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Today’s Note: Linsanity Revisited

June 20, 2012

In February, a Note titled “Today’s Note: Linsanity?” discussed the some economic aspects of the rising phenomena of Jeremy Lin, the Knicks’ guard who swept into the NBA from nowhere and captured the imagination of basketball fans everywhere. While Lin’s on-court impact was short-lived, largely due to injury, his impression seems to be more persistent.

Today’s Note recaps a Mashable.com blog post by Sam Laird. The post, “Linsanity! Jeremy Lin Strikes Back With Social Media Award,” explores not Lin’s athletic prowess, but instead his social media accomplishments. Laird explains that “Now Lin is being honored by the NBA for his social media dominance. The league announced this week that Lin has been named its first-ever “Social Breakout Player of the Year.” ” [all italics are added by me to quotes from the article] What has Lin done to merit this award? Quite a bit, it seems. Laird writes:

As Lin briefly dominated the NBA before succumbing to exhaustion and eventually injury, his name and the hashtag #Linsanity became a regular globally trending topic on Twitter. He added more than 130,00 followers in a week, and tribute raps popped up on YouTube. Photos of a high school-age Lin impersonating NBA players on his old Xanga blog went viral, as did a number of memes paying homage to his unexpected greatness.

Even more interesting than Lin’s individual accomplishments is the NBA’s zeal to exploit them. To be fair, it’s not just Linsanity that the NBA is leveraging. Laird’s post goes on to say that this announcement “comes in advance of Wednesday’s NBA Social Media Awards, the first time a major professional sports league has specifically honored player achievements and activity in the social realm.” Clearly, the NBA sees social media as a point of leverage to reach many of today’s younger fans, who greedily consume their world in 140 byte chunks. And who can blame them?

What do you think of the NBA’s strategy, here? Is it smart marketing, or cheap exploitation? Leave a comment and tell me what you think!

According to his Mashable bio:

Sam Laird reports and writes about sports, the Internet, tech, social media, and other topics from Mashable’s San Francisco bureau. Before joining Mashable in November 2011, his freelance work appeared in publications including the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Slam, and East Bay Express. Sam is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, and basketball and burritos take up most of his spare time. Follow him on Twitter@samcmlaird.

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From → Social Media, Sports

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