Social Media Is Keeping Fans Connected with the WNBA

Ever since my early 1980s sophomore year in high school, and probably before, I have been a newspaper reader. My world history teacher conducted a weekly current events quiz. It was pretty simple and basic, but it made us more conscientious of the world around us. It required that we read.

Combine that with my love of sports and the ability to write, I later wrote for the student paper in college. And as an aspiring young sports information director, I scoured various newspapers on a daily basis.

Those times have changed, though. Thirty years later, I own a home and have a family, and I have become addicted to Twitter. To some that’s as bad as a four-letter word. But alas, you don’t have to actually “tweet” to follow the world on Twitter. Indeed, you can be a follower, too, and get your news faster than ever before.

Especially with the majority of our WNBA players overseas during these winter months, fans and followers of the @IndianaFever and @WNBA, the easiest and fastest way to get news of your favorite players is with your own use of social media. In fact, it is often how I find out news of my own current and past players! Here are some shining examples from the past two weeks, alone.

Did you know that Mariss Coleman and Briann January took part in the women’s march last weekend in Washington, D.C.? Both of their Twitter feeds told me so. You can follow them at @MarissaC_25 and @BriannJanuary.

Coleman will return to the Fever for her fourth season in 2017, but her first as a restaurant owner! I’d known of her investment in the Mellow Mushroom pizza chain with LA Sparks friend Alana Beard, but saw a nice article about her last week by AP writer @DougFeinberg, discussing the beginnings of her business partnership with Beard. @MarissaC_25, @AlanaBeard20, @S10Bird, @MooreMaya and @Angel_35 all are WNBA players who all have recently ventured into restaurant investments.

Tiffany Mitchell came to the Fever last spring as our top draft pick. She was a college player that made Kelly Krauskopf (@FeverPrez) cheer in the draft room when she was available to Indiana with the ninth overall pick last April. She was a great, versatile athlete and a person of character – someone whom the Fever staff felt could have a long WNBA future ahead of her. Shortly after the draft, she was awarded the University of South Carolina’s President’s Award – it was an honor presented to the school’s very best scholar-athlete, representing her play on the court as well as her citizenship and representation outside of sports.

That is a backdrop to what I learned by reading my Twitter feed. Previously unknown to me, Tiffany was honored during last week’s annual NCAA Convention with the NCAA’s Top Ten Award – one of ten national scholar-athletes honored nationally for their combined efforts in sports, in the classroom and in local communities. I’m not on the NCAA or South Carolina media distribution lists that announced this award. I may never have known, if it weren’t for social media – following @TiffMitch25 or @DawnStaley or @GamecockWBB.

Congratulations to Tiffany, who is currently lighting it up in Russia, averaging 11.8 points for Nadezhda in the Russian PBL and EuroLeague.

Tamika Catchings is someone with whom I remain in touch throughout every week, still helping to schedule various media interviews. But am I the first to know all of her newest activities? Heck, no. She is constantly busy and still making a name for herself outside of the Fever and outside of Indianapolis.

So, how did I hear of her latest venture, as a new hoops analyst for SEC Network basketball games? Twitter and her Instagram feed, of course! If you follow @Catchin24, you’ll get not only her own content, but virtually all content from @WNBA or @ESPNW or @SEC or @LadyVol_Hoops or anywhere else that posts content about her. Tamika also is a great re-tweeter on Twitter – spreading multiple layers of content to her followers as she continues building her brand. I tease her as being our Queen of Twitter, with over 58,000 followers. It is truly the best way to get the latest news about her.

Former Fever star Erin Phillips has begun a new venture recently. A member of the Fever’s 2012 championship team and recently a star with the Los Angeles Sparks and Dallas Wings, Phillips currently is playing Aussie Rules Football for the Adelaide Crows in her native Australia. Beginning Feb. 3, @ErinPhillips131 will write a column for the Sunday Mail surrounding the AFL women’s league.

The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame recently announced finalists for its 2017 induction. Among the @WBHOF nominees was the leading scorer on the Fever’s first squad in 2000, Kara Wolters. It was one more nugget I discovered by following my Twitter timeline.

Another great example from @DougFeinberg and @AP_Sports, in fact, was the story of @WNBA players in Turkey, who were near one of the recent terrorist bombings in Istanbul. Feinberg illustrated the use of a new WNBA phone app that had been developed specifically for its players overseas during these turbulent times. Word of our players’ safety spread over social media within minutes and the immediate hours following word of the tragedy from across the globe.

Just because I often obtain news from my @kmess65 Twitter feed doesn’t mean that you need to do the same. But it works, much like any other form of social media. It’s instantaneous and it beats waiting for the print version of your favorite newspaper. All news outlets like @IndyStar now reside among social media pipelines. Writers, sports figures and news outlets comprise most of my timeline.

From a news standpoint, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram seem to be the best. @IndianaFever or @WNBA will give you constant updates, as well as the individual accounts of all your favorite players.

Click here full a complete list of Indiana Fever player and coach social media handles.