14 Going on 140

Today, we have a new lunchtime poll.

lunchtime-pollDon’t be jealous of our shoulderpads.

Where is the line between sass and being an ass when it comes to a team’s official Twitter account?

twitterFrom last night’s game

You all know that during last year’s playoff run, the Kings Twitter feed was better than a lot of hockey being played by anyone who was not the Kings. Snark, hilarity and gleeful schadenfreude by a team on the way to it’s first Stanley Cup.  We loved it.


Picture and story from Puck Daddy, of course.

Still, this is an official mouthpiece of the team.  Twitter is increasingly the only media format fans see, especially in real-time, and the only one designed specifically for engaging with those fans.

At what point does team-sanctioned chirping become poor sportsmanship? Does self-deprecation make it less obnoxious?

twitter2After last night’s game

The Kings are on a little roll – they’ve won 5 games straight and moved into 5th in the West.  But it’s not like they’re the Blackhawks, and this isn’t the playoffs.  Do they need to slow their roll, or is this exactly the time to keep it going?

The Kings Twitter-splosion came at the magic moment – right before the Cup – giving them the unparalleled chance to make their brand of banter stick.  A lot of the casual and bandwagon fans that any championship brings must have been thrilled to find so unique a voice.  The Twitter account grew the Kings fan base just like winning did, and hopefully it held them through the lockout.


A few teams have tried it, most are wise enough not to because they can’t really pull it off.  It’s a delicate balance.  LA’s Twitter feed ranks 12th among teams in number of followers, even with all the hype  (thankfully CapGeek.com charts this).  They’re doing their thing at 194,000 followers, while the Canadiens, ranked #1, have almost 369,000.


Generally I think the LA Twitter feed is great, but last night they lost me with this particular comment.  It’s cheap, lame and not even funny.  God knows I don’t like the Wings either, but every team and fan has been on the backside of this equation in a game.  And it will happen again.

Remember that, and don’t be a sore winner.


Imagine the Penguins posted that during the Flyers game.  The Twitter birds would be lifting the state of Pennsylvania instead of a whale as we all rage-abbreviated into 140 characters.  It would be momentarily fun but ultimately gross, like the games at the end of last year.  Laviolette and Granato would be duking it out in Pierre’s dunk tank for sure.

pierre Do those jackets have fight straps?

As a publicist in my real-job, there’s always the fear that once something is posted, it can’t be taken back.  It’s a double-edged sword.  I love the fresh fearlessness of the Kings Twitter, but shudder at the rolling snowball effect of being unable to rein people in who speak on your behalf.  Kids learn from their parents, right?


Sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all, even if this is also true:

twitter7 He’s not on Twitter to spell things right.

I’m no advocate for censoring teams or players, but playing dirty is possible off-ice too.  A little media training wouldn’t hurt.

What do you think?  Is this a rare and refreshing example of someone in sports actually saying something?  Or would you prefer to see teams take the high(er) road, at least in print?


Leave a Reply

  1. Tracy Reply

    I saw these comments last night and like you I wondered the same thing. As a celebrity, athlete or regular person, you should be able to say whatever you want. However, you need to be prepared for the consequences of your words and/or actions. That being said sometimes it’s better to remember your good ol’ mom’s advice “if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything.”

    Speaking on behalf of an organization, company or person you take the high road. That’s not to say you can’t have fun with social media, as the Kings did last year.

    I follow the Kings, they are my second favorite team. I found their chirping to be off-putting. I even wondered if it was The Royal Half (a Kings blog) who may have made those comments. TRH took over the Kings Twitter account – I believe it was – during the second period of the Ducks game on Monday night.

  2. This is the twitter equivalent of that moment when you’re no longer buzzed and sassy, but instead drunk and angry… no one wants to be remembered for that. It’s time to go home, Kings ghostwriter.

  3. Kaitlin Reply

    I think your comment that this is the Kings as opposed to another NHL organization was spot on. They’re a team with a smaller and less entrenched fan base, so they can, sort of, get away with it a little bit more than some other teams in the league.

    I was born and raised a Flyers fan and learned fairly early on in life that being a Flyers fan came with a negative stereotype and some ugly presumptions. If I stepped a toe out of line or messed up even a little bit, I would be classified as just another one of those horrible Flyers fans. I realized that I was representative of a Flyers fan and meeting someone from out of the area, I might be the first Flyers fan they met, cementing their opinion of Flyers fans today. I’ve had fans tell me “gee, you’re nothing like I expected.” Ummm thanks!?!?!?!

    This isn’t just one fan with a Twitter account, this is a team account. Representing the entire Kings organization. An organization which is trying to grow its fan base. I think they have to be careful with that line because once they cross it, it’s very hard to go back. I think you also have to be doubly careful on the internet because unless it comes with an audio clip, tone and sarcasm can be difficult to pick up on and easily misinterpreted.

    Many fans have a moment that stands out in their minds, if you ask them about why they don’t like a team, organization, etc. I still very vividly remember the article that appeared in the Washington Post in 2007 or 2008 saying that female Flyers fans were so ugly they should work security for Megadeth. (Which I don’t hold against the Caps, but it absolutely catalyzed that series). The Kings want to be careful they don’t end up setting off another team’s fan base.

  4. Deanna Reply

    Humor and a little snark is good, but at times the Kings Twitter has crossed the line (like the empty net comment). This is a professional organization showing poor sportsmanship and a big ego. Whoever is in charge of the account needs to be reigned in just a tad.

    • Ashley Reply

      i totally agree. there is a fine line between having sass and just being an ass.

  5. Overall I agree with Kaitlin and she said it pretty much perfectly, so I’ll just say “ditto” to that. And as a Ranger fan, this puts me in the odd situation of a long distance high five with a Flyers fan. 😉

    There is a piece of me, though, that is so starved for personality in the NHL that I’m kind of willing to let it slide. “We’re taking it one shift at a time, one game at a time.” “Keeping it simple and playing our game.” “They’re always a tough team to play against.” ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    Yeah, the Kings’ feed and some players’ feeds have crossed the line from time to time, but the overall entertainment value outweighs it for me. Also, if fans can directly chirp the players on Twitter, I think the players should be able to chirp back — as long as they’re willing to deal with the fallout.

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