Twitter and the U.S. Open – Was I the first??

BethpageLogo Readers of this blog know two things about me. 1) I love food; and 2) I do social media “stuff” at IBM. They may not know that I also have the awesome job of doing communications around our sports sponsorships (I know, I know… pretty great gig). IBM sponsors only a handful of sports properties, but the ones they do are all top tier: The NFL, The Masters, all four tennis Grand Slams and the USGA, which administers the Men’s, Women’s and Junior and Senior U.S. Open Championships.

So, to get to my point… in thinking about the intersection of social media and sports, I came to the dorky conclusion that I may have been the first ever person to tweet from a U.S. Open when I did so at the 108th U.S. Open Championship at Torrey Pines last year. Now, I’m not claiming to be the first to tweet about the U.S. Open. I’m saying I might be the first to tweet from the U.S. Open. If I’m correct, here’s the immortal tweet that is going to put me in the golf history books:

US Open Twitter 1

Profound stuff.

That was followed by a few other tweets during the course of the few days I was “working” at the event, including:

How do I come off thinking I’m the first to tweet from a U.S. Open? Well, consider the following:

  1. No fans are allowed mobile devices of any kind on the course. That eliminates almost everyone else.
  2. The only people allowed to have mobile devices are very select USGA employees, credentialed golf media and select USGA partner employees (i.e., me).

Since Twitter wasn’t even a gleam in Shaq’s massive eye in June ’08, I think I’m safe to assume none of the credentialed media at the Open were on Twitter. So while I might not be destined for the history books, I am going to claim my place in geek history.

(Oh, and for any of you who can prove that I wasn’t the first person to ever tweet from a U.S. Open… Shhhh… Keep it to yourselves. I need something to tell my mom so she can be proud of me)

* * *

So, on a very related note, tomorrow morning I’m heading back to the Open… this time to Bethpage Black for what is looking to be a complete washout. We’ve got some conversations lined up with media, so our turnout may be higher than expected since there might not be any on-course distractions to deal with. At least, that’s my silver lining to some wet, gray clouds.

Now, for all of you who can’t actually be at the course tomorrow (pity), here are some non-TV ways you can enjoy the U.S. Open this year, thanks to IBM and the USGA:

  • for real-time scoring, HD-quality live streaming video of the marquee groups on Thursday and Friday, live video of the 17th whole Saturday and Sunday, and lots fun things for golf geeks: videos, interactive games, history, etc.
  • iPhone. Twice a year I get iPhone envy. During the Masters, and now during the U.S. Open. The iPhone app is pretty awesome, with live streaming video, real time scores and player profiles.
  • Twitter. Thanks to Ashton and Oprah, there are plenty more folks than me to follow on Twitter for this year’s Open. Best bet is to follow the official Twitter account for the U.S. Open/USGA. has a nice page where you can get that feed plus links to some of the golf pros using Twitter.
  • Facebook addicts can pimp their profiles with a US Open Widget to add to their profile. (For anti-Facebook-ites you can use the widget on any profile/blog/web page).

That’s about it. Now we just need nature to cooperate and it ought to be an amazing Open.

My Twitter life, as a Wordle

I’ve always wanted to generate a tag cloud of ALL my public Twitter posts. The problem is that most services, like TweetStats, will only take a small subset of the most recent posts to analyze. With the help of a great friend, Sacha Chua, who helped me scrape all 2000+ Twitter posts over the past few years (using Python and Perl scripts… stuff I don’t understand), I was able to create a word cloud via Wordle of all my public tweets:

Wordle: Adam's public tweets


Frankly, I was surprised tacos weren’t more prominent in that tag cloud. I see this mostly as a function that my priorities are misaligned. (Mental note: more tacos, less work). But Sacha also helped me do some other analyses too. Perhaps the most interesting is the break down of how many times I respond to certain people. Here’s list of the top 21 people I speak to most on Twitter:

89 @junkstar
56 @aneel
49 @elsua
41 @derekbaker
31 @edbrill
28 @turbotodd
27 @timwasher
23 @stevemann
23 @Macker
21 @tiffitis
20 @Scobleizer
20 @kid2dog
18 @sachac
18 @roonoid
18 @monkchips
18 @jenokimoto
18 @briancroxall
16 @ragtag
16 @jowyang
15 @wonderwebby
15 @shelisrael

Personally, I feel like I’ve gradually begun to use Twitter less and less as it’s gotten more popular. Call it the inverse Ashton Kutcher effect. But the tag cloud and @ list at least give a window of where I’ve spent a lot of my time over the past few years, what I’ve been talking about and who I’ve been spending it with.

Oh, and my first ever tweet? Appropriate:

first tweet