This week's ABC Grandstand segment, Sean discussed #TwitterBrekky, the use of hashtags and the ‘new form' of player autographs.


Twitter Breakfast

Better known by it's hashtag #TwitterBrekky, Sean discussed the great event where Sports geek hosted a range of professionals from the sport and entertainment industries at Etihad Stadium for a breakfast and best practices event with Twitter.

You can read all the tweets from the #TwitterBrekky in our Storify article on the event.

Twitter Hashtags

Hashtags on Twitter, which consist of simply placing a hashtag (#) in front of a word (or group of words) without spaces that effectively categorise tweets. A hashtag allows you to follow or search the hashtag in order to see all the tweets that have been sent with that hashtag.

It's a unique way to consume content online. To learn more, see Twitter's official definition of hashtags.

Twitter Favorites

Sean discussed the growing usage of favoriting a tweet, and discusses how they're nearly becoming like the new autograph of this generation, and how athletes and celebrities can use favorites to show that they're reading tweets from fans and create a connection with their followers.

Until next week

Catch the segment live on Saturday mornings (at 7:40am) when Sean Callanan discuss sports digital with Francis Leach on ABC Grandstand. Tune into ABC Grandstand Breakfast Friday through Monday on ABC Grandstand digital radio.

Want to get these clips in podcast form? Subscribe here or Add to iTunes.

Podcast transcription

Steve: Steve Pearson, the chair for Francis Leach this morning on Grandstand Breakfast, on your radio, online, wherever you’re listening to us, welcome along. Saturday morning and there’s a few Adelaide Crows people a little bit lighter in the pocket this morning. And Sean Callanan joins us as well, as he does every Saturday morning. Morning, Sean.

Sean: Morning, Steve.

Steve: Now we’re not talking about Adelaide.

Sean: No we’re not.

Steve: Although much of the football world south of the borders is talking about it, because…

Sean: Yes, they would be, they would be. Be a tough time in Adelaide at the moment and I feel for them.

Steve: Yeah, it is a bit of a tricky one. We’re going to have a word with Matt Clinch a bit later in the programme just to get a bit of a reaction from what’s happened over there in South Australia now all the crows have flown back that way and no doubt Kirk Tippett hasn’t. The name is mud, persona non grata. Now, you had a bit of a busy week, having to get up particular early on Wednesday morning I understand, with the normal host of this programme.

Sean: Yes, yes it was good, we had, uh…Francis hosted a Twitter breakfast, or Twitter Brekky as it was known on Twitter via the hashtag at Etihad Stadium with Mike Brown, who’s the Market Director for International Development, I think I’ve got his title right, who’s been out in Australia just meeting up with sports and entertainment brands and some media outlets on how they usually Twitter and what Twitter was doing and what they believe is best practice, so doing a few workshops, so…

Steve: Is this the first time that they’ve come out here and…

Sean: Yeah, I believe it is but I’m not sure. And so, you know, Mike’s only here for a short time and so I thought it’d be good…There’s a lot of people interested in how to use Twitter and be using it for different things, so we invited a few friends from the sports and digital community to come along and hear what Mike had to say on best practice and how U.S. and European sports are using Twitter to engage their fans and build their following and get more people attending games. You know, all the key goals that our sporting teams have. So that was really good and it was really good just to also just have a bit of that shared experience of people sharing the content of what they think is right around how to use hash tags and whether you should follow or not follow your fans back and how much backwards and forwards, bantering and engagement you should have with your fans is enough.

Steve: Well, I mean without going into too much detail, those are interesting questions, what’s a sort of synopsis of the general feeling?

Sean: Oh, so some of the key ones and…the hash tag was really one of the key things of the day. For those who don’t know what a hash tag is, it’s the hash symbol and then a word, and that allows you to follow to follow a hash tag and see all those Tweets. And that’s something that’s unique to Twitter. All the other social platforms that are out there have either adopted it or done something similar, it came from Twitter. And it really came from the users. And so, you know, Twitter breaking with the hash tag and you didn’t have to go try to follow the 200 people in the room, you could follow the hash tag and you could see the whole stream of the content both in the room as well as people outside the room going “oh I wish I was there” or agreeing with points with the people who were there. So, of the two hours we had about 1500 Tweets of people talking and having big conversations in the crowd and having conversations with people who weren’t there while listening to both Mike and also the panellists who provide a really unique perspective on how they use Twitter.

Steve: Geez, you got to be able to multi-skill haven’t you?

Sean: Yeah, yeah! So, we had…and that’s the thing, so the panellists we had, and very lucky to have them to know their time, early in the morning we had George Calombaris from MasterChef Australia…

Steve: I hope he cooked the breakfast.

Sean: He didn’t cook the breakfast! We were well-catered for at Etihad Stadium, and we also had Will Anderson who everyone would know from Gruen Planet and then Charlie Pickering from The Project. And Will commented while listening to Mike, he Tweeted “it’s the first gig where it’s a compliment that everyone has their phones out”. Because everyone did, everyone had their heads down and they were Tweeting, but still really engaged. And that’s one of the key things for Twitter is that they’re not taking the whole attention of the user or the fan, but they can be watching the game. Like, again, so if we take yesterday’s test moment, if you were looking at Twitter when Nathan Lyon came out, that was hilarious, how everyone was standing up to…you know, thinking it was Ricky Ponting, and Channel 9 did a great job just capturing all these people suckered in to giving a standing ovation to Nathan Lyon as night watchman. But if you went to Twitter you see that same commentary and you shared that in-joke with the rest of Australia. And that’s such a great medium for comedians. The Will Andersons and the Charlie Pickerings of the world can hit the mark right away, super topical, and get it right there. But then everyone else can have fun with it and have a laugh and I think one of the Sydney Thunder guys Cameron Borgas Tweeted “Good to see Nathan Lyon do well in night watchman, the other two times he’s been out first ball and got knocked on the head and been concussed and come back off retired hurts so, you know, for him to survive what it was, twenty-two balls, it was an achievement. And now this morning it’ll be “hurry up and get out so we can get Ricky in”!

