Given the seemingly uncontrollable impuse that the teenage girls in my classroom have to text message each other, I suppose it should come as no surprise that the teen- and twenty- players on the LPGA Tour now want to Twitter during tournament rounds. A bit more surprising is that Commissioner Carolyn Bivens is going along with it:
“I’d love it if players Twittered during the middle of a round,” Bivens said in an interview, according to Bloomberg News. “The new media is very important to the growth of golf and we view it as a positive, and a tool to be used.”
Bivens said she “encourages” players to update their Twitter or Facebook pages in the middle of a tournament.
Bivens says that the reason is the age and interests of the fans:
“For Morgan Pressel and Christina Kim’s following—her fans are 12-, 13-, 14-year-old girls and boys—they’re not waiting for the golf broadcast on Saturday and Sunday,” Bivens said, according to Bloomberg. “They want to know what’s going on in the middle of the round. If we’re going to get out of the collared shirts and khaki pants and make golf chic, hip, happening, Christina Kim is exactly the kind of player to reach out and make golf a lot more relevant.”
The LPGA already has a problem with being taken seriously as a sport; I don’t think that players Twittering when they should be thinking about their shots is going to help that perception.
And just who cares what pre-teen girls and boys think? They don’t sponsor tournaments. Serious business people sponsor tournaments. So unless every future tournament will be aired on The Disney Channel between episodes of Hannah Montana, I can’t see this as a long-term financial strategy.
I suppose Bivens is thinking that pleasing the young teens will be the beginning of a long-term fan base. But she really doesn’t know kids that age. They are mercurial beings, chasing after the latest fad and disdaining yesterday’s hot thing as “so twenty four hours ago.” The LPGA’s young stars will have their fifteen minutes and then the teens will go on to something else.
Want proof? How many of us with jobs as adults are still following the same (or any) bubble gum pop groups, boy bands, etc. that we followed as young teens? Where’s Menudo these days?
As an adult with a paycheck, I find the ideas of players not having their minds on the game disturbing. I know just how distracting it is in even a casual round to take photos—and that’s just a matter of point and shot. Twittering is going to seriously affect their games.
A recent study found that driving while texting or talking on the phone is as much an impairment as driving while intoxicated (where’s MACP—Mothers Against Cell Phones). Golfing while twittering can’t be good either. (Although, to be fair, there have been any number of male pros who have played while being legitimately drunk—or at least hung over.)
I admit, however, that my biggest problem is that I just don’t “get” Twitter. I don’t understand the impulse to tell the entire world what I am up to at random points during the day. I’m not self absorbed enough to think that anyone cares. And I frankly don’t care what anyone else is doing either.
Twittering is just the latest fad. In a few months, it’ll go the way of MySpace.