Saturday, May 16, 2009

Twitter me this coach

Last month I joined Twitter for one simple reason: I needed the material.

Like any decent stand-up comedian, I’m always on the lookout for the latest trend, fad or cultural phenomenon so I can make fun of it. So often, that phenomenon seems to be technology. Audiences are deserting comedy clubs in droves so they can stay home on Saturday nights and update their Facebook pages. If they do venture out, might as well make them laugh about Facebook, right?

When I signed up for Twitter, the application that allows you to communicate with friends in 140-character messages that can be read on cell phones while the cell phone owner should be doing more important things – like driving, I saw no use for it. Whom would I tweet? Who would want to “follow” me and hang on my every tweet? If I tweeted “just went through the carwash,” would somebody tweet back, “how does the car look now? Did they miss a spot? TELL ME MORE!”

Moments after establishing my account, I stared at the Twitter homepage. There was an empty box staring at me; a box anxiously awaiting my first Tweet.

I hovered over the keyboard and wrote, after much thought, “just signed up for Twitter.”

That ought to draw some interest in Twitterland.

Alas, after two hours, I had received exactly zero emails from Twitter requesting my approval for anyone to follow me. Feeling a little like the kid picked last on the basketball team, I instant messaged a friend via Facebook. Yes, I was perusing Facebook at the same time I was signing up for Twitter. And yes, it was Saturday night.

“Are you on Twitter?” I asked.

“Yes, but I don’t get it” came the reply from Janis, a Canadian business acquaintance.

“Can you follow me?” I begged. It was like a girl asking a boy to take her to prom.

“Sure,” she replied. “I want to see how this thing works.”

“I’ll do the same,” I said, meaning I would follow her. Might as well make somebody else happy.

Moments later, my inbox exploded: “Janis has requested to follow you on Twitter.”

I eagerly accepted and composed my second tweet, this one a direct message to Janis: “Thanks for following me.”

For a week, that was all the tweeting I did. I signed up to follow a few people and media outlets including the Chicago Tribune and CNN Breaking News. Apparently I signed up for Twitter during the slowest news week of the century for I received exactly one BREAKING NEWS tweet and it concerned a country I had never heard of. More breaking news occurred in the Chicago area, if one considers a Cubs victory breaking news.

Then again, if the Cubs continue their sordid play, a victory may very well fall into that category.

I was ready to give up Twitter because it was depressing me. Not depressing in the sense that I had no followers save Janis; not depressing because I was getting tweets like “man kills family in suburban Chicago home,” but depressing because I had tweeted nothing. Could my life really be so boring that it wasn’t even worth 140 characters? I’ve seen Britney Spears interviewed several times and she strikes me as somewhat boring. Yet she has about two jillion Twitter followers.

Then, while reading USA Today one morning, I happened on an article in the sports section – an article that focused on the use of Twitter by college and professional coaches.

It seems that coaches are tweeting fans with practice updates, tweeting boosters on blue chip signings and tweeting recruits and begging them to attend their respective institutions.

Okay, that last one is probably illegal but I seriously doubt the NCAA has gotten around to creating a “Twitter violation” position.

Now here was something I could tweet about for I am also a coach. Granted I don’t coach a professional or Division One college team but I’m a coach nonetheless. For the past month I have presided over the Wildcats, a dozen of the cutest six and seven year old girls in my town’s Little League “Kittens” division. Our first game was rapidly approaching. Could I handle managerial duties while tweeting at the same time? More importantly could I capture the thrills and excitement of a league whose teams include the “Falcons,” the “Bobcats” and the “Golden Bears?”

I will let you, the reader of this blog, decide from these tweets:

1 p.m. Overcast and 75. The Wildcats are ready to play softball. The snack has arrived.

1:01 p.m. Amy just announced that she doesn’t want to play catcher

1:03 p.m. The Wildcats take the field. I have put the “no cartwheel” rule into effect

1:04 p.m. First question for Manager Schwem: “Where is right field?”

1:09 p.m. 1-0 Wildcats. The girls said we just scored a “point.”

1:15 p.m. 3-2 Wildcats. Grace says she is “freezing.” The temp has dropped to 72

1:34 p.m. 6-4 Wildcats after 3. Our 3rd baseman just stepped on 3rd for a force. One problem...nobody was on base

1:36 p.m. First potty break of the game

1:42 p.m. Elizabeth tagged a runner! The correct runner!

1:43 p.m. There’s a big hole in center and there will be until Ali returns from the bathroom

2:14 p.m. Coaches just realized the catcher is crying. Tough to see when she is wearing a mask

2:25 p.m. 6-5 Wildcats heading to the last inning. The girls are eyeing the snacks

2:28 p.m. The girls are getting good at staring at the ball while it rolls past them

2:29 p.m. Falcons on first and second with one out. GULP!

2:30 p.m. Grace just caught a popup, stepped on second sned tagged a runner. Thats four outs, correct?

2:34 p.m. Game over. We win. Juice box tastes good

2:36 p.m. The Wildcats are 1-0. One victory and zero icepacks or injuries that drew blood. So far, a good season

2:37 p.m Almost forgot. Final score: 6 points to 5

Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and owner of Comedy With a Byte, Inc. He can be reached via Twitter at @gschwem View his corporate demo by clicking here. His YouTube playlist may be accessed by clicking here


Sally Edwards said...

I hereby declare Greg Schwem the new King of Twitter! After lying in bed ill for three days, I have laughed out loud again. Greg Schwem - thy have healing powers! Keep twittering for the sake of mankind.

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