Steve: That’s right, first ball this morning fun!

Sean: So hash tag was a real big one, and then the other one was around athletes using Twitter themselves to have conversations with each other, so it’s a bit of…you’re getting an interview of the locker-room. And if they are talking to one another their fan bases sort of mutually will grow because fans will find out “oh their chatting, I want to eavesdrop on that conversation”. But then the other key thing is, is to occasionally not only engage with their peers and other athletes or other celebrities, but also to occasionally have chat to the fans and engage with the fans and acknowledge that they’re there. So we sort of described it the same way that, the stars that the fans love are the ones that do hang back after training and do so on all those things, and a lot of them don’t get any kudos for that and the real diehard fans know that. You have that sort of same sort of metaphor in that online sense, of “oh well if I say thank you to you every now and again…” and we had experiences of it with our clients in sports world, fans will favourite or frame a mentioned of their favourite player, they’ll be over the moon if they’re mentioned by a player that’s been favourited. And even in the room people are Tweeting away, and I saw someone take their Tweet and take a picture of it and share it on Instagram because Will Anderson had favourited her Tweet during the Brekky And she goes, “see it works, because I got a bit excited that Will favourited my Tweet” because it’s that acknowledgement that, “I’ve read your Tweet, I think it’s funny, insightful or whatever” and again it just builds that connection with the fan and the brand or the, in this case, a comedian.

Steve: So it’s like, in a way, a modern day – for the fan to the athletes – like a modern day autograph or photograph taken…

Sean: Yeah, we did talk about that and I said to a certain degree the retweet or the mention from an athlete is sort of the modern day autograph. Now I don’t think – and some of them replied, “whoever says that has never got an autograph!” – and I completely agree with that as well!!

Steve: Ah well it’s true, I haven’t!

Sean: No, so I agree with that as well, it’s nothing like getting an autograph, but…

Steve: But there’s that buzz that you get out of some sort of direct connection with…

Sean: Exactly. And the thing is Will Anderson and Charlie, they can’t sign thousands and thousands of autographs, but they can reply and favourite Tweets while they’re sitting on their couch.

Steve: Are the athletes and well-known TV personalities, or Will’s a stand-up or whatever it is, are they all managing their own Twitter accounts in your experience?

Sean: You can tell the ones that aren’t. it’s probably the best way to put it. Yeah. A lot of them are, and George Calombaris was pretty honest and upfront when Francis said “How did you get started?” and he goes “oh I wasn’t too sure and my P.R. team set sort of it up and now we’re doing it, and then I started figuring it out and then it wasn’t that bad” and he said “if someone complained about one of my restaurants I was able to go back and say ‘oh really? What was wrong? How can we improve it?’” And again, so he was able to handle the feedback, make his restaurant better, and turn potentially a customer that might not be coming back, back. So he’s been using it now, he’s sort of seen the light as, “it’s not to drive revenue for me, it’s for me to build a relationship with my customers because for him all of these people are customers and they will eventually come to the Press Club or one of his restaurants to buy, so it’s not a stringent revenue generator.

One of the big things was that it’s a customer relationship system it’s not a selling system, because if you can build that relationship with the customer, you know if we take the sporting club metaphor, you can have a large following of Twitter followers but what you really want to do is make sure you take care and look after those super-fans because those super-fans are the membership buyers, merchandise purchasers and promoters of everything you do. So, pretty much George, Will and Charlie sort of laid out that similar plan, so it’s not that dissimilar to say, well, we should be applying that same plan to sporting teams, because they really want to move people into that membership model. And for me, the whole monetising social media is a little bit of a myth because it’s a membership and investing people emotionally in your team will help. People who are emotionally invested will be financially invested. You don’t decide to become a member “aw yeah it sounds good, that was a cool campaign”; it’s because you love that club and you want to support that club and you hear their message that the money goes to the club.
And that’s what Twitter allows you to do, because you can give them those little snippets of “oh look at that, the boys are working really hard at training” or speaking to the guy from Bluca who runs the Digital at Carlton. He must be the fittest man in Digital, because they did Mount Humphries and he was with a tripod and camera running up the hill in front of the players, setting up his camera, take shots of them coming back to give the fans, and as they went passed he would pack it up, run ahead of the group again, set up the camera and take more shots. So, I mean, he should be rookie listed with that kind of performance, but that’s the kind of insight that Carlton fans will really like and will go “wow look at all the effort the players are putting in, ten years ago we didn’t get the access to that” and that’s sort of Digital and Twitter are starting off on.

Steve: Just fascinating stuff, I’ve got many more questions but we haven’t got any more time because the news, as you know, waits for nobody at the agency. Quickly, Sean, just tell us what you’re doing in Sydney on Tuesday.

Sean: Yeah, so on Tuesday we’ll have another Twitter Brekky at the S.C.G., if you go to you can find out about it, we’d love to see a few more people there and have something similarly successful in Sydney, but follow the hash tag #TwitterBrekky, we hope it’ll be trending again.

Steve: Sounds good. Sean, thanks for joining us, as ever really appreciate your time