At work, I live for days like these. Yesterday, we announced a press conference for 10am the following morning (making it today!). With people outside the department not knowing what to expect from the mid-morning announcement, speculation was rampant. Media and fans alike wanted to know what was going down and everyone wanted to be the first to break it.
One of the duties I love best about my job centers around working with the sports information department to relay information to the general public. Because we work inside the organization, we are the first ones to learn, and then distribute, information. I get an adrenaline rush out of the buildup that comes with a major announcement and then I bask in the awesome feeling of the weight lifted off our shoulders once we deliver the announcement and the baton is passed onto the media to take our info and make their stories.
As I have mentioned several times in previous posts, Grizzly Athletics is king in the state of Montana. Because of this, our department attracts an enormous amount of media attention. This is both a blessing and a curse for obvious reasons. When the times are good, the coverage is favorable….when times are challenging, the coverage is not favorable.
But that is the nature of the beast and the press has to do their thing. Yesterday I said I have a high degree of respect for teachers. My level of respect is at the same level for people in the local media business, especially the broadcasting realm. Talk about a tough, cut throat business. Competition is high, hours are crazy, and pay is less than satisfactory. I have become friends with several of the former and present news personalities in the state of Montana and I root for them. There is an immense amount of pressure to cover the story and, very crucial here, to be the first to report. In this day and age, many depend (and rightfully so) on social media.
Remember that press conference I told you about that was held today? Well, our special announcement could not have carried with it much more good news. Our interim head football football coach signed a two year contract to become THE head coach of our program. Come early this morning, most people knew that the announcement was going to relate to a contract of some sort for our football coach but no one knew specifics. At around 9:15am, a reporter’s worst nightmare occurred: Twitter crashed.
Up in the Canyon Club where we held the press conference, basically all of the news media in the area were starting to gather. The minutes edged closer to 10am and Twitter was still down. So much for any tweets that these journalists wanted to send out regarding the atmosphere or attendance of the impending press conference. Five minutes before 10am there was no miracle, Twitter was still down. At around that time, we sent out the breaking news. The details of the contract signing hit our website, our social media outlets (besides Twitter of course), and the inboxes of all the reporters cramming the podium where Mick Delaney was about to chat about his sweet new deal.
As the media sat up in the Canyon Club when we broke the news, they had little chance to relay the information as they only had their phones on them. Besides posting to Facebook, they were unable to send out any 140 character messages summarizing the contract stipulations. A reporter’s best friend in this day and age had viciously disappeared when they needed it most.
After posting everything, I hustled up to the press conference just in time to see our interim athletic director announce Mick. His words were short and to the point and by the time he had finished and the press conference was over, Twitter was still down. About an hour later, the service was finally resurrected from the dead and tweets started flying left and right. I got a kick out of the good natured tweets that many members of the media sent out regarding the unfortunate time that Twitter decided to take a break. They had a good laugh at it after the fact but you know at around 10am this morning you were not finding many smiles.
It is amazing how much we depend on social media to get by these days. Not that it is a bad thing at all, I love social media and make a career out of it. It is just fascinating to see how the times can change so much over the years. Twitter will crash again and it will come at an absolutely terrible time for groups of people elsewhere around the world. However, I feel it is safe to say that the state of Montana paid their dues in the bad luck department this morning. Tweet on! Don’t Blink.