The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

June 19, 2012

Social media will be focus of All-Star week

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Twitter-happy visitors to Kansas City for baseball’s upcoming All-Star Game will get extra attention under a plan to monitor social media posts as a way of sharing information about the city and addressing trouble spots.

From the downtown headquarters of tax prep giant H&R Block, teams of social media enthusiasts are planning to monitor the Twitter tweets, Facebook posts and Foursquare check-ins of fans in a bid to answer question and head-off potential emergencies in the days leading up to the July 10 game, The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday.

“We can spot problems earlier,” said Danny Rotert, a spokesman for Mayor Sly James. “Those things pop up on social media pretty quick.”

A similar setup was used at the Super Bowl earlier this year in Indianapolis, where digital marketing firm Raidious used social media monitoring to scout problems and respond to visitors’ needs. Staffers picked up tweets from visitors witnessing a swaying stage and notified officials who fixed the problem. When they realized that an LMFAO concert was causing hold-ups on the road, officials rerouted traffic.

Kansas City’s command center will instead involve volunteers from the Kansas City Social Media Club, a group of local residents with a passion for technology and the city who will act as “giant ears to pick up and curate conversations” around town, club president Joe Cox said.

People are encouraged to use the hashtag “(hash)kc” while using Twitter during All-Star week, but the center will track and respond to Kansas City tweets whether it is used or not.

The city also is developing three mobile applications that will be released in time for the All-Star Game. One app will serve as a guide to Kansas City and include things to do, coupons and city-wide offers, as well as a special section related to the game. Other apps include one devoted to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and one that will encourage users to visit various city locations and “check-in” for discounts.

“It’s just a really cool opportunity to have something really big in Kansas City and show that ‘social’ is not just about being in front of a computer,” Cox said. “It’s connecting people not just online but off.”

 

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