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Halftime Tweet from Bucks Charlie V

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The Twittering Charlie Villanueva

The Twittering Charlie Villanueva

On Sunday afternoon the sports world may have changed forever, and in Milwaukee, WI, of all places. In their quest to secure the 8th playoff spot in the Eastern Conference the Milwaukee Bucks pulled off a huge win over the defending champion Boston Celtics. What’s so life altering about that you ask?

The changing moment actually came at halftime. It happened in the Bucks lockeroom with the game tied 41-41. Just after Bucks Coach Scott Skiles addressed the team, forward Charlie Villanueva commented, “In da locker room, snuck to post with my twitt. We’re playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up.” What made this different is that Villanueva didn’t say this to a teammate or to a ball boy coming around to pick up some towels. Charlie V (@CV31) made the comment at halftime on Twitter!

For those that don’t know, Twitter is an online service that allows users to send out 140 character messages called Tweets. These Tweets can range from what you’re doing at the moment, to sharing interesting news, and connecting with professionals in your field. Some of the fastest growing users of Twitter are athletes, sports teams, celebrities and politicians. A few popular athletes on Twitter are the Suns Shaquille O’Neal (@The_Real_Shaq), Jason Richardson (@jrich23) and Steve Nash (@The_Real_Nash), the Jets Kerry Rhodes (@kerryrhodes) and golfer Natalie Gulbis (@nataliegulbis).

Villanueva raised the stakes Sunday afternoon. Up until this point athletes have mainly used Twitter to connect with fans and become more personal. One of Shaq’s favorites is to Tweet his location and the next fan that approaches him will get a prize. But, I believe this was the first time that an athlete has Tweeted during an actual game.

As a PR and marketing person I love that Villanueva is not only using Twitter, but that he’s actually buying in. I don’t see a problem with his halftime Tweets, although I suggest, and maybe he has done this, that he notify his coach and the teams PR people. That way nobody is caught off-guard, especially with an ever-growing list of reporters on Twitter. Last week alone Twitter was mentioned on PTI and Around The Horn, so you never know when a social media comment can cause a controversy, as the Philadelphia Eagles learned last week.

It will be very interesting to see where this leads us though. Will Coach Skiles have a reaction? My guess is he isn’t aware of Twitter, so it will be especially interesting to see how he feels about a player taking time during halftime to send messages. It will also be interesting to see how the league feels about Twitter, they were very slow in reacting to how blogs have changed the media.

But, the real question is, how will Charlie V’s Tweet change the way celebrities interact with fans? We’ve already seen senators and congressman Tweeting during President Obama’s address a couple weeks ago. Are we going to see bands Tweeting during concerts? Will we see SNL cast-members Tweeting in between skits? The options for celebrities to connect to fans, and to be creative while they do it, are growing daily.

You do have to hand it to Charlie V though, not only is he trendsetter, be he responded to his coaches halftime plea by scoring 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Bucks pulled away. He also backed his Tweet up by posting two more times Sunday night. Once to comment on the win and how he said they’d turn it around at halftime, and once when he got home to let everyone know he was settling down to catch a movie. The key to Twitter, and social media in general, is not only to comment but to engage, and Charlie V is scoring points on that front.

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Written by Brian Gleason

March 16, 2009 at 3:04 am

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