When a Tweet from the King Constitutes News
Stop the presses. Hold the trucks. Put in for overtime for the union workers.
The King tweeted.
Yes, you read that right, LeBron James, the media-dubbed King of the NBA, has joined Twitter and sent out his first tweet:
Hello World, the Real King James is in the Building "Finally". My Brother @oneandonlycp3 gas'd me up to jump on board so I'm here. Haaaa
The confirmation that the tweet was from THE LeBron James comes way of his PR flack, Keith Estabrook.
Of course, the world (well, maybe just hoops fans), is waiting on egg shells to see where James will end up. With rumors flying around about his next destination, James' entrance to Twitter is perfect timing as I'm making the gross assumption (read prediction) that he'll make his announcement via Twitter. This will give him (or his team) the opportunity to avoid a single media outlet scooping the story, which, honestly, is still unlikely to happen.
Loads of professional athletes are leveraging Twitter to help build their brand and if the first James' tweet is any indication, it was a calculated move (note the proper title structure in the tweet, similar to a headline in a newspaper). To me, that smells just like a public relations move whether or not James tweeted the message himself or not.
To be honest, it all makes sense. It's hard for athletes who are as popular as James, to control the news surrounding his every more and his personal brand. However, services like Twitter put the control back in the hands of the worlds most popular athletes and celebrities.
As of 8pm EST, James' account, which is verified, has over 150,000 followers. By the time he announces his new NBA home (or confirms his existing one in Cleveland), I'm sure their will twice as many followers.
It's understood why consumers will follow professional athletes and celebrities on Twitter — it gets them closer to said celeb. It makes them feel like they "know" them by getting information right from the horse mouth and not from the tabloids.
However, the fact of the matter is, what constitutes news these days is much different that it was a year, three years and five years ago, especially when opening a Twitter account gets you coverage on just about every single top-tier news outlet's website in the country.
Now, who says the news process isn't reversed engineered due to social media?
Photo Credit: LeBron James and his publicist, Keith Estabrook (Chicago Tribune)