Publicist Gail Sideman wrote an excellent piece today in Mashable today about Major League Baseball players using Twitter, or rather, for the most part, not using Twitter. She highlighted Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees as one of just 18 big league ballplayers using Twitter to connect with fans. I was excited to see this, because theKbuzz recently selected Nick Swisher as one of our Top 40 Facebook Fans Pages as well. He doesn't use Facebook quite as well as he uses Twitter, but we loved that he shares pics of his family and kids and engages with fans through Facebook.
This begs the question: How well are major league baseball players (besides Nick Swisher) using Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other social media sites and tools to connect and engage?
The resounding answer: There are very few All Stars. The official Facebook Page of Major League Baseball has a pathetic fan count of 1.251. This number is smaller than the worst attendance of the year at a Tampa Bay Rays game. Teams have Pages, but very few individual players have Fan Pages.
In her Mashable piece, Sideman called it a "missed opportunity". I can't echo these sentiments loudly enough. Beyond an opportunity for the League, and for teams, is the opportunity for players.
Not only can players connect and engage with fans through social media, they can potentially leverage huge fan bases to add value for sponsorships or even create new sponsorship and partnership opportunities. How many fans would NY Met David Wright have on Facebook if he had a Fan Page, or Derek Jeter of the Yankees? How many companies would love to associate with those Fan Pages? How much merchandise could MLB, teams, or players sell?
There may be 50 Major League Baseball All Stars playing tonight, but up until now, in social media, most of them are in the minors still.