As blogged previously by Sports Geek slowly teams & media are sitting up and taking notice.

Monitoring of your brand is mandatory to hear what your fans are saying but in some cases also your players.  Conversely, athletes also need to be aware of the impact a tweet or picture on Facebook may have on their image and their club’s image.  Most athlete’s “get it” but for those who don’t there needs to be sports executives monitoring the digital space to protecting the team & league’s brand.

This from Sports Illustrated saying the tweets shared by NBA players may be crucial in monitoring the big free agent class of 2010.

Social networking will influence the free-agent market this summer. So promises a league insider with an extended background in college basketball.

“In the old days, teams used to control players,” he said. “Now the teams have lost that control, to the point that the NBA had to put in rules that players are not allowed to use Twitter at halftime. The thing with these players, their lifestyles revolve around technology. They want instant information.

“You’re now dealing with kids who think that anything you do or say is public. To them it is public, because they all communicate with each other.”

This week, the Celtics dealt with a half-day of speculation that Pierce was out for the year after teammate Shelden Williams posted a Twitter message that suggested bad news was on the way. As a result, the Celtics rushed out a news release late at night diagnosing Pierce as day-to-day with a sprained foot. “They don’t think about the rules or privacy when they use Twitter,” the league insider said. “The Celtics don’t want the opposition to know if Pierce is injured, but Williams didn’t think about what he was doing to the Celtics; he just did it.

“Twitter has become a broadcasting network for athletes. Around July 1, there is going to be so much tweeting among the free agents, and all of these guys will be communicating with each other, and if you don’t think they’re going to be telling each other about the offers they’re getting, then you’re crazy. It’s going to be the summer of instant information, and it’s going to change the whole market, because everybody will know what kind of money is out there and what each team is trying to do.

“If I were a GM, I’d hire two or three kids from college and have them scour the Internet every day to find out what’s being said by who. If you want to know what’s going on, that’s how you can find out.”

If you want to see what athletes are tweeting then follow our list – Athletes Who Tweet.  Are we missing your fave athlete who tweets? Let us know at @_SportsGeek_.

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