management tools, and social media party fouls…among other things. For the most part, when it comes to content and conduct online, the general rule of “don’t be stupid” reigns supreme.
But what about when you’re managing a team account? What ‘voice’ do you use to present information?
We’re talking first person, or third person…and there are certainly pros and cons of each. This article discusses the different ‘feel’ surround team social media language.
Pros and Cons of ‘We’ language
(eg: We’re up by a touchdown at the half, we’ve taken another penalty)
Pros: This is something that is becoming more and more popular on social media. The inclusivity of using ‘we’ language makes the audience feel like they’re part of the team.
‘We’ is uniting. The fan sitting at home watching, or scrolling through their social media feeds instantly (even subconsciously) feels like they’re part of the action.
‘We’ is also very neutral. In an increasingly gender-fluid world, any language that gets away from identifying one group over another is probably a good thing.
Cons: It’s unprofessional. Very seldom would you say on air that “we’re up by 12″….you’d identify the team or player (whatever the sport called for) in a score update. On air you’re always aiming to be (at least a little) impartial or down the middle. Your identification of one team should be the same or similar to your identification of another.
While social media is not broadcasting, if you’re operating both then why change the tune?
Pros and Cons of using ‘Them/they’ language:
(eg: The Bears are up by 12, the Pirates turn a double play)
Pros: It’s professional. It creates an air of authority around the social media account much in the same way that a news account would. CNN wouldn’t go on Twitter and say “We’re airing this show at 9am”….they’d say “(Show name) is airing at 9am”.
It delivers the information and the news in a matter of fact way. It doesn’t omit the opportunity to be human in your social media interactions under a team account, however it creates a boundary between conversation and information.
Using ‘they/them’ social media language also makes your social media messaging consistent with your on-air language. As noted above, broadcasters are more likely to identify teams in a third person fashion instead of using ‘we’ when referencing their team.
Cons: It’s cold. It’s impersonal and lacks that human touch. There’s something inherently warming about using ‘we’ to describe what’s going on with a team…after all the fans are part of the team. Using them/they creates that separation which could not be the best way to go for a particular situation.
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What do you use? I’m personally a fan of them/they as I want the accounts I run to be the authority on the team. This is likely from my background in news before I got into sports broadcasting.
Whatever social media language you select, there’s one key factor that is important in creating a rock-solid brand…and that’s consistency. If you’re ‘we’ on day 1….you need to be ‘we’ on day 100. Nothing loses an audience quicker than the lack of consistency in messaging and content.